ATLANTA — Jim Boeheim said he was so shocked and disgusted by the Mike Rice videos, that he could barely watch it.
“I watched 10 seconds of it, I couldn’t watch anymore,” Boeheim said here at the Final Four news conference.
Asked if Rice’s behavior was common among other Division 1 head coaches, Boeheim categorically said no.
“I don’t think there’s a coach in the country that does that.” Boeheim said.
He added: “The tragedy is his team would’ve played exactly the same or better if he hadn’t done any of that.”
Louisville coach Rick Pitino and Michigan coach John Beilein both agreed Rice’s behavior was an aberration.
“I don’t think there’s a coach alive that does that…what you witnessed,” Pitino said. “I’ve never seen that.
“It’s an isolated incident and it was a very serious isolated incident.”
Beilein agreed: “I think this is a very, very unique situation that is not representative of how Division 1 coaches in football or basketball represent themselves in practice…How often that was, who knows. But I would think if you look at almost every Division 1 football coach, you watch their practice videos, one in a thousand might have something like that in it. Coaches are going to coach their kids, they’re going to try to do it in a positive way.”
If anyone comes close in behavior to Rice, Boeheim said they would likely have to modify it now.
“I think that would give you cause to think about what you’re doing,” Boeheim said. “I literally could not watch that video.”
Boeheim said it was unacceptable to put your hands on a player, to hit them or to throw basketballs at them.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody throws basketballs, I don’t think they throw them at people,” he said.
He added: “I have thrown a ball but it’s usually up in the stands and the last time I did it I hurt my arm, so I don’t do that anymore.”
Beilein also weighed in.
“I know that in this day and age there’s certain lines that you’re not going to cross with your student-athletes,” he said. “We want young men to play for us because they love coming to the gym every day.
He added: “Mike must have done that quite often ’cause he won a lot of game and was very successful. At he same time those incidents are uncalled for and I’m sure Mike regrets it.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.