WASHINGTON Brandon Triche has been around the Syracuse basketball program so long, the other players refer to him as the Old Man.
When Triche starts tonight against Indiana in an NCAA East Region Sweet 16 game at the Verizon Center, it will be his 144th straight start in an Orange uniform. He has started each and every game since his freshman season.
Triche recently surpassed former SU All-American Derrick Coleman, who started 140 games during his illustrious career.
I guess thats a tribute to me staying healthy and wanting to be out there every game, Triche said. My parents instilled in me a work ethic that you show up every day for work and dont take days off.
Triche will tie Stephen Thompson (1986-90) on the all-time starts list tonight.
He is also SUs winningest player ever. Triche has now played in 119 wins, going past former teammate Kris Joseph, who participated in 117 victories.
Brandon has always played the game the right way, said SU coach Jim Boeheim. From Day 1 hes been solid, steady and been there every day. You cant ask anything else of a player, especially these days when there are so many distractions.
Triche said hes never been about personal accomplishments. Ive always been a team guy, he said. But knowing Ill leave here as the winningest player will be something thats Ill remember when Im old and gray.
Asked if he and his uncle, former Orange forward Howard Triche, have talked much about the 1987 Indiana-SU championship game that the Hoosiers won on a last-second shot, Triche said, it rarely comes up in conversation. Weve seen bits and pieces of that game, but never the whole thing.
Howard Triche was the man guarding Keith Smart on the baseline when he sank the winning 15-footer for the Hoosiers.
Triche did say that, despite being at SU for four years, people still call me Howard, or think he is my father. When that happens, I just smile.
BIG TEN VS. BIG EAST
Indiana head coach Tom Crean spent nine years at Marquette, including the last two as a member of the Big East Conference.
Hes now in his sixth year as the boss of the Hoosiers, having turned them from a 6-25 in his first year, 2008-09, into a legitimate national contender this season.
He was asked Wednesday if there is a difference philosophically between the two conferences.
Not for me, Crean said. We knew what we liked doing in the Big East, and the kind of players we liked to recruit, the versatility and athleticism. Weve tried to do the same thing here.
If anything, weve tried to put even more of a premium on shooting. But recruiting to the Big 10 standard, prototype Big 10 team, wasnt relevant for us at first. It was about lets get multi-dimensional players, athletes and at the same time highly skilled players that would give us every chance to win.
Crean said thats what SU coach Jim Boeheim has always done, and thats why his program has stood the test of time. He hasnt changed his recruiting philosophy in three decades because it has been successful. I only hope to be able to do that for half as long as Jim.
MCW DOING OK
Just five days after his family home in Hamilton, Mass., was destroyed by fire, SU sophomore point guard Michael Carter-Williams was smiling and enjoying the Orange open practice Wednesday.
He was a little reluctant to talk about the fire, but did mention it a little.
The fact that everybody got out safely is a blessing, he said. You can replace furniture and appliances and things like that. But you cant replace the memories.
He wasnt informed of the fire until after SUs game in San Jose, Calif., against California last Saturday. His mother, Mandy Carter-Zegarowski, was also at the game and was informed during the game.
The family was reportedly watching the game when the fire broke out.
Carter-Williams said thinking of what happened made the long plane ride home agonizing.