Jim Boeheim cannot stop crushing on Otto Porter.
After Georgetown walloped Syracuse for the second team this season last Saturday, the Orange's longtime coach said he would take the Hoyas star with the first pick in the NBA Draft.
After his team gained a measure of revenge with Friday's 58-55 overtime victory in the Big East semifinals, Boeheim took the praise of Porter in a curious direction -and after his side controlled Georgetown's leading man better than at any point this season.
Asked a question about how his starting forward, C.J. Fair, fared against Porter, Boeheim went historical.
"I hate to say this in some ways, but I was talking today before the game, I think he's the best all around player I've seen in this league," Boeheim said. "I don't think I've seen a better all around player. The guy plays defense. C.J. is a great player, and we were going at him. We were going to go at him.
"And he really couldn't get much accomplished against him. I think he's a great defensive player. I think he's a great passer. I think he obviously can shoot the ball, and he just --really, I don't see a weakness in his game from a perimeter point of view of a guy that I've seen in this league over the years."
That comment left many in the Madison Square Garden media room stunned, considering the notables that passed through the 34-year-old conference. From these two teams alone, Patrick Ewing, Reggie Williams and Allen Iverson to Derrick Coleman, Pearl Washington and Carmelo Anthony.
Boeheim continued -and clarified after Syracuse held Porter to 12 points on 4 of 13 shooting from the field and without s 3-point basket on two attempts. He entered averaging 16.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists. Porter also led the Hoyas in steals and 3-point shooting this season.
"There's been so many great players, but centers, power forwards, point guards, two guards, but I don't think I've seen a better small forward in this league. He's just a complete player."
Even among the small forwards, even between Georgetown and Syracuse, that's high, high praise. Williams keyed the Hoyas 1984 National Championship game victory. Crazier, Anthony as a freshman led Boeheim to his one and only tournament title in 2003.
Porter poured 33 points on the Orange inside the Carrier Dome last month and tacked on eight rebounds, five steals and five 3-pointers in Georgetown's 58-47 win. Last week the Hoyas leading scorer only tallied 10 points, but he directed the offense by matching his career-high with seven assists.
In the third matchup - and for essentially the first time since the Hoyas started conference play with two losses - Porter was not at his superhero best compared to his full-game performances over the previous 14 outings.
He added six rebounds and three assist. His two free throws with 7.3 seconds left in regulation tied the game at 51. Porter held Fair, Syracuse's leading scorer, to six points and 3 of 16 shooting.
However, in overtime Fair made his own signature play, finishing a thunderous running dunk over his forward counterpart. With Georgetown down 58-55 inside the final 30 seconds of overtime, Porter's crosscourt pass found a Syracuse defender.
Georgetown had won 13 of 14 entering Friday's game.
Told of Boeheim's comments, Porter said, "It means a lot coming from him. It's tough playing against him and his team. He just makes tweaks and things on his own. It's a great compliment."
Following his press conference, reporters pressed Boeheim on the best small forward talk as it relates to Anthony.
“Yeah, I think so. Carmelo played three and four and he was the best scorer. I’m talking about a guys that’s really a multi-purpose guy, the best all-around, not necessarily the best player.
“That would be hard to get by Carmelo and Derrick Coleman and Chris Mullin and then the centers, Patrick [Ewing] and those guys...Just an all-around guy the guy does everything. I mean, really, the guy does everything.”
Last week after offering similar praise about Porter's all-purpose game minus the all-time context, Boeheim talked about Georgetown and the NBA Draft.
"He’s in the top four, five picks in the drafts, I don’t see how he’s any worse than that," the coach said following last Saturday's 61-39 loss. "He’s the kind of player that is most valuable in the NBA today. To me, I’d take him the first pick, that’s the kind of guy you need to have up there, he does everything and he’s going to get better, I think.”
Seeing as Syracuse is bolting the Big East for the ACC starting next season, Boeheim's comments are not about helping his own future fortunes.
"If we were still in this league, I'd be saying that to get him out," the coach said following Friday's win. "But we're not."