Saturday, January 07, 2017

Playing With Numbers

The Orange have struggled in the 2016-2017 season, losing their first six games against Power Five Conference (P5) schools, before beating Miami the other other night. The Orange are 9-6 on the season, with Tyler Lydon and Andrew White leading the scoring.

The team win/loss breaks down as follows:
P5 Teams (1-6)
Non-P5 Teams (8-0)
Against Former Big East schools (1-4)

By Day of the Week:
Sundays 0-1
Mondays 1-1
Tuesdays 3-1
Wednesdays 1-1
Thursdays 0-0
Fridays 2-0
Saturdays 2-2

By Month
November 4-2
December 4-3
January 1-1

When Tyler Lydon and Andrew White start the team is 9-6 (they've both started every game)
When starts by:
Frank Howard 8-6
DaJuan Coleman 8-5
Tyler Roberson 4-2
John Gillon 2-2
Taurean Thompson 1-1
Tyus Battle 4-2

When lead in scoring by:
Tyler Lydon  1-3
Andrew White 5-3
Tyler Roberson 1-0
John Gillon 1-0
Tyus Battle 1-0

When Tyler Roberson has 10+ rebounds:  1-1
When Tyler Lydon has 10+ rebounds: 1-2
When DaJuan Coleman has 10+ rebounds: 0-2
When Frank Howard has 10+ assists: 4-0
When Lydon or White score 20+ points: 3-2

Of course none of this really means anything. Just something to muse over.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Howard and P5 Games

I have been simply baffled by the Jekyll and Hyde performance of Syracuse point guard Franklin Howard this season.  His performance against P5 schools is dramatically worse than his performance against non-P5 schools.  

I understand that it is a tougher level of competition.  However, his performance against non-P5 schools is simply outstanding.

In the seven wins the Orange have against non-P5 schools, Howard has averaged 24.5 minutes of play. In that time he has game averages of:

8.9 points per game
9.1 assists per game
2.1 turnovers per game
3.2 rebounds per game
2.3 steals per game
4.3 assists/turnover ratio
9-17 three point shots (52.9%)

In the five games against P5 schools, all losses, Howard has averaged 22 minutes of play.  His averages are:

5.6 points per game
2.8 assists per game
2.8 turnovers per game
1.4 rebounds per game
1.8 steals per game
1.0 assists/turnover ratio
2-13 Three point shots (15.4%)

It's not like there is a one game aberration distorting the statistics.  He has played poorly in all five P5 games, and well to outstanding the remaining games.

Frank Howard - Orange Point guard
Frank Howard
Clearly he has the physical tools to excel.  Four games with 11+ assists is not a fluke.  

In part his stats would be dragged down with his teammates also underperforming.  Of course, we get into issues of cause and effect there. Are Howard's stats down because his teammates are underperforming, or are Howard's teammates stats down because Howard is underperforming.  Obviously... it's both, but to what extent?

The 'cupcakes' are easier games.  I understand that.  But keep in mind that this year's team has scored 90+ points against four of those cupcake teams.  The 2015-2016 team never scored 90 points.  Nor did the 2014-2015 team.  The 2013-2014 and 2012-2013 teams each did it only three times  The last Orange team to score 90+ points in 4 games was 2011-2012, and that was a very special team.

So this year's team has the potential to be very special on offense, but they aren't delivering routinely.

I am hoping Howard can improve and grow into strong play against P5 teams. The ACC schedule starts after the next game, and that will be all he sees for the remainder of the year.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Happy Veterans Day 2016

On this Veterans day, as I have done each year past, I would like to thank all those who have served our country, putting their lives on the line to do those tasks that need to be done. The Orange basketball team has had its share of veterans over the decades. And has been tradition at OrangeHoops, I would like to recognize those former basketball Orangemen who did serve. I acknowledge this is not a complete list; only those I know of (each year I add a few more). I imagine more Orangemen were in the service that I am omitting; if so, please post a recognition here! Also please feel free to recognize any other veterans in the comments.

In World War I, the following served:

Albert Ackley
Bradley Barnard
Ross Bibbens
Meyer Bloom
Jim Casey
Ed Cronauer
Charles Fasce
Russ Finsterwald
Loyal Greenman
Ken Harris
Ted Huntley
Bernie Kates
Ken Lavin
Nathan Malefski
Danny Martin
Harry Martin
Walter ‘Dutch’ Notman
Walter Peters
Elias Raff
Billy Rafter
Horace Ruffin
Courtland Sanney
Clifford Steele

In World War II, the following served:

Jim Ackerson
Earl Ackley
Lou Alkoff
John Baldwin (Balsavich)
John Balinsky
John Beaulieu
John Beck
Gene Berger
Milton 'Whitey' Bock
Leo Canale
Dick Casey
Larry Crandall
Wilbur Crisp
Dan DiPace
Les Dye
Bud Elford
Alton Elliott
John Emerich
Bill Estoff
Bob Felasco
Paul Ferris
Billy Gabor
Ed Glacken
Joe Glacken
Marc Guley
Mark Haller
LaVerne Hastings
Lew Hayman
Bill Hennemuth
Bill Hoeppel
Tom Huggins
George Jarvis
Ed Jontos
Walter Kiebach
Jim Konstanty
Christian Kouray
Stan Kruse (Kruszewski)
Glenn Loucks
Guy Luciano
Saul Mariaschin
Bob Masterson
Paul McKee
Don McNaughton
Tom McTiernan
Francis Miller
Joe Minsavage
Andy Mogish
Roy Peters
Hank Piro
Paul Podbielski
Edward Pond
Phil Rakov
Joe Rigan
John Schroeder
Bill Schubert
Bob Shaddock
Wilmeth Sidat-Singh
Red Stanton
Mike Stark
Chester Stearns
Bobby Stewart
Joe Sylvestri
Charles Taggart
Ray Tice
Joe Weber
Ray Willmott
Bill Wyrick

In Korea the following served:

Reaves Baysinger, Jr
John Beaulieu
Bernie Eischen
Paul McKee
Paul Podbielski
Fred Serley

In Vietnam, the following served:

Reaves Baysinger, Jr
John Beaulieu
George Crofoot
Rick Dean
Sanford Salz

The following were veterans who served but were fortunate to miss a war era:

Vinnie Albanese
Art Barr
Mel Besdin
Rudy Cosentino
Roy Danforth
Ronnie Kilpatrick
George Koesters
Tom Jockle
Jack Malone
Frank Reddout
Eddie Rosen
Chuck Steveskey

Five of the aforementioned players deserve special note, as they sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.

Harry Martin was killed in 1923 when his plane crashed during takeoff at Kelley Field, Texas.  He was a Lieutenant and an Army Aviator.  Martin had served in the AEF in France in World War I.

Wilmeth Sidat-Singh was a member of the Tuskegee Airman, and was killed in a training accident when his plane crashed into Lake Michigan in 1943.

Joe Minsavage was killed in World War II on June 19, 1943 when his ship was attacked and he was lost at sea.

Charles Taggart was a member of the US Navy serving aboard the USS Frederick C. Davis, and was killed when his ship was torpedoed by a German U-Boat on April 24, 1945. Taggart and 115 crew members perished.

Gene Berger was killed in 1961 during flight maneuvers. He was a Commander in the U.S. Navy and a Naval aviator, and his plane would crash into the Pacific.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Get Psyched for 2016-2017

To put all Orange fans into the proper frame of mind, please flash back to Mr. Warrick in 2003.
GIF of Hakim Warrick Block in 2003
Mr. Lee, say hello to Mr. Warrick

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Relevance of Preseason Rankings

Syracuse basketball fans tend to feel it is better to be 'off the radar' and unranked when a season starts, rather than highly ranked.  The consensus seems to be that Boeheim's underrated teams over perform, while his highlly rated teams under perform.  How relevant is that feeling?

In Boeheim’s career, the Orangemen have started the season ranked 26 times, not including this year.
18 times in his career the team underachieved per the rankings; seven times by 10 or more ranking positions. This gets a little distorted because if you start in the top 5 it is tough to move up; the Orange have started in the top 5 four times (and in once case overacheived, 2011-2012 where they started at 5 and ended at 3).
17 times in his career the team has overachieved per the rankings. Again, seven times by 10 or more ranking positions
9 times a team started the season unranked, and finished the year ranked in the top 25. In 2009-2010 they started unranked and finished at #3. In his first season, 1976-1977, they started unranked and finished at #6.
8 times a team started the season ranked, and finished the year unranked in the top 25. The worst drop was in 1977-1978 where they started at #11 and finished unranked.

Really, it seems as if the number of over performing teams is equal to the under performing.

Boeheim’s Final Four teams:
1986-1987 started at #15
1995-1996 started unranked
2002-2003 started unranked
2012-2013 started at #9
2015-2016 started unranked

The Final Four trend is the most interesting to me. Three of those five teams started the year unranked. Only the 2012-2013 team had a reasonable expectation to make it.

The Orange start 2016-2017 as the #19 team in the country.  Not highly ranked, nor totally off the radar.  

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Seven Big Questions for 2016-2017

Orange fans hopes are very high for the upcoming men’s basketball season.  There indeed is a lot of potential on this squad, and the team may go ten players deep, something that has not happened often in coach Jim Boeheim’s career.

It is with almost certainty that the Orange will be a better team this year than the squad from last year.  But fans must keep in mind that last year’s team, before the NCAA tournament, may have been one of the worst squads that Boeheim has ever had.  The team was 19-13 in the regular season, and was 5-6 versus AP Top 25 teams.  That record was deservedly good enough to get into the NCAA tournament, particularly with the strength of some of the Orange’s wins.  But by Syracuse and Jim Boeheim standards, it was a mediocre season.  That is, until the NCAA tournament, where the team jelled, and made an improbably run to the Final Four.

It is also unlikely that no matter how good this year’s team is, that they will not get to the Final Four.  Several of Syracuse’s top teams have never made the Final Four.  Teams need to be playing very well as a unit, and get the right match ups, plus have players step up when they need to. 
This year’s team will be very hard to predict.  There are a lot of questions about what the squad really is comprised of. It does have a ton of potential. 

Question 1:  How good will Tylor Lydon be this year?  Last year he was the #4 option on the offense, 
and he was a terrible mismatch for opposing teams. This year he will likely be the #1 option. He is still a mismatch, but defenses will focus more on him.  Lydon has a terrific motor with a lot of hustle, and plays defense well. He should be better this year than last.

Question 2:  How good are the centers?  DaJuan Coleman is a fifth year senior, beset by injuries throughout this career. He started to play his best basketball in the NCAA tournament at the end of last year.  While there is no expectation for him to be a star, can he put up good numbers in 20-25 minutes of play?  Similarly, what do the Orange have in Paschal Chukwu?  He is a 7’2” player with a great wingspan and the ability to run the court.  He came as a raw talent and spent a year as a redshirt.  Can he be the shot blocking force that fans envision?  Does he have the ability to play defense other than blocking shots, and does he bring anything to the offensive end of the court?

Question 3:  Who will play the point, and how solid will that play be?  John Gillon and Frank Howard are the two point guards for this season.  Gillon is reportedly very quick with an average perimeter shot, a great ability to push the ball, and to press on defense. He is small, so he is not the prototypical guard for the top of the zone, though his speed may compensate for that.  Howard has the length to play the top of the zone, and has played in Boeheim’s zone for a year.  He showed last year that he is a terrific passer, with a good ability to get to the hoop, but very limited shooting range. Has his shooting improved?

Question 4:  How will the two fifth year seniors fit in?  The previously mentioned Gillon and Andrew White join Syracuse as graduate transfers.  White is reportedly a terrific shooter, though NBA scouts did indicate he needed to stay in school another year to develop more.  The two players have a ton of collegiate experience, and that brings a lot of value.  But both have no experience in Boeheim’s system, and how well will they play zone defense?  Do the personalities of both players allow them to be ‘team players’, or are they going to be self-focused? 

Question 5:  How good are the freshman? It seems that Tyus Battle is a terrific athlete and will see a lot of time at the shooting guard position. Taureen Thompson will see some time up front, and Matthew Moyer will try to find some time at the small forward position.  Do these players adjust well to being secondary players, if necessary? Particularly of concern would be Battle who may already have an eye on going to the NBA.  Can the freshman deliver?  For every Carmelo Anthony and Gerry McNamara, you have a Tyler Roberson and Kaleb Joseph.

Question 6:  Speaking of Roberson, which Roberson will we see this year?  Roberson did not make the big jump from his sophomore to junior season that you often see with players. He still had a limited shooting range, and most infuriating was that his effort and production was inconsistent.  There were nights of ‘plugged in’ Roberson where he pulled down 20 rebounds against Duke. And then there were nights that he barely registered in the stat column, frustrating Boeheim to the point that he publicly criticized his lack of effort.

Question 7:  How does this team gel?  Do the sum of the parts exceed the components, or do the individual efforts exceed what the team does?  Great teams do the former; poorer teams do the latter. 

We have a Hall of Fame coach who loves his job, and is as focused as ever.  Boeheim is publicly praising this team, and polls have the team in the top 20 preseason.  I’d love for the parts to come together, for the Orange to have a great season, one where the offense flowed well, and the defense continued to shut-it-down. 

We will start to find out November 11th.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

OrangeHoops 2016 Hall of Fame

In 2007, OrangeHoops inducted its charter class into the OrangeHoops Hall of Fame: Dave Bing, Derrick Coleman, Sherman Douglas, Vic Hanson, and Pearl Washington. The next eight years saw the addition of Billy Owens (2008), Billy Gabor (2009), Lawrence Moten (2010), Louis Orr (2011), Roosevelt Bouie (2011)  John Wallace (2012),  Rony Seikaly (2013), Vinnie Cohen (2014) and Etan Thomas (2015).  So the list now stands at 14. Another year has passed, and now it is time for the 2016 inductee.

I established my rules for the OrangeHoops Hall of Fame back in 2007 and you can catch up on them here. 2016 does have six new eligible candidates (using the fifteen year rule): Allen Griffin, Damone Brown, Rob McClanaghan, Tim Byrnes, Chris Schau, Mike Rosenblum

Allen Griffin was a four year player for the Orangemen with an unusual career.  His freshman year he was a reserve guard playing in all but one game.  His sophomore year he was the starting shooting guard, rotating playing time with Tony Bland and Preston Shumpert.  He would lose his starting position his junior season. While he still played over 10 minutes a game, he was behind Tony Bland, Preston Shumpert, Jason Hart and DeShaun Williams on the depth chart.  When Hart graduated, Griffin would move back into the starting lineup as the point guard, and would play more minutes than any other player that year.  He would have a triple double against Pittsburgh with 14 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.  The next game he would score 31 points in leading the Orangemen to an overtime win against St. John’s; Griffin would make 18 of 22 free throw in that game.

Damone Brown was a skinny forward, who developed a good mid range jump shot, and became a decent rebounder. After playing only 53 minutes his freshman year, he was a starter his final three years at Syracuse, and was named Second Team All Big East his senior year.  Brown would have a brief four year career in the NBA.

Rob McClanaghan, Tim Byrnes, Chris Schau and Mike Rosenblum were all walk-on players for Syracuse.  McClanaghan was a three year player scoring 20 points,  Byrnes a one year graduate player who failed to score, Schau a three year walk-on who failed to score, and Rosenblum a two year walk-on who failed to score.

None of the candidates from 2000-2001 would make my top 10 candidates.

I think this year’s viable top 10 candidates come down to the following, listed chronologically: Lew Castle, Joe Schwarzer, Lew Andreas, Jon Cincebox, Jimmy Lee, Rudy Hackett, Leo Rautins, Rafael Addison, Stephen Thompson, and Jason Hart.

Castle was a two time All-American at Syracuse, and was captain and leading scorer of Syracuse’s only undefeated team, the 1913-1914 squad that went 12-0.

Schwarzer was a two time All-American, and was captain and leading scorer of the 1917-1918 squad that went 16-1 and was retroactively named the National Champions by the Helms Foundation.

Andreas coached Syracuse basketball for 27 seasons, including the 19-1 1925-1926 squad that was awarded the Helms Foundation National Championship. He had a career record of 358-134, and he was the Syracuse Athletic Director for 28 years (1937-1964).

Cincebox was on the best rebounders in Syracuse history (in an era when rebounding numbers were admittedly high).  He helped Syracuse to the NCAA Elite Eight in 1956-1957, as the dominant big man for the Orangemen.

Lee was a clutch shooter with terrific perimeter range, and outstanding free throw shooting ability. He was able to use his shooting ability to set himself up as a solid passer. Lee's 18 foot jumper with five seconds remaining led the Orangemen to beat heavily favored North Carolina, as the Orangemen eventually moved on to their first NCAA Final Four. Lee would end up making the All-Tournament team for his outstanding performances.

Hackett was a powerful forward who could run the court well. He was a great rebounder and terrific scorer near the hoop.  He led the Orangemen in scoring his senior year and helped lead Syracuse to its first Final Four in 1975.

Rautins was a terrific ball-handling forward with a nice shooting touch, solid rebounding and scoring skills. He is most well known for his game winning tip in basket to win the Big East Championship in triple overtime against Villanova in 1981.  Rautins also recorded two triple-doubles in Big East action.

Addison was a gangly small forward who earned a reputation for being one of the most underrated players in the country.  He possessed an excellent mid range jump shot, was decent passing the ball, and was a solid free throw shooter. He led the team in scoring his sophomore and junior seasons.  He moved to shooting guard his senior year, and his 6’7” height helped with the mismatches. Unfortunately a leg injury impacted his effectiveness the second half of the season.

Thompson was an explosive swingman, with incredible quickness and vertical leap, and excellent defensive skills. He was extremely adept at playing above the basket though he was only about 6'2". He teamed with Sherman Douglas to perfect the alley-oop basket.  Thompson was an extremely proficient scorer, despite the fact he was a terrible perimeter shooter. 

Hart was a speedy defensive point guard, and a four year starter.  He was a decent ball handler, and finished his career as the number two assist man all time at Syracuse. He was much better on the defensive end, and would finish as SU's all-time leader in steals.  Hart would have a 9 year career in the NBA, mostly as a backup guard.

All are worthy players, and tough selections to make.  I designed my selection rules to make it tough; the Hall of Fame should be the 'best of the best', and I would rather have a line of worthy players outside the Hall of Fame, than cheapen it by having lessor players included.

This may be the toughest pick for me in all the years so far.  Ten very good candidates, and a couple of those players are among my all-time personal favorites.  My 2016 inductee is Joe Schwarzer

Joe Schwarzer Syracuse Orangemen Basketball
Joe Schwarzer
Joe Schwarzer was the star of the Orangemen from 1916 to 1918.  He was a two time All American and an excellent ball handler. In that era, the center position did much of the ball handling on offense, as the ball moved through that position before being passed to other players.  He was also the best free throw shooter on the team, earning the distinction of being the designated free throw shooter his senior year.  He led the team to a 16-1 record his senior year, and the team was recognized as the best team in the country by the Helms Foundation.  He is considered Syracuse's best all-around basketball player prior to Vic Hanson’s arrival.

Schwarzer was an excellent all-around athlete. He lettered four times in football as an End (wide receiver), and earned All-American status his senior year. He also lettered in baseball. Schwarzer was the captain of the basketball, baseball and football teams.  He would earn a law degree from Syracuse.

Schwarzer passed away in 1989.

Congratulations to Joe Schwarzer, the OrangeHoops 2016 Hall of Fame inductee.