Sunday, July 16, 2017

Perspective on the State of Orange Basketball

Last losing seasons for teams:
Kansas 13-16 in 1982-83, 13-14 in 1981-1982.
Kentucky 14-14 in 1989-90, 13-19 in 1988-1989
Duke 13-18 in 1994-1995, followed by 18-13 in 1995-96
Georgetown 14-18 last year, 15-18 in 2015-16
UConn 16-17 last year
Villanova 13-19 in 2011-12
UCLA 15-17 in 2015-16
Pitt 16-17 last year
North Carolina 8-20 in 2001-02
Louisville 12-19 in 2000-01
Indiana 6-25 in 2008-09, 10-21 in 2009-10, 12-20 in 2010-11
Jim Boeheim
Jim Boeheim: 0 losing season in 41 years, despite always playing in one of the top two toughest conferences in the country. Never worse than 7-9 in conference play (only two losing conference records).
SU hasn’t had a losing season since 1968-1969 when Roy Danforth took over the program from Fred Lewis.
Some fans keep screaming the "the sky is falling, the sky is falling" because the Orange went 19-15 last season, and only 23-14 (and a Final Four) in 2015-2016. They have been two tough seasons for the Orange faithful, though as illustrated earlier, those trying seasons are much better than other teams have experienced in the past years.
The NCAA levied the harshest scholarship reduction penalties in NCAA basketball history on Syracuse, with the intent being to punish the team and hurt its performance on the court.  Despite those penalties, the Orange have still continued to win. 

If the Orange are still struggling in 2-3 seasons, after the penalties have been lifted, then we can fairly discuss whether the program is on the decline.  It simply is not possible at this point in time to make any judgement.  If fact, the evidence would suggest the program is doing quite well in spite of all that has occurred.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Syracuse Basketball All-Transfer Team

There haven't been a lot of transfers in the Jim Boeheim era at Syracuse, though there have been a few more impacful ones than you might remember. Notable transfers in the Boeheim era include Ryan Blackwell, Jason Cipolla, LeRon Ellis, John Gillon, Michael Gbinije, Wesley Johnson, Michael Lloyd, Kris Onganaet, Le Rautins, and Andrew White III. It will be interesting to see how Paschal Chukwu does.
Wesley Johnson
If we look outside the Boeheim era, we would note players such as Wilbur Crisp, Eddie Dollard, Charley Dolley, Gerry McFadden, Chuck Richards and Fred Saunders. Richards was probably the most impactful of that group, teaming with Dave Bing to form a formidable one-two punch. Saunders ended up in the NBA, and Crisp & Dolley were big stars in early years of SU hoops.
If we restrict ourselves to the Boeheim era, who would your starting transfer five be? Leo Rautins and Wesley Johnson are my easiest picks for the starting lineup. Andrew White III was the best shooter to transfer to SU, and he lit up the scoreboard last season. Center would have to be LeRon Ellis. Not a lot of competition there; Ellis did underperform at SU, but he was big time talent and good enough to get some time in the NBA. Toughest decision for me is what to do at the point guard position?
Go with the more traditional point guard in Michael Lloyd, who had one solid season at SU. Or go with Michael Gbinije, who was not a true point guard, but was adequate at the position. Ultimately, I think I would go with G. He was a better defender and a more versatile player than Lloyd. I think Lloyd was a little too much shoot first mentality. Plus with Leo Rautins on the team, I have a point forward, which reduces the pressure on the point guard.
So my starting five would be:
PG Michael Gbinije
SG Andrew White III
SF Wesley Johnson
PF Leo Rautins
C LeRon Ellis
What would your squad be?

Saturday, March 04, 2017

40 for Two Orangemen

Andrew White III capped off his regular season career for Syracuse with a 40 point effort against Georgia Tech on Senior Day.  White was a sharp shooter earlier today making 8 of 9 three point shots, and scoring 29 of his 40 points in the second half of the Orangemen's win.

Andrew White III and John Gillon
Andrew White III and John Gillon
White and fellow fifth year senior transfer John Gillon both had 40+ points in a game this season, making it the first time in school history that two players scored forty or more points in a game in the same season.  There was optimism about the two transfers when they joined the Orange last summer, but no one could have predicted that either of them, much less both of them, would score 40 points in a game.

Consider that prior to this season, the 40 point mark had been reached only ten times by seven players:  Dave Bing (3x), Bill Smith (2x), Gerry McNamara, Pete Chudy, Gene Waldron, Frank Reddout and Ed Miller.  Now Andrew White III and John Gillon can be eighth and ninth players added to that list.

Syracuse has had two forty-plus games in one season before, but that was in 1965-1966 and both efforts were by Dave Bing.

I think it is unusual that only three of the twelve 40+ point efforts occurred in the three point era.  The three point era, of course, allows a player to score more points per possession, and thus a 'hot' player should have more success at high scoring games in this era.  However, only McNamara, Gillon and White have accomplished it with the three point shot in play.

It's an eclectic mix of collegiate talent on the above list.  Bing was an All American, and became a Hall of Fame NBA player.  Bill Smith, Ed Miller and Frank Reddout had short NBA careers.  Gerry McNamara was a legendary collegiate player, who had a short professional career before turning to coaching.  Chudy was the leading scorer on the Orangemen his junior and senior seasons, and had several games with thirty-plus points.  Waldron was a low scoring guard for the Orangemen in the mid 80s, and was a three year starter.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Coach K's Praise of Jim Boeheim

Boeheim and Krzyzewski shake hands
Boeheim and Krzyzewski
The Syracuse Orange beat Duke 78-75 in front of 30,331 Carrier Dome fans on March 22, 2017 with a last second bank shot from John Gillon.  Both Jim Boeheim and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski were complimentary of each other during their press conference.  Below are Krzyzewski’s comments from the post-game press conference:


“Listen it’s always an honor to come up here.  Crowd’s great… people… I love Syracuse, and obviously I love Jim and his family. Congratulations to them.  And you don’t know what a treasure you have in him.  I’ve been with him these eleven years with USA basketball and he’s brilliant, competitive, loyal, and he doesn’t need his ego scratched. In other words he’s humble, as long as we win.  And I love the guy, and I’ll be forever grateful for him for what he did, and the bond that we developed during this so it’s hard for me to thinks of this as a rivalry when I think of Jim or Syracuse, but again  It’s so go that Syracuse, we’ve been in a number of years in the league, it’s amazing to add not just the quality of play but the history of program, the culture, it’s a valued valued asset for the ACC."
I know a lot of fans do not like Coach K. I've always thought he was a very classy individual who runs an outstanding program.  He had rightfully earned all the success that Duke has received, and we as basketball fans have been privileged to have his as part of our college basketball world.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Passing of an Orange Fan

My father, Bill Young, passed away in the early morning of Valentine's day this year.  He had suffered with Pancreatic cancer for the past year. But he battled it well, and was very active up until the end.

My dad was a huge Syracuse sports fan.  He graduated from SU in 1960, and had the fortune of attending Syracuse during both the era of Jim Brown and Ernie Davis.  He was fortunate to be a student when the Orangemen won the National Football championship in 1959.  He got to follow guys like Floyd Little, Jim Nance and Larry Csonka carry on the running back tradition for the Orangemen.

William Young
Bill Young
We were a busy family growing up with a lot of activities, and my parents did an excellent job of managing the household funds.  We didn't go to a ton of Syracuse games because of those constraints, but we normally made at least one football game each year and a couple of basketball games.  The Carrier Classic was something we attended each year, and though that event has passed, I always hold that as something special to me.

My father and I had the privilege of attending a Syracuse/Boston College game in January of my senior year in high school. It was a great game with a lot of action back and forth, a tightly contested event.  Syracuse looked like they were going to lose the game when the Pearl hit his now legendary half court shot to beat the Eagles.  

Dad, myself and my two month old son watched television together to watch Syracuse beat Kansas in the 1996 NCAA tournament. 

Though separated by a few hundred miles, my Dad and I both got to celebrate the Orangemen winning the 2003 National Championship in basketball, perhaps the highlight of both our Syracuse memories.  A lifetime of waiting for that event to occur, one that I thought may never occur, was truly a wonderful moment.

My dad always supported the team. He was a rational man, and never trashed the coaches, or hated the players.  That's not to say he didn't get angry at bad plays, but he was always supportive of his Orangemen.

Jim Boeheim's 1000th victory was an event he was able to get to enjoy. 

I visited him the weekend of the Pitt/Syracuse game. That was a typical Syracuse game, another frustrating loss to the Panthers.  Though I didn't know it, that would be the last game he and I would watch together.

Two nights later he watched the heartbreaking loss in overtime to Louisville, with my mother and sister with him.  He would unexpectedly die a few hours later.

He was a wonderful father, a beacon for me my entire life.  A caring and fair man, with outstanding generosity.  

Thank you Dad, for the lifetime of memories, and for all your love and support. You shall be loved and missed, but never forgotten.

Monday, February 06, 2017

1090, and Counting

The NCAA forbids Syracuse University, Jim Boeheim, or anyone associated with the program with recognizing and/or celebrating his 1,000th win. This despite the fact that those 1,000 wins did occur.

So I suggest that we celebrate ALL the wins that the NCAA does acknowledge, that occurred when Jim Boeheim was associated with the program.

Syracuse was 52-24 when Jim Boeheim was a varsity player for the Orangemen. The team was 139-65 while he was an assistant coach to Roy Danforth.  And the NCAA currently recognized 899 victories for Boeheim.

52+139+899 = 1090!

So congratulations Jim Boeheim on your *1,090th win for Syracuse University (and for those who want to eschew the asterisk, go with 1,191 wins).

Saturday, February 04, 2017

1000!!

The Orange pulled the upset of #9 Virginia at the Carrier Dome today, helping the Orange continue to improve their chances for post season play.  That was all secondary to the bigger moment, as coach Jim Boeheim won his 1,000th game as an head coach.

It could never be overstated how important this milestone is for Boeheim, the city of Syracuse and its fans. I'm sure there are plenty of fans my age (50 yrs) that are going through the same strong emotions today.  1,000 wins is a lifetime of basketball watching. It's going through the birth and death of the Big East. It's going to five Final Fours, a NCAA National Championship. It's going through six overtime wins.  Numerous heroic comebacks and nailbiters mixed in with easy afternoon wins.

It is also a mixture of heartbreaking losses and near misses over the years.

But it is a milestone, a marker of a time that we, Syracuse fans, have traveled together.  A fantastic journey with many wonderful memories.  And more to come!

Thank you Jim Boeheim for what you have provided to us over these 41 seasons.