Friday, November 17, 2017

1000 Wins At One School

Most Syracuse fans are like me, and they probably bristle anytime talks about the career win total for Jim Boeheim. I know I only recognize what Boeheim has actually occurred, which is 1,006 wins, as opposed to unjustly punitive and excessive NCAA 'official count' after wins were vacated. All in all, I can roll with it... because I know what the true number is.
Yet, the celebrations that the national media wanted to make when Mike Krzyzewski became the first men's coach to win 1,000 games for one school really rubbed more wrong.
I'm a big fan of Coach K, and I have a ton or respect for him. He's a heck of a coach, and deserves all the accolades he gets. But I'm pretty sure that the main reason that Coach K dismissed this acknowledgement is that in deference to his friend Boeheim, Coach K knows he isn't the first to reach this milestone.
My mood on this might have been tempered if any of the articles had footnoted Boeheim, but he was totally left out of the picture. I get that the NCAA has its protocols, its rules and its record books. What I don't get is why ESPN, CBSSports, USAToday, ignore the 'truth' and bend over to the NCAA.... there is no law/rule indicating they have to goose step with the NCAA. These sites/publications are reporting the news... report it. Don't whitewash it.
So, I'll go on record and congratulate Coach K on being the second Division I men's basketball coach to win 1,000 games at one school. Well done young man.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Boeheim's Quick Thoughts on 2017-2018

Jim Boeheim shared his thoughts with ESPN earlier today.  A quick summary is that he likes his backcourt; it has a lot of experience, size, and depth.  The front court is much bigger than last year's front court, but it is a very inexperienced group.

And no big surprise, he wants to coach forever.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Orange Hoops Hall of Fame 2017

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 ten 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), Etan Thomas (2015) and Joe Schwarzer (2016).  So the list now stands at 15. Another year has passed, and now it is time for the 2017 inductee.

I established my rules for the OrangeHoops Hall of Fame back in 2007 and you can catch up on them here. 2017 does have seven new eligible candidates (using the fifteen year rule): DeShaun Williams, Preston Shumpert, James Thues, Billy Celuck, Ethan Cole, Mark Konecny and Greg Davis.

DeShaun Williams was a controversial guard for the Orangemen.  He was definitely talented, with court quickness and the ability to get to the hoop.  He was a starter his sophomore and junior seasons, and was named to the Big East Third team his junior year.  He was also noted for being a selfish player, and had personal problems with his teammates, on and off the court.  He was academically ineligible after his junior season, and would transfer to Iona. Williams would score 1,136 points at Syracuse.

Preston Shumpert was one of the best three point shooters in Syracuse history, with terrific range.  He was a streaky shooter and carried the Orangemen to many victories, seven times in his career scoring 30+ points in a game.  He would be named to the Big East First Team both his junior and senior seasons, averaging 20.7 points per game his senior year.  He was not a strong defensive player, and there were questions about his temperament, particularly related to issues with DeShaun Williams.  Shumpert is currently the 8th all time leading scorer at SU.

James Thues was a short stocky point guard with excellent ball handling and passing skills.  He was also quite adept at stealing the ball from the opponents. A true point guard, Thues was not much of a shooter and rarely scored. He would share time starting at the point his sophomore season with DeShaun Williams.  Thues would leave Syracuse after his sophomore year, transferring to Detroit-Mercy.

Billy Celuck was a 7’ center who saw limited playing time his first two seasons at Syracuse, totaling 132 minutes.  He would split time at center his junior year with Jeremy McNeil, averaging 4.3 points per game.  His senior year he would see diminished playing time as McNeil improved and freshman Craig Forth arrived.

Ethan Cole transferred to Syracuse from the University of New Hampshire, and played two seasons.  Cole would have limited playing time his junior season at Syracuse. He was expected to play more in senior year, and started a couple of games. However, he lost his starting position to Hakim Warrick, and then an injury ended his season, and career, after 8 games that year.

Greg Davis was a forward for one season.  He saw limited playing time his freshman year with only 27 minutes, and redshirted his sophomore season. He did not like his prospects for playing time after his sophomore year, and transferred to North Carolina A&T.

Mark Konecny was a reserve forward for one season.  He would play only two games for the Orangemen before leaving for personal reasons.
Of this year’s candidates, Preston Shumpert would make my top 10 list of candidates.

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

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.

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.

Ten very good candidates, and a couple of those players are among my all-time personal favorites.  My 2017 inductee is Lew Andreas.

Andreas was SU’s winningnest basketball coach before Jim Boeheim arrived.  He coached 26 seasons at Syracuse, and had several outstanding seasons. His 1926 squad, led by Hall of Famer Vic Hanson, went 19-1 and was recognized by the Helms Foundation as the National Champions. In the 1930s, his Reindeer Five squad ran opposing teams off the
court, and he helped transition the team (and game) to a faster pace game. Andreas led SU to its first post season action in 1946 going to the NIT, and again in 1950. 

Andreas was a proponent of playing multiple players, and shuffling his starting lineups game to game.  Against Fordham in 1939, Andreas played 21 different players in the game.

He was the Syracuse Director of Physical Education and Athletics from 1937 to 1964.  During that time, he saw the basketball program develop into an NCAA power, the football program reach elite status with a national championship in 1959, and the lacrosse program became one of the pre-eminent programs in America.

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.