Saturday, February 17, 2007

Debunking the Myth

I see many references on the message boards that coach Jim Boeheim hates to play freshman. Well, quite simply, I’d like to quickly debunk that myth.

Coach Boeheim has consistently played the best players on the court, regardless of their class. Keep in mind, by “best”, I mean the player who is the most talented and positive impact on the team today. Many fans get that confused with “potential”, meaning how good the player could be. One thing Boeheim has not done much with, is the “would of, could of, should of” scenarios.

Boeheim has been the head coach at Syracuse for 31 years. During that time, he has started 22 freshman. Sixteen of them were starters for virtually their entire freshman seasons, and six split time with other teammates.

Roosevelt Bouie
Erich Santifer (16 gs)
Andre Hawkins
Pearl Washington
Michael Brown
Rony Seikaly
Derrick Coleman
Billy Owens
Michael Edwards (18 gs)
Adrian Autry
Lawrence Moten
John Wallace
Otis Hill
Jason Hart
Etan Thomas (12 gs)
Jeremy McNeil (21 gs)
Hakim Warrick (19 gs)
Craig Forth
Gerry McNamara
Carmelo Anthony
Demetris Nichols (15 gs)
Eric Devendorf

That was the list of the starters. That does not even account for the freshman who has significant playing time from the bench, which would include players such as:

Stephen Thompson
Dave Johnson
Gene Waldron
Tony Bland
Rafael Addison
Wendell Alexis
DeShaun Williams
Louie Orr
Eddie Moss
Billy Edelin
Ron Payton
Richie Manning

Does Jim Boeheim start seniors and juniors over freshman more often? Sure he does. It would be foolish to think he would do otherwise. Seniors are more experienced, typically bigger and stronger, smarter on the court, and therefore, you would hope, better players. Do you think Derrick Coleman as a freshman was equal to Derrick Coleman as a senior? If you had Derrick Coleman (senior) on your team, would you take him out of the starting lineup so Derrick Coleman (freshman) could start? Of course not.

Historically speaking, when the freshman is deserving of playing time over his teammates, he has received it.



MariusJanulisForThree said...

Got a challenge for you (probably not challenging at all...I'm just lazy) many times has Cuse won 20 games and NOT made the tourney?

OrangeRay said...

It's only happened four times.

In 1966-67 they went 20-5 and went to the NIT (where they lost in the first round, finishing at 20-6).

In 1971-72 they went 21-5 and went to the NIT, where they went 1-1, finishing 22-6.

In 1992-93 they went 20-9, but were banned from post season play.

In 2001-02 they were 20-11, and went to the NIT where they went 3-2, finishing 23-13.

In all four situations, the 20 wins was mitigated by other facts. In 66-67 and 71-72, there were only 32 teams in the tournament, so 20 wins wasn't enough. In 1992-93 they were banned (they surely would have gone otherwise), and the 2001-02 team had the greatest stretch run collapse in Syracuse history (dropping from #7 in the country to out of the polls in about six weeks).

MariusJanulisForThree said...

Bless you...

Ah yes, how soon we forget that 2002 debacle.