Saturday, July 28, 2007

Votes Are In: Syracuse Most Underrated Basketball Player

The votes are in for the most underrated Syracuse Basketball player of all time. As I mentioned when I created my own top 10, it is a difficult thing to do because you have to make an assumption that fans are not giving the player as much credit and you want to give them. When someone else does not think a player is underrated, it is either because he does not think he is very good, or he thinks he gets quite enough credit.

Anyhow, the top 10 as of this morning are listed below. I put in brackets where I had them in my list earlier this week.

1. Roosevelt Bouie (#2)
2. Preston Shumpert (#7)
3. Stevie Thompson (NR)
4. Josh Pace (NR)
5. Jason Hart (NR)
6. Leo Rautins (#6)
7. Kueth Duany (NR)
8. Demetris Nichols (NR)
9. Rafael Addison (#10)
10. Etan Thomas (NR)

From my perspective, I can take two approaches to those results: very humbling that only 4 of my players made that list, OR ‘what the heck are you all thinking’! Probably a little of both.

I think that Kueth Duany and Etan Thomas are viable underrated candidates. I had considered them both. Duany developed into one of those players who did every good; he wasn not great in any aspect, but he was a decent perimeter shooter, rebounder, ball handler, defender, and free throw shooter during his senior season. Thomas is rarely considered in discussions for top Syracuse center, yet he was two time Big East Defensive Player of the Year.

I’m having a tough time seeing Stevie Thompson, Demetris Nichols or Josh Pace being underrated; I think fans respect them very much for who there were. Thompson’s one of my own personal favorite players, and I think fans are quite aware of who he was, what he did, and how valuable he was for the team. If you voted for him being underrated by non-Syracuse fans… yes, I would whole heartedly agree with that. If you didn’t see Thompson play every day, you would really have no idea who he was.

Nichols was the best player on an average Syracuse team last year. A big time scorer; he is getting continued coverage with the NBA draft and the summer camps. I just don’t see how he’s underrated? I’m guessing he’s one of the top 30 Syracuse basketball players of all time; maybe top 25. Am I supposed to think he is higher than that?

Pace is a slightly different scenario. Like Duany, he is a guy who was good at everything (except actually shooting from 10+ feet out). He did all the dirty work on the court, got the rebounds and loose balls, played some point forward, some solid defense, etc. Typically, those are characteristics of a guy who gets underrated. However, I think Pace is an exception. He played a key role on the 2003 Championship team, and that is still recent history. I think Pace is still fresh in the minds of fans, and I think most fans do appreciate him appropriately. In fact, I think there’s enough of a movement to even suggest the many fans are overcompensating for him and he’s starting to fall on the overrated side of the equation.

Then there is Jason Hart, falling in at #5 on this list. I am not going to say too much about Hart here other than the fact I’m very surprised that he is on this list. He is actually going to be a central figure in a future article, and the word ‘overrated’ is associated with it. And he is going to be very high on that list.

I am humbled by the fact that my personal number one, Vinnie Cohen, did not make the top 10 of the fan list (he came in at #11); he was only on 3 ballots, receiving two first place votes (one of which was mine). I can draw three conclusions from this. The first two are either fans really do appreciate Vinnie Cohen’s accomplishments or fans don’t think highly of him. This third is fans have no clue at all who he is and are not capable of voting for him. I am guessing it is the third answer (admittedly that is self serving for me).

My other top 10 came in as follows: Jim Brown at #23, Bill Smith at #20, Eddie Goldberg (not ranked), Rudy Hackett (#12), and Marty Byrnes #24. Really, not even close… especially with only 20 voters.

How did the voting break down? The voting was very split. Bouie, who was top rated, had only 2 first place votes, 4 second place votes, 2 third place votes, and was on only 13 of 20 ballots.

Shumpert, who came in second, had no first place votes, 3 second place votes, 3 third place votes, and was on only 11 of 20 ballots.

Thompson, who came in third, had 3 first place votes, 2 second place and 2 third place, while appearing on 11 ballots.

Pace, who came in fourth, had 2 first place, 2 second place, 2 third place, while appearing on 11 ballots.

Hart, who came in fifth, had 1 first place, 3 second place, 2 third place, while appearing on 7 ballots. Basically, few voted for him, but those who did, voted him high.

Rautins, who came in sixth, had 1 first place, no second place, 3 third place, while appearing on 8 ballots.

Duany, who came in seventh, had 2 first place, no second place, 1 third place, while appearing on 7 ballots.

Nichols, who came in eighth, had no first or third place, 1 second place, while appearing on 7 ballots.

Addison, who came in ninth, had 1 first place, 1 second place, no third place, while appearing on 7 ballots.

Thomas, who came in tenth, had no first place, no second place, and 1 third place, while appearing on 6 ballots.

Where were all the other first place votes (that’s only 12 above)? Cohen had 2 (as mentioned above), Rudy Hackett 1, John Wallace 1, Marius Janulis 2, Carmelo Anthony 1, and Billy Gabor 1. I think that Hackett, Wallace, Janulis and Gabor are all worthy for underrated consideration (I know that TNIAAM will be sad that Marius didn't do better). As for Melo… well, you’ve got to be kidding, right? There is no way he is underrated.

So thanks for participating. It is always and education experience for me, and I hope it was fun for you. The voting will continue to be open, and I will check back in a few months and see how things may have changed.


MariusJanulisForThree said...

No love for Nulis.

How bout the most underrated SU baller not to be considered good enough to be underrated? He's gotta be top ten in that!

DoublyHelical said...

Stevie Thompson is absolutely my favorite player from the 80s/90s era, and having met him a few years back, I respect him even more. I think any "underrated" votes might be more along the lines of "I can't believe a 6-ft-2 guy played like that!"