In a perverse way, this has been a fun season to watch with the constant ebb and flow of reduction of available scholarship players along with the growth and development of the young first year starters.
Syracuse has had an unusual number of injuries this season, with three players with season ending ailments: Eric Devendorf, Andy Rautins, and Devan Brennan-McBride. A good friend and I were talking the other night, and we could not recall there ever being an established player who Syracuse lost for the season in the Boeheim era due to injury.
Syracuse has missed players for chunks of the season. Tony Bruin missed a few games his junior and senior seasons. Leo Rautins would miss seven games his junior season due to a knee injury. Marty Headd would break his wrist in practice as the post season began his senior season. Etan Thomas missed a couple games his senior season.
There have been unestablished players who had career debilitating injuries. Brennan-McBride would fall into that category. Center Larry O’Neill would severely cut his arm in a window accident which he never fully recovered from. Herman ‘The Helicopter’ Harried would blow out his knee after his freshman year, and never be the high flying leaper again. Ethan Cole hurt his leg early his senior season and miss the rest of the year. Jeremy McNeil severely injured his knee six games into his freshman year (he had played only 40 minutes at that point). Arinze Onuaku missed his sophomore season after a summer knee injury (he had averaged 2.0 points per game his freshman year and played 243 minutes).
And there would be guys who had significant nagging injuries that slowed them down, but never took them out of the lineup. Raf Addison suffered through a leg injury his senior season, an injury that significantly hurt his impact and hampered the team. Gerry McNamara would play the end of his junior season and all of his senior season with a nagging groin injury which hampered his shooting. Terrence Roberts was hampered down the stretch his senior season with a sore knee.
But never in the Boeheim era had an established player been disabled and knocked out for the entire season (such as Rautins) or injured and unable to play again for the bulk of the season (Devendorf). Both scenarios happened this same year for Coach Boeheim.
Let’s hope it takes another 32 years for injuries to have such a significant impact on the Orangemen.