Thursday, December 29, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
'Twas the night before Cusemas, and all through the Dome,
every fan was watching, in fact none of them were home.
The stands were filled by the court with many chair,
No UCONN fan would attend, would they even dare?
The players were dressed all snug in their threads,
while visions of victory danced in their heads.
Best friend in their jersey and I in my cap,
had just settled cheers during a long scoring lapse.
When out on the court there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my seat to see what was the matter.
Down to the court I flew with a dash,
tore open my camera, and took a big flash.
gave the muster of a scoring drive twenty to zero!
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a re-energized Jim Boeheim and five starters to his rear.
With a snick and a yell, so lively and quick,
Jim Calhoun called “Time Out” in one seconds tick.
More rapid than eagles, SU’s field goals they came,
the fans whistled and shouted and called them by name:
"Go Southerland! Go Joseph!
Now, Baye, Triche and Scoop!
On, Melo! On,Waiters!
On Rakeem, to the hoop!
To the top of the key!
To the three point line!
Now Shoot away! Shoot away!
Shoot away fine!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky
so up to the hoop their courses they flew,
with their minds full of a win, and Jim Boeheim, too!
And then, in a twinkling, I watched with a poof
Joseph’s three pointer sent the fans to the roof!
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
down the court C.J. Fair came with a bound!
His jersey was white, from his head to his foot,
and his head band was covered in sweat and soot.
A bundle of energy, Dion passed the ball back,
and C.J. dunked it with authority, a potent attack!
Boeheim’s eyes--how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
and his shine on his head was as bright as the snow.
The grin of a lead he held tight in his teeth,
and the fans cheered crazily as UCONN fell beneath.
He had a happy face and a firm little belly,
that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was tall and didn’t slump, a right jolly old elf,
and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, he signaled time out,
”We want walk ons!” the SU fans did shout!
And pointing his finger, up in the air it rose,
signaling “We’re number one!” Now every one knows!
He sprang to his feet, as the ref blew the final whistle,
And away they all flew to the locker room like a missile!
But I heard him exclaim, As he ran out of sight,
"Happy Cusemas to all, and to all a good night!"
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Sunday, December 04, 2011
- The game has to involved a ranked opponent so that the game has some value in that both teams are perceived to be good teams.
- The game has to have no meaning regarding the final outcome of the season. That is, it cannot be an NCAA tournament game, where a loss ends the Orange season. Nor can it be a Big East tournament game. The Orange aren't going to win every game of the season, so I can accept losses, under certain circumstances.
- The game cannot be against UConn, Pitt or Georgetown. Nope... losing to a hated rival, regardless how we played, is never any fun.
- The game has to be competitive. That is, both teams have chances of winning the game in the second half.
- The game has to have some bright offensive moments and bright defensive moments. The game has to have a good flow to it. Moments of the game where you can just enjoy the effort by both teams and really appreciate it.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
In World War I, the following served:
Walter ‘Dutch’ Notman
In World War II, the following served:
Stan Kruse (Kruszewski)
In Korea the following served:
Reaves Baysinger, Jr
In Vietnam, the following served:
Reaves Baysinger, Jr
The following were veterans who served but were fortunate to miss a war era:
Four of the aforementioned players deserve special note, as they sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.
Wilmeth Sidat-Singh was a member of the Tuskegee Airman, and was killed in a training accident when his plane crashed into Lake Michigan in 1943.
Charles Taggart was a member of the US Navy serving aboard the USS Frederick C. Davis, and was killed when his ship was torpedoed by a German U-Boat on April 24, 1945. Taggart and 115 crew members perished.
John Cronauer was killed in World War I in 1918.
Joe Minsavage was killed in World War II on June 19, 1943 when his ship was attacked and he was lost at sea.
Friday, November 04, 2011
I established my rules for the OrangeHoops Hall of Fame back in 2007 and you can catch up on them here. 2011 does have eight new eligible candidates (using the fifteen year rule): John Wallace, Lazarus Sims, J.B. Reafsnyder, David Patrick, Bobby Lazor, Elimu Nelson, Jim Hayes and Jim May. Wallace is a solid candidate, definitely one of the top Syracuse players of all time, and carried Syracuse his senior season to lofty heights. Sims was an outstanding point guard his senior season and helped lead the Orangemen to the National Championship game, but he was just a one year starter. Reafsnyder shared the center duties with Otis Hill, while Nelson, Hayes and May were bench players. Patrick and Lazor would both transfer to bigger and better things at other schools.
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.
Bouie was a two time All-American, a standout defensive player who led Syracuse to a 100-18 record in his four years, and part of the famed Louie N’ Bouie tandom that rocketed Syracuse up the polls in the early Jim Boeheim years.
Orr was an All-American his senior year, a talented offensive player who played with intelligence on the court. He was the other half of the famed Louie N’ Bouie tandom.
Seikaly was an All-American, a standout defensive player whose outstanding play in the 1987 NCAA tournament took Syracuse to the brink of its first tournament championship.
Wallace was a four year starter at Syracuse, carried the team to the National Championship game his senior season in 1995-1996. He graduated Syracuse as the #3 all-time leading scorer and the #3 all-time leader in rebounds, and still holds both distinctions.
Louis Orr was a thin rail of a player who was excellent at running the court, and grabbing rebounds. He was a valuable sixth man his freshman season, and scored 9.4 points per game off the bench. He would move into the starting lineup his sophomore season, and continued to improve. Like Bouie, he was named to the Big East First Team its inaugural season 1979-1980. Orr would be drafted in the first round of the 1980 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers. He would have eight solid, though unspectacular, seasons in the NBA.
Monday, October 31, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
The ACC would be my conference of choice for the Orange. A rich basketball tradition, though down the last couple of years, some former Big East teams in the mix, and it covers a part of the country the Orange recruit from already (Maryland / Virginia and Florida).
The Big East stopped being the conference I grew up to love years ago. Those who are about my age would remember the formation of the league from primarily small private independent Eastern schools: Georgetown, Providence, Connecticut, Seton Hall, Boston College, St. John’s, Villanova and Syracuse. The Orangemen and the Hoyas were the prime time players the first year, with the Redmen, Nova and BC on the rise. A few years into the league history and the Big East had three teams in the Final Four, with the epic upset of the mighty Hoyas by Nova.
The league had home and home games for all the teams, and characters as coaches, ranging from the leprechaun Carneseca, to the rumpled Massimino, the hulking Thompson, and the whining Boeheim. Memorable college players such as the ultimate gym rat in Chris Mullin, to the dominating Patrick Ewing, the bullish John Pinone, and the speedy Michael Adams.
Football became very important in the college landscape, and the Big East found it had to add other teams to form a football league; else it would lose some of its members. The initial growth wasn’t too bad, though it started to monkey with the quaintness of the league, and some of the home and home games. But as the years progressed, the league continued to gain members, and became quite bloated.
The Big East became the dominant basketball league in the land, but members only played each other one time a year (which the exception of three home and homes). Legendary games such as the Hoyas invading the Dome would actually not occur some seasons.
So while I regret the Orange leaving the Big East, I realize the Big East I loved left the Orange a long time ago.
An irony could exist if some rumors play out. It is possible that UConn and Rutgers would also join the ACC, allowing the ACC to have a 16 team league. It would then split into two divisions. Hypothetically, let’s say they were a North and a South division. The North Division could be comprised of UConn, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Boston College, Miami, Virginia Tech, Maryland and Syracuse. If that looks somewhat familiar, it should, as that looks much like the Big East football conference in 2002.
The things I will miss the most from the Big East? Not having Georgetown as a meaningful game on the schedule each year, though I’m sure they will schedule that as a non-conference game annually. If UConn doesn’t come south, not having the Huskies to taunt. And not playing in Madison Square Garden each March, a special event each and every year.
Another question at hand will be what will this do to Jim Boeheim’s eventual retirement plans? Will it expedite the process? Boeheim loves Eastern basketball, the coaching camaraderie. Would the change be something enough to make him decide to step down before the move, or is his desire to keep coaching enough to have him lead the Orange into their new adventure?
Thursday, July 07, 2011
Mackey revolutionized the tight end position in the NFL by making the position a legitimate receiving threat. He was not only a possession receiver with the ability to catch the short pass over the middle, but with his size and speed, he was a deep threat. In Super Bowl V, Mackey caught a deflected pass from Johnny Unitas and then went 75 yards for a touchdown. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1992.
Mackey would later be the president of the NFL’s Player Association, and spearheaded changes that would occur after the NFL/AFL merger.
Mackey was a multi-sport star at Syracuse. Besides staring in football, Mackey was also a track and field star. He also spent one winter helping the Orangemen Basketball team. The football stars were always looking for activities in the off season that would help keep them in shape for football, and the 1960-1961 Syracuse basketball team was in need of help. A LOT of help.
That team would finish the season 4-19, but struggled to find scoring and rebounding, outside of senior star Pete Chudy. Ernie Davis, who was a star basketball player in high school joined the squad to help out down the stretch. Mackey decided to join Davis and fellow football star Don King in the endeavor.
Davis would quickly adapt, and showed promise with 10.2 points and 9.2 rebounds a game (including 18 rebounds versus Canisius). King provided some scoring off the bench with 5.9 ppg. And John Mackey provided some scoring and rebounding in his limited playing time (only 6 games) with 4.7 points and 4.7 rebounds.
From all accounts, John Mackey was a classy individual and well respected. He was a Syracuse Letterwinner of Disctinction in 1986. My condolences to his family and friends.
Monday, July 04, 2011
Players transfer for many reasons: academics, homesick, family issues, lack of playing time, conflicts with the coach, disciplinary reasons. I will not speculate on why a player left, though Riley states it is because of his ailing grandparents and homesickness, and being that his hometown is near Eastern Michigan, it makes sense. Obviously, having Rob Murphy as the new head coach there makes it more attractive to him.
I wish Riley the best of luck. He does resolve the scholarship issue Syracuse was going to have this upcoming season, but the lack of his 7’ frame off the bench will be missed. Having Fab Melo backed up by both Baye Keita and Riley would have been a luxury for the Orange, with the graduation of Rick Jackson. Syracuse could be fine with the development of just Melo and Keita, and having prized recruit Rakeem Christmas on the team this fall may completely hide the fact that Riley is gone.
Transfers follow many different paths upon leaving Syracuse. Some end up with very good collegiate careers for reputable Division I programs. This includes the likes of Rich Manning (who would get a taste of the NBA), Keith Hughes and Bobby Lazor. Others have success at smaller programs such as Tony Bland at San Diego State, Ramel Lloyd at Long Beach State, and Mike Sheehey at St. Bonaventure. Some fail to do any better at their new school, which includes the likes of Eric Williams (UMass), James Thues (Detroit-Mercy) and David Patrick. And some basically disappear upon the transfer: Billy Edelin and Mike Jones are recent examples.
I have a sense that Riley will do well at Eastern Michigan. He showed some promise his freshman year at Syracuse, and at 7’, he has the raw physical tools. Rob Murphy is an excellent assistant coach and a very good recruiter; if a decent team is built at EMU, Riley could have a solid college career. I do not see him being in the NBA, but that’s just statistical probability; it’s very tough getting there.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Syracuse earned their loss tonight to Marquette. Syracuse consistently made poor decisions all game, was sloppy with its ball handling and lacked the hustle of its opponent. It’s a shame to see the season end that way, a bad taste to have to sit in the fans and players mouths for the summer. The ‘unfinished business’ will remain that way.
I’ll give Marquette credit for its game plan. They executed their ball movement well, with sharp crisp passes. They double teamed Rick Jackson all night and stymied the Orange offense.
I feel bad for Rick Jackson. I hate to see a senior’s career end, particularly on a night where he is having a bad game. Jackson was clearly frustrated all night, and though his shooting wasn’t bad (3 for 6), he only had 6 attempts, and he had only four rebounds. The box score is showing he has 3 turnovers, but it seemed like more.
Scoop had more than his share of ‘Scoop moments’ tonight. Lord knows what he was thinking at the end of the first half when he jacked a three point attempt with 19 seconds to go, and the Orange had the opportunity to run the clock down for one shot. Instead SU missed, and Marquette scored. He is being credited with only 3 turnovers too, but it surely seemed like more. You knew he was going to rush a three point attempt at the end when the Orange were down by three… and he did, even though he was guarded, there was plenty of time, and the Orange had no rebounding position.
The foul calls seemed lopsided but I don’t recall seeing bad calls or missed calls. I think it was a case of the more aggressive team drawing more fouls. Marquette consistently beat the Orange down the court; they did it at least twice after the Orange made a basket. Shameful for Syracuse!
The future for the Orange should be bright. Dion Waiters is going to be one heck of an offensive player in the future; if he can learn to play solid defense he’ll be outstanding all around. James Southerland showed flashes tonight. He has a summer to grow and mature some more. C.J. Fair was hampered by fouls tonight, and was pretty much a non-factor, but we have all seen his ability to stuff the stat sheet all year long.
The team frustrated me all season long with their sloppy play at times, and tonight is really a fitting ending to the season.
The Big East did deserve 11 teams in the NCAA Tournament this year, despite the fact that many of Syracuse’s Big East brethren are working hard at tarnishing that with all the upsets. As I pointed out the other day, eleven Big East teams were going to make the tournament and it was not even going to be close (and it wasn’t based on the seeding). If you look at the Big East team’s records, ignoring which conference they were in, and compared them to all the other ‘at large’ teams out there, there was no question about it.
Fans upset about the mid-majors being denied should look at the lower teams from the Big 10, Pac 10 and ACC. Their resumes were far less impressive, and for the most part, their results have equally been sub-par.
The mid-majors are suffering from a scenario where they had no strength of resume to make the tournament. This has evolved over the past four to five years from how the NCAA Committee looks at team’s schedules. I had stated in 2007 that mid-majors would find it more difficult in the future to get at-large bids in the NCAA, and it is true.
A team like Syracuse has no reason to schedule a mid-major. The national experts, such as Dick Vitale, will only criticize Syracuse for playing a mid-major, screaming that they should be playing major conference teams. If they beat a mid-major team, they get no respect from the analysts. On the other hand, they have a chance of losing those games, and that loss will kill them later in the year from a voter perception.
Plus scheduling the mid-majors hurts your RPI. 25% of the RPI scoring is your opponent’s opponent SOS… so every time you schedule a mid-major (and for that matter any lesser conference team), you drag down your RPI, because you get the total results of that entire conference. Playing Georgia Tech, Michigan and North Carolina State this year in the non-conference schedule helped Syracuse, regardless how well those teams did, because you tie in all the teams in those conferences into your RPI.
So now we are in the position where none of the major teams will play mid-majors on a regular basis, thus giving the mid-major conferences little opportunity to get wins for their resumes. As I had pointed out the other day, none of the mid-major conferences looked particularly good in 2011. That doesn’t mean they were not good; they just had no body of evidence to suggest it because of limited exposure against the ‘better’ conferences.
A side note on the NCAA scheduling Connecticut and Cincinnati, and Syracuse and Marquette to all meet in the 2nd round of the tournament: shame on the NCAA. It’s clear they wanted the Big East schools to knock each other out of the tournament. The NCAA implied it was the mathematics of the situation that caused the situation to occur. Well, mathematically, there are sixteen ‘pods’ in the NCAA first two rounds, and only 11 Big East teams. All 16 Big East teams could make the tournament, and not be required to meet each other until the Sweet Sixteen.
Look, it’s fine if the NCAA wants to have Big East teams knock each other out of the tournament. Just admit it. As representative of schools of higher learning, you just look like fools stating a falsehood as your reasoning, and you insult the intelligence of your fans. As a Syracuse fan, I do feel cheated having to play a Big East team in the NCAA. I would like to see the Orange play a school they have not played, so we can see how the Orange really measure up. Playing Marquette, this early in the tournament, really offers us nothing new.
Besides, with the historical tradition of the ‘Madness’ in March Madness, you know that Big East schools were not all going to survive anyhow.