Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Orange Hoops Hall of Fame 2012

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 four years saw the addition of Billy Owens (2008), Billy Gabor (2009), Lawrence Moten (2010), Louis Orr (2011) and Roosevelt Bouie (2011).  So the list now stands at 10. Another year has passed, and now it is time for the 2012 inductee.

I established my rules for the OrangeHoops Hall of Fame back in 2007 and you can catch up on them here. 2012 does have five new eligible candidates (using the fifteen year rule): Otis Hill, Jason Cipolla, Donovan McNabb, Ramel Lloyd, and Evan Vogel. Hill is the best of the bunch; a solid center who developed a good inside game, and was a good defender. He was a good college player, but not a Hall of Fame player.  Cipolla was a junior college transfer who was good at shooting the three point shot and he made some clutch shots during the 1996 NCAA tournament.  McNabb was a star on the Syracuse football field, and would go onto stardom in the NFL; he was a reserve guard on the basketball team.  Lloyd and Vogel were bench players who would transfer after the 1996-1997 season.
I think this year’s viable top candidates come down to the following eight, listed chronologically: Lew Castle, Joe Schwarzer, Lew Andreas, Vinnie CohenRony Seikaly and John Wallace.

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.
Schwarzer was a two time All-American, and was captain and leading scorer of the 1917-1918 squad that went 16-1 and was retroactively named the National Champions by the Helms Foundation.
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).
Cohen was an All-American, the first Syracuse player to average 20+ points a game in a season, and led the team to the NCAA Elite Eight in 1956-1957.

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.
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.
I have got to go with John Wallace for the 2012 selection.  Wallace had four solid seasons at Syracuse, and chose to honor his scholarship though the Orangemen would be on probation his freshman year (1992-1993).  He would play and start every game during his career, leading the Orangemen in rebounding each of his four seasons.
Wallace would improve during each of his seasons on the Hill. He had an opportunity to go to the NBA after his junior season, but decided to return his senior year. That was a very fortuitous move for Syracuse, as he would lead the Orangemen to the NCAA National Championship game.  Wallace would average 22.2 points a game for the season, combined with 8.7 rebounds.  He had worked on his perimeter game over the summer, and would hit 42% (37 of 88) of his three point shots. Five times his senior year he would score over 30 points in a game, none bigger than the 30 he put up against Georgia in the NCAA tournament; Wallace hit a game winning 3 point shot in overtime to win that game.  He would score 29 points against Kentucky in the title game, before fouling out late in the game.
Wallace was the 18th pick in the 1996 NBA draft by the New York Knicks.  He would play in the NBA from 1996 to 2004.  Congrats to John Wallace.

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