Friday, November 30, 2012

Southerland for 35

James Southerland led Syracuse to a Big East / SEC Challenge win over Arkansas with a great night of shooting, scoring 35 points for the Orange.  Southerland tied the school record for three point shots in a game, making 9, tying Gerry McNamara and Andy Rautins.  Southerland has always had the shooting touch, and it is nice to see the senior get a chance to show his stuff on national television.
Southerland hit nine out of thirteen three point shots for the game.  He is the first Syracuse Orangeman to score 30 points since Wesley Johnson scored 31 against Gonzaga on March 21st, 2010 in the NCAA Tournament three seasons ago.
His 35 points was the most by an Orangeman since Jonny Flynn scored 35 against Providence on January 28th, 2009, four seasons ago.  Southerland's effort was the most points by a Syracuse bench player ever, and the first time a bench player scored 30+ points in a game since George Hicker did it against West Virginia on February 19th, 1966.
I find it ironic that the last six times a Syracuse player has scored 30 or more points, they have done it on the road.  Southerland was at Arkansas, Johnson in the NCAA against Gonzaga, Flynn at Madison Square Garden against UConn, again Flynn, this time at Providence, and finally Eric Devendorf at Villanova. The last Syracuse player to score 30+ points at home was Demetris Nichols with 37 against St. Johns in February of 2007.
Almost lost in the night was the fact that Michael Carter-Williams fell one assist short of a triple double.  He had 10 rebounds, 17 points and 9 assists.  A collegiate triple double is tough, with only 40 minutes of play. It has been done only nine times in Syracuse history, by five players, the last being Allen Griffin in 2001. That list also includes Derrick Coleman, Lazarus Sims, Leo Rautins (3x) and Dave Bing (3x).  I would bet even money that Carter-Williams will accomplish the feat is his collegiate year, particularly if he stays around through his junior season. He is an assist man, the points come easy, and at 6'6" a big rebounding night is always possible. I do find it ironic that he missed his triple double by the assist, considering he leads the nation in that category.
Brandon Triche once again showed that he is a big moment player, stepping up in the crunch time in the second half, making 10 straight points to stop a late Arkansas surge. Triche has the reputation of making the shot when one is needed, and he did it again.
Congratulations to the Orange on a fine win and to James Southerland on his great night.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Well Traveled

Former Syracuse star forward Hakim Warrick was traded from the New Orleans Hornets to the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday per the Post Standard. He had been traded to New Orleans in the off season, and played only one game with them before moving on to Charlotte. This will be Warrick's 6th team in his 8th NBA season, starting in 2006. He has played for Memphis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Phoenix, New Orleans and now Charlotte.
That is not unusual for NBA players to move around, and particularly not unusual for former Orangemen.  Of the 41 Syracuse basketball players who have played in the NBA, only ten played their entire career for one team, and those were mostly very short careers: Billy Gabor, Donte Greene, Jack Kiley, Andy Rautins, Frank Reddout, Bill Smith, Bob Shaddock, Lou Spicer, Kris Joseph and Dion Waiters.  Joseph and Waiters are of course in their rookie seasons, so who knows what their future holds.  Shaddock has the distinction of the shortest NBA career for an SU alum with 2 games, though Kris Joseph currently has just one game in his very young career. 
Many of the players had short careers of two or three seasons, where they played for two or three teams, hoping to catch on, but never quite getting there.
Others such as Carmelo Anthony made a big switch in free agency, or Dave Bing who wound down his Hall of Fame career with Detroit in two short stays in Washington and Boston.
Damone Brown went four for four; four different teams in a four season career with stints in Philadelphia, Toronto, New Jersey and Washington.
Marty Byrnes showed Brown up by sneaking in five teams in four seasons: Phoenix, New Orleans, the Lakers, Dallas and Indiana.  Byrnes also has the distinction of the only former Orangeman to win an NBA Championship (in 1980 with the Lakers).
John Wallace also made five stops in seven seasons, with the Knicks, Toronto, Detroit, Phoenix and Miami. Wallace liked the Knicks so much he had two tours there.
Sherman Douglas had a good career over 12 seasons. He also covered five franchises during his NBA tour, with Miami, Boston, Milwaukee, New Jersey and the Clippers.
Billy Owens looked destined for stardom until knee injuries derailed his career. He would play for 6 teams over a 10 year career from 1992- 2001 that included Golden State, Miami, Sacramento, Seattle, Philadelphia and Detroit.
Danny Schayes seemed to play for everyone in the NBA. He had the longest career in the NBA for any Syracuse Orangeman with 18 seasons and 1,138 games. Schayes was never a great player, but he was a 7 foot player who could shoot well, make his free throws, handle the ball, and get some rebounds. That made him an ideal back up center, and teams were always in the need for guys like him. Schayes would play from 1982 to 1999 and would call the following seven franchises 'home':  Utah, Denver, Milwaukee, Lakers, Phoenix, Miami and Orlando.
So that brings us to the conclusion. Which former Orangemen played for the most franchises in his NBA career?  That would be Jason Hart who squeezed in 9 teams in a 9 year career from 2001 to 2010. Hart would play for Milwaukee, San Antonio, Charlotte, Sacramento, the Clippers, Utah, Denver, Minnesota, and finally for New Orleans.  Though he played nine seasons, he would play in only 341 games. His best season by far was 2004-2005 where he had career highs in all categories averaging 9.5 points and 5.0 assists per game.

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.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A New Carrier Classic

The 2012-2013 Syracuse Basketball season kicked off with some fanfare as the Orange took on the #20 ranked San Diego State Aztecs in the ‘Battle of the Midway’, upon the USS Midway in the Carrier Classic.  Of course, when I hear Carrier Classic, I still have images of Syracuse beating Michigan State and Magic Johnson, or GeneWaldron bombing Iona with 40 points.  But a new era, a new age, and the Orange were able to participate in this new memorable series.
Memorable will be what the game will go down as, even if it was not a well-played game.  An outdoor game with a strong breeze off the bay and strong sunlight in the eyes of the players can wreck some havoc on the games plans of both teams.  The fact that neither team could shoot a perimeter shot on the right side of the court (from the viewing audience) brought some interesting strategy into the game.  One has to wonder why Steve Fisher never instructed his players to stop taking the three point shots, as they finished a horrendous 1 of 18.  Jim Boeheim and the Orange figured it out fairly quickly, only taking four three point shots, all in the first half, and then abandoning that for the rest of the game.
There is not a lot you can take away from this game in terms of how the Orange will play for this season, as the game put limits on what teams could or could not do.  However, there were a few things I observed that made me smile for this upcoming year.
Syracuse was definitely the bigger team with the better inside game. The Orange, however, played the second half of the game shooting into the bad side of the court, where they took no perimeter shots.  Yet, they were consistently able to drive to the hoop from their half court set, despite the fact that the Aztecs knew that was the only offensive play the Orange would be able to run.  Brandon Triche did this two or three times; no one should doubt his athletic ability to get to the hoop.  I am not sure how Boeheim is going to get Trevor Cooney playing time with Michael Carter-Williams and Triche in the backcourt.  Then again, Boeheim was masterfully able to accomplish the four guard rotation last year.
DaJuan Coleman is HUGE.  He looked like a man-child on the court next to the rest of the players.  He will definitely clog up some space in the middle.  I liked the fact that Baye Keita was displaying the aggressive and active form he had most of his freshman season.  Valuable minutes from him will critical at times this upcoming year.
C.J. Fair did a lot of everything, which we all have come to take for granted. I think he pressed a little bit too much in the first half with taking too much of the offense upon himself, but it is a good sign he is asserting himself.  Rakeem Christmas was a defensive force with 5 blocked shots, and pulled down 6 rebounds (I would’ve liked more boards). 
The Orange jumped out to a 17-4 lead, and never let San Diego State back into the game.  They made the free throws when they had to make the free throws. They made the defensive stops when they had to, and they countered with strong offensive play whenever the Aztecs threatened. Those are good signs.
I look forward to the rest of this new season. Go Orange!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Veterans Day 2012

On this Veterans day, as I have done each year past, I would like to thank all those who have served our country, putting their lives on the line to do those tasks that need to be done. The Orange basketball team has had its share of veterans over the decades. And has been tradition at OrangeHoops, I would like to recognize those former basketball Orangemen who did serve. I acknowledge this is not a complete list; only those I know of (each year I add a few more). I imagine more Orangemen were in the service that I am omitting; if so, please post a recognition here! Also please feel free to recognize any other veterans in the comments.

In World War I, the following served:
Albert Ackley
Bradley Barnard
Ross Bibbens
Meyer Bloom
Jim Casey
Ed Cronauer
John Cronauer
Charles Fasce
Russ Finsterwald
Ken Harris
Ted Huntley
Bernie Kates
Ken Lavin
Nathan Malefski
Danny Martin
Walter ‘Dutch’ Notman
Walter Peters
Elias Raff
Billy Rafter
Horace Ruffin
Courtland Sanney
Clifford Steele

In World War II, the following served:
Jim Ackerson
Earl Ackley
Lou Alkoff
John Balinsky
Leo Canale
Dick Casey
Larry Crandall
Wilbur Crisp
Dan DiPace
Les Dye
Alton Elliott
John Emerich
Bob Felasco
Paul Ferris
Billy Gabor
Ed Glacken
Joe Glacken
Marc Guley
Mark Haller
Lew Hayman
Bill Hennemuth
Tom Huggins
George Jarvis
Jim Konstanty
Stan Kruse (Kruszewski)
Glenn Loucks
Guy Luciano
Saul Mariaschin
Tom McTiernan
Francis Miller
Joe Minsavage
Andy Mogish
Roy Peters
Hank Piro
Phil Rakov
John Schroeder
Bill Schubert
Bob Shaddock
Wilmeth Sidat-Singh
Red Stanton
Mike Stark
Bobby Stewart
Joe Sylvestri
Charles Taggart
Ray Tice
Joe Weber

In Korea the following served:
Reaves Baysinger, Jr

In Vietnam, the following served:
Reaves Baysinger, Jr
George Crofoot
Rick Dean

The following were veterans who served but were fortunate to miss a war era:
Art Barr
Mel Besdin
Rudy Cosentino
Roy Danforth
Ronnie Kilpatrick
George Koesters
Tom Jockle
Jack Malone
Frank Reddout

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.