Thursday, October 03, 2013

OrangeHoops Hall of Fame 2013

In 2007, OrangeHoops inducted its charter class into the OrangeHoops Hall of Fame: Dave BingDerrick ColemanSherman DouglasVic Hanson, and Pearl Washington. The next four years saw the addition of Billy Owens (2008), Billy Gabor (2009), Lawrence Moten (2010), Louis Orr (2011), Roosevelt Bouie (2011) and John Wallace (2012).  So the list now stands at 11. Another year has passed, and now it is time for the 2013 inductee.

I established my rules for the OrangeHoops Hall of Fame back in 2007 and you can catch up on them here. 2013 does have six new eligible candidates (using the fifteen year rule): Marius Janulis, Todd Burgan, LaSean Howard, Sam Spann, Erik Frazier and Jason Mallin

Burgan is by far the best of that bunch.  He was a classic Syracuse mid size forward, able to play the shooting guard, small forward and power forward positions.  He is currently the 17th leading scorer in Syracuse history; he was a decent scorer, rebounder, ball handler, perimeter shooter and defender. Not great at anything but good across the board.  Janulis was one of the best spot up three point shooters in Syracuse history, making about 40% of his attempts.  He was a pure shooter, but not a strong ball handler or defender.  

LaSean Howard was a reserve swingman for two seasons at Syracuse. Unhappy with his playing time, he transferred to Hampton University after his sophomore year, where he would be an average player.  Spann was a reserve forward for one season at Syracuse playing in only 8 games, and would transfer to Fairfield University after his freshman year.  Frazier and Mallin were both walk-ons.  Though Burgan was a talented player, I don't think he is at the top of the list for Hall of Fame consideration. 

I think this year’s viable top candidates come down to the following ten, listed chronologically: Lew CastleJoe SchwarzerLew AndreasVinnie Cohen, Leo RautinsStephen ThompsonRony 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.

Rautins was a terrific ball-handling forward with a nice shooting touch, solid rebounding and scoring skills. He is most well known for his game winning tip in basket to win the Big East Championship in triple overtime against Villanova in 1981.  Rautins also recorded two triple-doubles in Big East action.

Thompson was an explosive swingman, with incredible quickness and vertical leap, and excellent defensive skills. He was extremely adept at playing above the basket though he was only about 6'2". He teamed with Sherman Douglas to perfect the alley-oop basket.  Thompson was an extremely proficient scorer, despite the fact he was a terrible perimeter shooter.  

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.

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 Rony Seikaly for the 2013 selection.  Seikaly came to Syracuse as a raw talent with very little basketball skills other than a tomahawk dunk.  Despite that, Jim Boeheim took advantage of his athletic ability and size and immediately inserted him into the starting lineup his freshman year.  Seikaly would develop into a solid defensive threat his sophomore season, but it was not until midway through his junior season that he started to become a solid all around center.

It was likely Seikaly's improved play, more than anything else, that helped propel Syracuse's run through the NCAA tournament in 1987, allowing Syracuse to advance to the National Championship game.  Seikaly would take on Florida's fame Duane Schintzius in the NCAA tournament.  Seikaly would shut down Schintzius, while scoring 33 points himself.

Seikaly would lead the team in scoring his senior year, no small feat on a team loaded with talent in Sherman Douglas, Derrick Coleman and Stephen Thompson.  He would earn 2nd Team Big East honors his junior and senior seasons, and at the time his career ended, he was the 4th leading scorer in Syracuse history and the 2nd leading rebounder.  He would be the 9th pick of the 1988 NBA draft, and would have a solid NBA career.   He would finish his Syracuse career as arguably the greatest center Syracuse ever had.

Congratulations to Rony Seikaly.

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