Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

I would like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for having the privilege for being a Syracuse basketball fan, and for all the high and low moments every year.  There is joy in watching the team grow and develop each year.

I am thankful to have had the privilege to see Syracuse win a National Championship in 2003, and to see Hakim Warrick fly out of no where for one of the greatest game winning blocks ever.  I am thankful to have been able to watch the team win a dramatic 6 overtime game against UConn in the 2009 Big East Tournament, with players on both teams playing their hearts out.

I am thankful to have been able to attend the Syracuse / Boston College game with my dad on January 21, 1984, and watch a dynamic freshman Pearl Washington sink a half court shot to beat Boston College.

I am thankful for having been able to go to the Syracuse / Georgetown game in 1990 with my good friend Vady, and watch the Orangemen storm back from a big half time deficit to beat the Hoyas in overtime 89-87.  That may have been the loudest game I have ever attended at the dome.

I am thankful to have watched the 1996 Championship game with John Wallace carrying the Orangemen in the post season.  The Orangemen lost the game, but I was able to view it with my 3 month old son sitting on my lap.

I am thankful for having a wonderful family and having the time to share with them.  I am thankful that I have a home to live in, and always have food on the table. That I have friends to share the good times with, and those to support me in the bad times.  I am thankful the bad times are so far and few. I am thankful to have the lord in my life to provide me with inspiration each and every day.

Thanks thanks to all the Syracuse fans out there.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Searching for that Big Time Scorer (30 points)

Amidst Syracuse’s scoring woes in this young season, I find myself longing for a big time scorer on the team.  The type of player who could carry the team for a night, with a 30+ point effort.  It may seem that Syracuse does not have that type of player right now, but that would only be if you have a short memory.  Trevor Cooney bombed Notre Dame for 33 points last February 2014 as he hit 9 of 12 three point shots.   Of course, we all know that Cooney can shoot; it is just that he can be very streaky and inconsistent and he is currently in the middle of a long slump.

Overall, 58 different Orangemen have scored 30+ points in agame; this has been accomplished 179 different times.

The first time was in 1904 when George Kirchgasser scored 30 against Jenners Prep.  Kirchgasser scored all 30 from the floor; he took no free throw shots in the game.  Because it was an earlier era, it isn’t recognized today as an official accomplishment.

The first official 30+ point game by an Orangemen occurred in 1943 when Bob Shaddock scored 30 over rival Colgate.

The Syracuse record for points in a game is 47 by Bill Smith.  Smith shot 17 of 23 from the floor, and made 13 free throws in a high scoring game against LaFayette.

Dave Bing scored 30 or more points in 20 different games, or roughly 26% of the varsity games he played at Syracuse.  That’s just in case you ever really wondered about the greatness of Bing.

Sharpshooting Greg Kohls is next on the list with 14 games with 30+ points.  The amazing thing about Kohls was that he barely played his sophomore season (freshman couldn’t play in his era).  He played 54 varsity games his junior and senior season as like Bing, scored 30+ in 26% of the games. Kohls was a terrific perimeter shooter; who knows how many 30+ point games he would have had if there had been a three point shot in that era.

Billy Owens is third with 10 games with 30+ points.  Owens was the first player under Jim Boeheim to average 20+ points a game. 7 of those 10 games occurred his junior season, after Derrick Coleman and Stephen Thompson had graduated.

30 point games have occurred everywhere.  94 times they have occurred at home (53% of the time).  59 occurred at the opponent’s home court.  8 occurred in a mid-season tournament, 2 in the post season NIT, 1 in the ECAC, 7 in the Big East tournament and 8 in the NCAA Tournament.

It may be surprising to see what players never accomplished the feat.  Derrick Coleman, Syracuse’s second all-time leading scorer never scored 30 points in a game.  Part of that reason was that Coleman was always surrounded by other great scorers in Sherman Douglas, Rony Seikaly, Stephen Thompson and Billy Owens.  But Douglas, Seikaly and Owens all did it.

Stephen Thompson, Syracuse’s 7th all-time leading scorer never hit 30.  I’m sure besides playing with other great scorers, that the inability to make free throws and a three point shot kept Thompson from that mark.  Thompson was a great scorer though; I’m not sure if there was ever a better scorer in the Boeheim era.

C.J. Fair, who finished as Syracuse’s 15th all-time leading scorer, never did it. Nor did Brandon Triche at #17 (though his uncle Howard did it), or #18 Todd Burgan, or #22 Jason Hart.
There have likewise been some surprising players who have had the unexpected big nights.

NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown had the talent on the basketball court, as well as the gridiron and the lacrosse field. He was second on the team in scoring his sophomore season with 15 ppg, and he would score 33 against Sampson Air Force Base that winter. 

In January 1952, Bucky Roche scored 35 at Cornell.  The senior guard was second in the team in scoring with 14 ppg; but he had scored only 121 points in his career before his senior year.

In December 1962, sophomore guard Phil Schoff would score 30 points against Cornell in a big loss.  Schoff would finish the season as the teams third scorer at 10.4 ppg.  Schoff would lose his starting position his junior year with the arrival of Dave Bing, Sam Penceal and Chuck Richards, though he would remain a valuable reserve.

In December 1986, senior forward Howard Triche would score 31 points in win over Northeastern. Triche was the fifth leading scorer on the team that year, and that was the only time in his career he would lead the Orangemen in scoring for a game.

The most surprising was probably Gene Waldon.  Waldron put up 40 points against Iona in the 1983 Carrier Classic. Waldron did this in the non-three point era.  He was the fifth leading scorer on the team that year, averaging 9.2 ppg and Waldon had never been a big scorer before.

If not for Waldron, the most surprising may have been senior Allen Griffin.  Griffin would score 31 in a double overtime win against St. John’s .  He as the fourth leading scorer on the team at 10.8 ppg, and had averaged only 3 ppg his junior year.  His method of scoring 31 points was highly unusual too. Griffin only made 5 of 9 baskets that night.  However, 3 of those 5 made field goals were 3 point baskets.  And he was sent to the free throw line 22 times where he made 18 of the them.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

2014-2015 Season of Questions

The 2014-2015 Syracuse basketball season should be an interesting one.  It has been quite a long time since the Orange entered a season with so much unknown about the team.  The expected departure of C.J. Fair and Baye Moussa Keita, along with the early departure of Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant have left the Orange with a lot to be replaced.

DaJuan Coleman continues to remain hurt, and the most experienced returning sophomore Tyler Roberson only played in 20 of the teams 34 games.  The only 'known' quantities are returning starters Trevor Cooney and Rakeem Christmas, and reserve swingman Michael Gbinije. 

Cooney and Christmas are both inconsistent players, with flashes of outstanding play, and periods of disappointing play.  Normally on any given season, you can find some dependable returning upperclassmen, or at least one star to rally the team around, but that is not the case this year.

The Orange are going to need Cooney and Christmas to both be more consistently good in their play, and Christmas will need to be a bigger part of the offense.  The freshman Chris McCullough and Kaleb Joseph are going to have to contribute quickly, and the sophomore trio of Roberson, B.J. Johnson, and Ron Patterson are going to have to be ready to play. Those last five mentioned players all have a lot of potential; it will be curious to see who has matured and developed since last year.

The last time the Orange had a season with this much doubt would likely have to be 1983-1984.  This was Pearl Washington's freshman year; in restrospect it seems funny to question that year, but there was concern if the Pearl's playground style would translate to the NCAA, and how good would he really be.  Plus, regardless of his talent, he was a true freshman, and the early 80s was not an era where most freshman excelled.

Syracuse was coming of a good (but not great) 21-10 season, with 9-7 in the Big East.  The trio of Erich Santifer, Leo Rautins and Tony Bruin had all graduated. Those three had been starters since their sophomore season.  Gene Waldron and Andre Hawkins were returning players, but neither was a star. Waldon was a competent point guard, but most of the offense had previously gone through Rautins as a 'point forward'.  Hawkins was limited on offense, undersized as a center, and prone to foul problems.  Raf Addison was the key reserve returning, and he had shown some promise in his bench role; however Addison wasn't a highly recruited player, so there were not big expectations for him

Things worked out well for the Orangemen that year.  The Pearl was as good as advertised, if not better. Addison turned into a star player, and led the team in scoring with a solid game of mid range jumpers and interior play.  Senior Sean Kerins showed that he had learned something after four years on the bench behind Rautins and Bruin, showing a combination of perimeter shooting and rebounding.

Hawkins learned to be comfortable at the post, and became a reliable 10 point scored, and sophomore Wendell Alexis developed into a very important sixth man backing up the forward and center positions.  The Orangemen would go 23-9, 12-4 in the Big East, and actually improved from the previous year.  

You could argue the 2002-2003 season had as many question marks.  The team had lost leading scorers Preston Shumpert and DeShaun Williams, and it was a team that had collapsed and had missed out on the NCAA tournament, having to settle for the NIT.  However, the team did have three returning starters in Kueth Duany, Hakim Warrick and Craig Forth.   Duany was a senior, and Warrick had played very well down the stretch, including in the NIT tournament.  

Plus the Orangemen the highly touted Carmelo Anthony joining the team, along with highly rated Billy Edelin, and a scrappy sharp shooting guard Gerry McNamara.  The team definitely turned out to be much better than anyone could have expected; winning Syracuse's first National Title one season after being in the NIT was definitely a tremendous feat.  Anthony turned out to be as good as he was touted, and Gerry McNamara was much better than anyone could have anticipated.  Warrick had improved tremendously, as had classmate Josh Pace, and Duany was a solid senior.  The Orangemen unexpectedly did not have the services of Edelin for most of the regular season, but the team excelled.

So anything could happen in the 2014-2015 season. Jim Boeheim does have a good track record of exceeding expectations when the team is low rated; they are starting this year at #23 in the country.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veterans Day 2014

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
Loyal Greenman
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
John Beaulieu
John Beck
Leo Canale
Dick Casey
Larry Crandall
Wilbur Crisp
Dan DiPace
Les Dye
Alton Elliott
John Emerich
Bill Estoff
Bob Felasco
Paul Ferris
Billy Gabor
Ed Glacken
Joe Glacken
Marc Guley
Mark Haller
Lew Hayman
Bill Hennemuth
Bill Hoeppel
Tom Huggins
George Jarvis
Ed Jontos
Walter Kiebach
Jim Konstanty
Stan Kruse (Kruszewski)
Glenn Loucks
Guy Luciano
Saul Mariaschin
Bob Masterson
Paul McKee
Don McNaughton
Tom McTiernan
Francis Miller
Joe Minsavage
Andy Mogish
Roy Peters
Hank Piro
Paul Podbielski
Edward Pond
Phil Rakov
Joe Rigan
John Schroeder
Bill Schubert
Bob Shaddock
Wilmeth Sidat-Singh
Red Stanton
Mike Stark
Chester Stearns
Bobby Stewart
Joe Sylvestri
Charles Taggart
Ray Tice
Joe Weber
Bill Wyrick

In Korea the following served:
Reaves Baysinger, Jr
John Beaulieu
Paul McKee
Paul Podbielski
Fred Serley

In Vietnam, the following served:
Reaves Baysinger, Jr
John Beaulieu
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
Chuck Steveskey

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.