Friday, November 06, 2015

Syracuse All-Star Teams by the State

Syracuse Orange basketball has drawn players from 29states;  14 of those states they have drawn 5 or more players, thus enough to form a basketball team. If you were to form a tournament playing those teams, which would be the best?

New York, by far, has the most players to draw from, with 344 players.  The backcourt would be led by the dynamic Pearl Washington, and Greg Kohls would be his long range shooter by his side.  John Wallace would carry the front line of the team, with Roosevelt Bouie the big man in the middle, and 
Rudy Hackett on the other side. Adrian Autry could back up the Pearl at the point, or play the two guard, as could Dennis DuVal.  The versatile Dale Shackleford would be a key reserve, and Danny Schayes would back up Bouie.  Billy Gabor, Jonny Flynn… a lot of guard talent.   More sharpshooters like Andy Rautins and Marty Headd.  And of course, the greatest Syracuse player from the first half of the 20th century, Vic Hanson, would also be on the team.

The All New Jersey team (44 players) would be a decent squad.  The backcourt would have Tyler Ennis and Dion Waiters, the forwards would be Rafael Addison and Keith Hughes, and Rick Dean would man the center position.  There would be some depth in the backcourt with 50’s stars Jack Kiley and Ed Goldberg, along with forward Terrence Roberts. Newcomer Malachi Richardson may bring some excitement to the line. 

The Pennsylvania team (43 players) would be led by Billy Owens at forward.  Scoop Jardine and Gerry McNamara in the backcourt; Hakeem Warrick would lock down the other forward position and Rakeem Christmas would man the center position.  Rick Jackson would be a versatile backup forward and center on the squad, and Tom Green the backup guard.   If you could stop Scoop from having his Scoop moments, this would be quite a team. The front court of Owens-Warrick-Christmas would be a fantastic combination, and to have Rick Jackson as a reserve is just fantastic.

The Massachusetts team (23 players) star would be Michael Carter-Williams.  Kaleb Joseph would join him in the backcourt.  Paul Harris would play one forward and James Southerland the other.  Center would be tough to fill with probably Tom Stundis and Peter Wynne having to rotate the position. The Massachusetts team would have a tough time scoring with Southerland the only true shooter on the team, and no real size in the front court.

The Connecticut team (17 players) would focus its offense around Dion Waiters (also on the New Jersey team).  Larry Kelley would join him in the backcourt.  Chris McCullough would be the star big man, which is somewhat daunting considering his limited time at Syracuse due to his injury and then going early to the NBA.  Stan Richtmeyer, star in the 1920s, may be the big man with the best career of the bunch, though at 6’1”, he would play guard today, not forward.  Eric Williams and Mark Meaders would have to help fill out the front line, both reserves in their Orangemen careers.  Connecticut is definitely going to have some problems.

The Maryland team (14 players) despite having a small pool to pull from, would be very tough competition.  It would of course start with Carmelo Anthony.  You would have C.J. Fair or Jerami
Grant at the other forward, and Arinze Onuaku at center.  You’d also have Donte Greene to come off the bench for some pure shooting.  The backcourt would have Billy Edelin at the point, with sharp shooting Michael Brown as the shooting guard. And two very capable backup point guards in Michael Lloyd and Ernie Austin; in fact, I might start one of them over Brown.

We could catch a wave and go with the California team (13 players).  There’s some strong defensive backcourt players with Jason Hart and Mike Hopkins; you could use Earl Duncan or Tony Bland if you wanted a little more offense.  The front court would have twin towers in Rich Manning and LeRon Ellis, and the explosive Stephen Thompson would highlight the offense at the small forward position. This would be a strong defensive team with Hart, Hopkins and Thompson all known for strong defensive capabilities and two tall centers.

Team Virginia (11 players) actually has a lot of crossover with other states. They can also claim Carmelo Anthony for one forward position, and Arinze Onuaku at the center.  Billy Edelin would be a guard and silent G Michael Gbinije at the shooting guard position.  Baye Keita would be the third front court player, probably the only weak (relatively) spot on the court.

The Ohio team (10 players) does not have much to draw from. Louis Orr would be the star at forward, and Fred Saunders would hold down the other forward.  J.B. Reafsnyder would be the center. LaSean Howard and Reaves Baysinger are probably the two best guards, and that would be stretch for this team to be competitive in today’s game.

The Michigan team (10 players) would have a backcourt of two Eric’s:  Eric Devendorf and Erich Santifer.  Derrick Coleman would be the star of the team, and obviously could play the power forward or center position.  Todd Burgan and Wesley Johnson would be the other two forwards.  James Thues could be the backup point guard.  The toughest challenge for this team is the lack of a true point guard in the starting five (tough Devo could do it).  It has perimeter shooter with Devo and Johnson, and guys who can drive to the hoop in Devo, Santifer Johnson and Burgan. Coleman could just dominate inside and from 15’ in.

New Hampshire (10 players), because of New Hampton Prep (4 players) becomes competitive.  The top player would be Lawrence Moten, and you could have Chris McCullough and C.J. Fair join him on the front line.  Kaleb Joseph and Ron Patterson would be the backcourt.  If Tylor Lydon ends up playing well, he would be a valuable addition to the squad.

The District of Columbia (8 players) would have perhaps the strongest backcourt among all the states, including New York:  Dave Bing and Sherman Douglas.  Lawrence Moten would be one small forward and Kris Joseph the other.  The weak spot would be center, and football star/basketball reserve Melvin Tuten would have to take that role (all 6’6” 300 lbs of him).  This team would definitely be able to move the ball and run the court, and would be fun to watch play on offense.  Defensively they would have some significant problems, but when you have three of the leading scorers in SU history on the same team (Bing, Douglas and Moten), things are going to happen on offense.

Florida (8 players) could field a team but it would have three true starters and then struggle to complete the lineup.  Preston Shumpert would be the offensive star at guard/forward, and Chris McCullough and Fab Melo would handle the front court.  Reserve guards Brandon Reese, Ray Balukas, Albert Nassar and Andrew Kouwe would have to fight it out for the two guard positions.

Indiana would be the last state that SU could field a team from (6 players).  Kueth Duany would be the best player and would likely play the small forward position.  Ron Patterson would be the point guard, and Chuck Wichman could join him in the backcourt. There would be no center, and Frank Hamblen and Don Degner would have to handle the other frontcourt positions.

If I were to rank the teams that you could build from these 14 states I would go: New York
  1. New York
  2. Pennsylvania
  3.  Michigan
  4.  Maryland
  5. New Jersey
  6. Virginia
  7. District of Columbia
  8. California
  9. New Hampshire
  10. Massachusetts
  11. Connecticut
  12. Ohio
  13. Florida
  14.  Indiana

In a round robin tournament with all 14 teams, I think New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Maryland would all have legitimate chances to win it all.  I’d put my money on New York… just far too much talent to draw from, but the other three would be very strong.

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