Monday, December 26, 2016

Howard and P5 Games

I have been simply baffled by the Jekyll and Hyde performance of Syracuse point guard Franklin Howard this season.  His performance against P5 schools is dramatically worse than his performance against non-P5 schools.  

I understand that it is a tougher level of competition.  However, his performance against non-P5 schools is simply outstanding.

In the seven wins the Orange have against non-P5 schools, Howard has averaged 24.5 minutes of play. In that time he has game averages of:

8.9 points per game
9.1 assists per game
2.1 turnovers per game
3.2 rebounds per game
2.3 steals per game
4.3 assists/turnover ratio
9-17 three point shots (52.9%)

In the five games against P5 schools, all losses, Howard has averaged 22 minutes of play.  His averages are:

5.6 points per game
2.8 assists per game
2.8 turnovers per game
1.4 rebounds per game
1.8 steals per game
1.0 assists/turnover ratio
2-13 Three point shots (15.4%)

It's not like there is a one game aberration distorting the statistics.  He has played poorly in all five P5 games, and well to outstanding the remaining games.

Frank Howard - Orange Point guard
Frank Howard
Clearly he has the physical tools to excel.  Four games with 11+ assists is not a fluke.  

In part his stats would be dragged down with his teammates also underperforming.  Of course, we get into issues of cause and effect there. Are Howard's stats down because his teammates are underperforming, or are Howard's teammates stats down because Howard is underperforming.  Obviously... it's both, but to what extent?

The 'cupcakes' are easier games.  I understand that.  But keep in mind that this year's team has scored 90+ points against four of those cupcake teams.  The 2015-2016 team never scored 90 points.  Nor did the 2014-2015 team.  The 2013-2014 and 2012-2013 teams each did it only three times  The last Orange team to score 90+ points in 4 games was 2011-2012, and that was a very special team.

So this year's team has the potential to be very special on offense, but they aren't delivering routinely.

I am hoping Howard can improve and grow into strong play against P5 teams. The ACC schedule starts after the next game, and that will be all he sees for the remainder of the year.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Happy Veterans Day 2016

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
Charles Fasce
Russ Finsterwald
Loyal Greenman
Ken Harris
Ted Huntley
Bernie Kates
Ken Lavin
Nathan Malefski
Danny Martin
Harry 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 Baldwin (Balsavich)
John Balinsky
John Beaulieu
John Beck
Gene Berger
Milton 'Whitey' Bock
Leo Canale
Dick Casey
Larry Crandall
Wilbur Crisp
Dan DiPace
Les Dye
Bud Elford
Alton Elliott
John Emerich
Bill Estoff
Bob Felasco
Paul Ferris
Billy Gabor
Ed Glacken
Joe Glacken
Marc Guley
Mark Haller
LaVerne Hastings
Lew Hayman
Bill Hennemuth
Bill Hoeppel
Tom Huggins
George Jarvis
Ed Jontos
Walter Kiebach
Jim Konstanty
Christian Kouray
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
Ray Willmott
Bill Wyrick

In Korea the following served:

Reaves Baysinger, Jr
John Beaulieu
Bernie Eischen
Paul McKee
Paul Podbielski
Fred Serley

In Vietnam, the following served:

Reaves Baysinger, Jr
John Beaulieu
George Crofoot
Rick Dean
Sanford Salz

The following were veterans who served but were fortunate to miss a war era:

Vinnie Albanese
Art Barr
Mel Besdin
Rudy Cosentino
Roy Danforth
Ronnie Kilpatrick
George Koesters
Tom Jockle
Jack Malone
Frank Reddout
Eddie Rosen
Chuck Steveskey

Five of the aforementioned players deserve special note, as they sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.

Harry Martin was killed in 1923 when his plane crashed during takeoff at Kelley Field, Texas.  He was a Lieutenant and an Army Aviator.  Martin had served in the AEF in France in World War I.

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.

Joe Minsavage was killed in World War II on June 19, 1943 when his ship was attacked and he was lost at sea.

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.

Gene Berger was killed in 1961 during flight maneuvers. He was a Commander in the U.S. Navy and a Naval aviator, and his plane would crash into the Pacific.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Get Psyched for 2016-2017

To put all Orange fans into the proper frame of mind, please flash back to Mr. Warrick in 2003.
GIF of Hakim Warrick Block in 2003
Mr. Lee, say hello to Mr. Warrick

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Relevance of Preseason Rankings

Syracuse basketball fans tend to feel it is better to be 'off the radar' and unranked when a season starts, rather than highly ranked.  The consensus seems to be that Boeheim's underrated teams over perform, while his highlly rated teams under perform.  How relevant is that feeling?

In Boeheim’s career, the Orangemen have started the season ranked 26 times, not including this year.
18 times in his career the team underachieved per the rankings; seven times by 10 or more ranking positions. This gets a little distorted because if you start in the top 5 it is tough to move up; the Orange have started in the top 5 four times (and in once case overacheived, 2011-2012 where they started at 5 and ended at 3).
17 times in his career the team has overachieved per the rankings. Again, seven times by 10 or more ranking positions
9 times a team started the season unranked, and finished the year ranked in the top 25. In 2009-2010 they started unranked and finished at #3. In his first season, 1976-1977, they started unranked and finished at #6.
8 times a team started the season ranked, and finished the year unranked in the top 25. The worst drop was in 1977-1978 where they started at #11 and finished unranked.

Really, it seems as if the number of over performing teams is equal to the under performing.

Boeheim’s Final Four teams:
1986-1987 started at #15
1995-1996 started unranked
2002-2003 started unranked
2012-2013 started at #9
2015-2016 started unranked

The Final Four trend is the most interesting to me. Three of those five teams started the year unranked. Only the 2012-2013 team had a reasonable expectation to make it.

The Orange start 2016-2017 as the #19 team in the country.  Not highly ranked, nor totally off the radar.  

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Seven Big Questions for 2016-2017

Orange fans hopes are very high for the upcoming men’s basketball season.  There indeed is a lot of potential on this squad, and the team may go ten players deep, something that has not happened often in coach Jim Boeheim’s career.

It is with almost certainty that the Orange will be a better team this year than the squad from last year.  But fans must keep in mind that last year’s team, before the NCAA tournament, may have been one of the worst squads that Boeheim has ever had.  The team was 19-13 in the regular season, and was 5-6 versus AP Top 25 teams.  That record was deservedly good enough to get into the NCAA tournament, particularly with the strength of some of the Orange’s wins.  But by Syracuse and Jim Boeheim standards, it was a mediocre season.  That is, until the NCAA tournament, where the team jelled, and made an improbably run to the Final Four.

It is also unlikely that no matter how good this year’s team is, that they will not get to the Final Four.  Several of Syracuse’s top teams have never made the Final Four.  Teams need to be playing very well as a unit, and get the right match ups, plus have players step up when they need to. 
This year’s team will be very hard to predict.  There are a lot of questions about what the squad really is comprised of. It does have a ton of potential. 

Question 1:  How good will Tylor Lydon be this year?  Last year he was the #4 option on the offense, 
and he was a terrible mismatch for opposing teams. This year he will likely be the #1 option. He is still a mismatch, but defenses will focus more on him.  Lydon has a terrific motor with a lot of hustle, and plays defense well. He should be better this year than last.

Question 2:  How good are the centers?  DaJuan Coleman is a fifth year senior, beset by injuries throughout this career. He started to play his best basketball in the NCAA tournament at the end of last year.  While there is no expectation for him to be a star, can he put up good numbers in 20-25 minutes of play?  Similarly, what do the Orange have in Paschal Chukwu?  He is a 7’2” player with a great wingspan and the ability to run the court.  He came as a raw talent and spent a year as a redshirt.  Can he be the shot blocking force that fans envision?  Does he have the ability to play defense other than blocking shots, and does he bring anything to the offensive end of the court?

Question 3:  Who will play the point, and how solid will that play be?  John Gillon and Frank Howard are the two point guards for this season.  Gillon is reportedly very quick with an average perimeter shot, a great ability to push the ball, and to press on defense. He is small, so he is not the prototypical guard for the top of the zone, though his speed may compensate for that.  Howard has the length to play the top of the zone, and has played in Boeheim’s zone for a year.  He showed last year that he is a terrific passer, with a good ability to get to the hoop, but very limited shooting range. Has his shooting improved?

Question 4:  How will the two fifth year seniors fit in?  The previously mentioned Gillon and Andrew White join Syracuse as graduate transfers.  White is reportedly a terrific shooter, though NBA scouts did indicate he needed to stay in school another year to develop more.  The two players have a ton of collegiate experience, and that brings a lot of value.  But both have no experience in Boeheim’s system, and how well will they play zone defense?  Do the personalities of both players allow them to be ‘team players’, or are they going to be self-focused? 

Question 5:  How good are the freshman? It seems that Tyus Battle is a terrific athlete and will see a lot of time at the shooting guard position. Taureen Thompson will see some time up front, and Matthew Moyer will try to find some time at the small forward position.  Do these players adjust well to being secondary players, if necessary? Particularly of concern would be Battle who may already have an eye on going to the NBA.  Can the freshman deliver?  For every Carmelo Anthony and Gerry McNamara, you have a Tyler Roberson and Kaleb Joseph.

Question 6:  Speaking of Roberson, which Roberson will we see this year?  Roberson did not make the big jump from his sophomore to junior season that you often see with players. He still had a limited shooting range, and most infuriating was that his effort and production was inconsistent.  There were nights of ‘plugged in’ Roberson where he pulled down 20 rebounds against Duke. And then there were nights that he barely registered in the stat column, frustrating Boeheim to the point that he publicly criticized his lack of effort.

Question 7:  How does this team gel?  Do the sum of the parts exceed the components, or do the individual efforts exceed what the team does?  Great teams do the former; poorer teams do the latter. 

We have a Hall of Fame coach who loves his job, and is as focused as ever.  Boeheim is publicly praising this team, and polls have the team in the top 20 preseason.  I’d love for the parts to come together, for the Orange to have a great season, one where the offense flowed well, and the defense continued to shut-it-down. 

We will start to find out November 11th.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

OrangeHoops 2016 Hall of Fame

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 eight years saw the addition of Billy Owens (2008), Billy Gabor (2009), Lawrence Moten (2010), Louis Orr (2011), Roosevelt Bouie (2011)  John Wallace (2012),  Rony Seikaly (2013), Vinnie Cohen (2014) and Etan Thomas (2015).  So the list now stands at 14. Another year has passed, and now it is time for the 2016 inductee.

I established my rules for the OrangeHoops Hall of Fame back in 2007 and you can catch up on them here. 2016 does have six new eligible candidates (using the fifteen year rule): Allen Griffin, Damone Brown, Rob McClanaghan, Tim Byrnes, Chris Schau, Mike Rosenblum

Allen Griffin was a four year player for the Orangemen with an unusual career.  His freshman year he was a reserve guard playing in all but one game.  His sophomore year he was the starting shooting guard, rotating playing time with Tony Bland and Preston Shumpert.  He would lose his starting position his junior season. While he still played over 10 minutes a game, he was behind Tony Bland, Preston Shumpert, Jason Hart and DeShaun Williams on the depth chart.  When Hart graduated, Griffin would move back into the starting lineup as the point guard, and would play more minutes than any other player that year.  He would have a triple double against Pittsburgh with 14 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.  The next game he would score 31 points in leading the Orangemen to an overtime win against St. John’s; Griffin would make 18 of 22 free throw in that game.

Damone Brown was a skinny forward, who developed a good mid range jump shot, and became a decent rebounder. After playing only 53 minutes his freshman year, he was a starter his final three years at Syracuse, and was named Second Team All Big East his senior year.  Brown would have a brief four year career in the NBA.

Rob McClanaghan, Tim Byrnes, Chris Schau and Mike Rosenblum were all walk-on players for Syracuse.  McClanaghan was a three year player scoring 20 points,  Byrnes a one year graduate player who failed to score, Schau a three year walk-on who failed to score, and Rosenblum a two year walk-on who failed to score.

None of the candidates from 2000-2001 would make my top 10 candidates.

I think this year’s viable top 10 candidates come down to the following, listed chronologically: Lew Castle, Joe Schwarzer, Lew Andreas, Jon Cincebox, Jimmy Lee, Rudy Hackett, Leo Rautins, Rafael Addison, Stephen Thompson, and Jason Hart.

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).

Cincebox was on the best rebounders in Syracuse history (in an era when rebounding numbers were admittedly high).  He helped Syracuse to the NCAA Elite Eight in 1956-1957, as the dominant big man for the Orangemen.

Lee was a clutch shooter with terrific perimeter range, and outstanding free throw shooting ability. He was able to use his shooting ability to set himself up as a solid passer. Lee's 18 foot jumper with five seconds remaining led the Orangemen to beat heavily favored North Carolina, as the Orangemen eventually moved on to their first NCAA Final Four. Lee would end up making the All-Tournament team for his outstanding performances.

Hackett was a powerful forward who could run the court well. He was a great rebounder and terrific scorer near the hoop.  He led the Orangemen in scoring his senior year and helped lead Syracuse to its first Final Four in 1975.

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.

Addison was a gangly small forward who earned a reputation for being one of the most underrated players in the country.  He possessed an excellent mid range jump shot, was decent passing the ball, and was a solid free throw shooter. He led the team in scoring his sophomore and junior seasons.  He moved to shooting guard his senior year, and his 6’7” height helped with the mismatches. Unfortunately a leg injury impacted his effectiveness the second half of the season.

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. 

Hart was a speedy defensive point guard, and a four year starter.  He was a decent ball handler, and finished his career as the number two assist man all time at Syracuse. He was much better on the defensive end, and would finish as SU's all-time leader in steals.  Hart would have a 9 year career in the NBA, mostly as a backup guard.

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.

This may be the toughest pick for me in all the years so far.  Ten very good candidates, and a couple of those players are among my all-time personal favorites.  My 2016 inductee is Joe Schwarzer

Joe Schwarzer Syracuse Orangemen Basketball
Joe Schwarzer
Joe Schwarzer was the star of the Orangemen from 1916 to 1918.  He was a two time All American and an excellent ball handler. In that era, the center position did much of the ball handling on offense, as the ball moved through that position before being passed to other players.  He was also the best free throw shooter on the team, earning the distinction of being the designated free throw shooter his senior year.  He led the team to a 16-1 record his senior year, and the team was recognized as the best team in the country by the Helms Foundation.  He is considered Syracuse's best all-around basketball player prior to Vic Hanson’s arrival.

Schwarzer was an excellent all-around athlete. He lettered four times in football as an End (wide receiver), and earned All-American status his senior year. He also lettered in baseball. Schwarzer was the captain of the basketball, baseball and football teams.  He would earn a law degree from Syracuse.

Schwarzer passed away in 1989.

Congratulations to Joe Schwarzer, the OrangeHoops 2016 Hall of Fame inductee.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Syracuse Scholarship Counts and Redshirts

Matthew Moyer is currently struggling with a foot injury, and per reports, he will find out in a few weeks the status of that injury.  It is possible a redshirt could come up for him; hopefully, things work out the best for him.

Redshirting a player has become rather common place for Syracuse basketball.  The past six seasons have all had a player redshirt, and going back to 2006-2007, ever season but one has had a redshirt. That covers a full decade.  The last time no players redshirted was in 2009-2010.  In 2007-2008 there were two redshirts with Andy Rautins and Devin Brennan-McBride taking the year off; the same was true in 2008-2009 when Scoop Jardine and Wesley Johnson both redshirted.   Ironically from 2003 to 2006 there were no redshirts on the basketball team.  

You could make a pretty decent squad from the guys who redshirted the past decade.

Here’s a list of the number of scholarship players each season since 2002-2003 and the players who redshirted that year.  This includes guys who voluntarily redshirted a season and players who medically redshirted the full season.

2015-2016 10 including Pascal Chukwu redshirt
2014-2015 10 including DaJuan Coleman redshirt
2013-2014 12 including Chino Obokoh redshirt
2012-2013 10 including Michael Gbinije redshirt
2011-2012 12 including Trevor Cooney redshirt
2010-2011 11 including DaShonte Riley redshirt
2009-2010 10 no redshirts
2008-2009 11 including Scoop Jardine & Wesley Johnson redshirt
2007-2008 12 including Andy Rautins & Devin Brennan-McBride redshirt
2006-2007 12 including Arinze Onuaku redshirt
2005-2006 10 no redshirts
2004-2005 11 no redshirts
2003-2004 11 no redshirt
2002-2003 9 no redshirts

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Melo Wins Third Gold

Carmelo Anthony won his third Gold medal at the Rio Olympics, representing the United States well.  He has participated in four Olympics, winning a Bronze medal in 2004, and a Gold medal in 2008, 2012 and 2016.  Following the game, Anthony was interviewed by NBC, with the following response:

"For this one reason right now… it was a special moment for me. Long time.
I know this is the end. This is the end for me. I committed to something [long pause].  I committed to this in ’04. I’ve seen the worst, and I’ve seen the best, and I stuck with it, we stuck with it, and I’m here today three gold medals later.  I’m excited for me but also for the other guys who never experienced anything like this.  
Despite everything that is going on right now in our country, we gotta be united and I’m glad I did what I did. I stepped up to the challenge. But this is what it is about, and representing my own country on the biggest stage you can be on…  America will be great again I believe that… we’ve got a lot of work to do but it’s one step at a time, man, and I’m glad we represented in the fashion that we did."

Congratulations to the entire Olympic team, and especially to Carmelo Anthony and coach Jim Boeheim, both who have earned their third Gold medals for Olympic basketball.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

Five Syracuse University basketball players have died while in military service for the United States. On this Memorial Day, please take a moment to recognize them, along with all the other veterans who have passed away.

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.

Joe Minsavage was killed in World War II on June 19, 1943 when his ship was attacked and he was lost at sea.

Gene Berger was killed in 1961 during flight maneuvers. He was a Commander in the U.S. Navy and a Naval aviator, and his plane would crash into the Pacific.

Harry Martin was killed in 1923 when his plane crashed during takeoff at Kelley Field, Texas.  He was a Lieutenant and an Army Aviator.  Martin had served in the AEF in France in World War I.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Jim Boeheim: Quick Comments on YESNetwork

I stumbled across a couple of old interviews with Jim Boeheim on the YESNetwork (November 14, 2013).  These two videos are interesting to me, as they give some insight into Boeheim's perspective.

I think we all knew Boeheim really liked and respected Gerry McNamara, but I don't think I really knew how much.  The first video clip, particularly his last comments, really points it out.  Boeheim states that GMac is the toughest player he ever coached, the biggest overachiever, and the guy he would want in a foxhole with him.

I think most Syracuse fans have heard the Jim Boeheim story about hiring Rick Pitino.  I don't think I ever realized before that Boeheim didn't know Pitino at the time.

I always had a very high opinion of Chris Mullin as a player. Apparently, Boeheim does too.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Thank You Pearl

Pearl Washington
The Pearl

I don't think anyone can ever underestimate the importance of Dwayne 'Pearl' Washington to Syracuse basketball, and the outpouring of affection and remembrances from the community is testament to that.

The Pearl played basketball with a different style than those before him.  The younger fans today may be jaded by the performance of the numerous NBA players who patterned part of their game style after the Pearl, making some of the things he did more commonplace today.  But he was an original.

The Pearl was not the most athletic player on the court. He was not exceptionally fast, and he could not jump or leap very well.  He wasn't even a great perimeter shooter.  But he could do four things, routinely on the court:

  1. Simply score.  He was able to drive to the hoop against anyone, and when he got to the basket he simply made the layup, or had a floater over a defender.  I'm not sure if he could even dunk the ball... not that it mattered.  And it did not matter who defended him; the Pearl made defenders look foolish. His triple fake against Georgetown's Gene Smith in the Big East tourney is well known.
  2. Great passer.  The Pearl was the school's all time assist man when he left, despite playing only three years.  He had great court vision, was very good with wrap around passed and no look touch passes. 
  3. Great teammate.  The Pearl could score, but he focused on making his teammates better.  The guys around him were better players because of him.  As fans we took for granted how much he surpressed his scoring ability. It became apparent how great a scorer he truly was when Raf Addison was hampered down the stretch of Pearl's last season, and the Pearl went on a tremendous scoring spree over the last 12 games or so, stepping up and doing the scoring now that the team's leading scorer (Raf) was unavailable.
  4. Amazing Everyone.  Pearl was electric on the court.  Fans wanted to see him play, and they flocked to see him.  I'm sure opposing players had to be in awe at times; Jim Boeheim in his press conference earlier today admitted he caught himself at times watching the Pearl play, instead of focusing on coaching. He was mesmerizing.
Boeheim mentioned in his press conference earlier today how humble the Pearl was.  He was electrifying on the court, and you would have assumed that persona carried off the court.  But, for all accounts, that was just his basketball style. Off the court, Pearl was a good friend, teammate and humble.

My favorite memory of the Pearl?  I didn't have a lot of opportunities to go to Syracuse games when I was younger.  We used to go to one or two games a year.  My senior year in high school, my father and I went to see the Orangemen play Boston College on January 24, 1984.  It was a great game, with a lot of back and forth action.  It looked like the Orangemen were going to lose the game when BC's Martin Clark was fouled with a few seconds left on the clock and the Eagles down by one.  Clark made the first free throw to tie the game. He missed the second free throw; the ball ended up in the hands of the Pearl, who raced down the court, and just before mid court he launched a half court shot. Of course, as all Orange fans know, the ball swished through the hoop and the Orangemen won.   In true Pearl style, after Washington released the shot he kept running down the court and when the ball went through, and the crowd erupted, the Pearl kept running straight into the Syracuse locker room.  As if he knew he had made the shot the whole time.

Pearl, God bless you and your family.  

Thursday, March 31, 2016

OrangeHoops Reaches 1/2 Million

My thanks to all the Syracuse basketball fans who have visited over the years.  On March 30, 2016, the site had its 500,000th visitor.  

OrangeHoops was launched in March 2005 as an effort to share information that I had been gathering for years.  I was frustrated by the lack of information I could find on my beloved Orangemen, and though the internet has millions of records of information, it had surprisingly little on Syracuse basketball.  Especially for the details I was always curious about.

I hope you have enjoyed the site, and continue to visit it. It is a non-revenue venture, and one I hope to keep continuing. I am eager to see how long it takes for the second 1/2 million visitors to arrive. is by no means a prolific site, with an average of  about 45,000 visitors a year, but I do hope they are all meaningful visits.  [Note that I didn't start tracking visitors until November 2005, so a few months of data is missing]

Again, my thanks to all the visitors.

Let's Go Orange!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Boeheim's Hall of Fame Speech

In honor of Syracuse's Hall of Fame Coach Jim Boeheim, I wanted to share the video of his induction speech.  It is full of the sarcasm and wit that Syracuse fans have come to expect from the legendary coach.

Hard to believe that since his induction, Boeheim has reached two more Final Fours, bringing his current total to five.  

Let's go Orange!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Where's The Slipper?

The Orange have made the Elite 8 as a #10 seed.  Yet, they have failed to reach Cinderella team status in the national media nor in social media. They in fact are vilified and treated as a pariah.  The Orange have knocked off Dayton, Middle Tennessee State and Gonzaga on their path to the Elite 8.  It's by no means a murderers row, but it is also a group of teams good enough to knock #6 Seton Hall, #3 Utah and #2 Michigan State out of the tournament.

I understand that some people think that Syracuse should not be in the tournament.  They look at the overall record of the Orange, look at the cheap and flawed RPI rating, and make their assumptions from there.  If they looked at what the Orange's record was comprised of, and looked at all the non-RPI metrics (such as, they would easily see the Orange deserved to be in, especially compared to the bubble teams.  Ironically, Syracuse, by the NCAA committee's own admission, wasn't even a bubble team... there were 6 other at-large teams seeded lower than the Orange in the tournament.  You would be very hard pressed to find 7 teams who didn't make the NCAA who were more deserving that Syracuse.  

Syracuse has all the makings of a Cinderella team.  Consider:

Two fifth year graduate students starting in their backcourt with Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney.  Both could have left under Graduate student transfer rules, and played for schools that were not hampered by NCAA penalties, yet both chose to stay.  And both are fine students.

Michael Gbinije... perhaps the most underrated player in the country.  And quite the gentleman.  When asked whether all the poor talk about Syracuse was bothering him, his succinct response was 'Thank you for the motivation'.  And then after a long pause 'that's all I have to say on that'. 

DaJuan Coleman's recovery from two devastating knee injuries and an 18 month absence from the game.

Three freshman in Tylor Lydon, Malachi Richardson and Frank Howard with unique styles and refreshing energy.

Starting the tournament as a #10 seed.  No #10 seed has ever made the Final Four.  Three #11's have done it, but no #10.  

A team hampered by scholarship reductions to have only a 9 player squad.

The 30 day suspension of Coach Jim Boeheim which was a devastating blow to the team both directly on the court with the team going 4-5 in his absence, and off the court regarding retarding the team's development and progression through the season.

If the slipper fits, then one is Cinderella.  Where's our Ball?

The Cooney File

Last 11 games from the floor:

That is 33 for 100, 33%; 14-46 from 3 pt range, or 30%. Only two games where he shot better than 40% from the floor. At least 6 missed shots in every game.
Such a selfish player… he should be ashamed of himself. The stats don’t lie.
Ooops, my mistake. Those are Malachi Richardson's stats for the past 11 games not Trevor Cooney’s. Yeah but…. the eye test shows that Malachi is good enough to possibly declare for the NBAthis year, so stats aren’t everything.
Hey, you can’t use stats to crucify Cooney and discount the eye test for those who believe Cooney plays outstanding defense in the zone scheme, and then ignore those same stats and rely upon the eye test to praise Malachi.
Cooney is an okay three point shooter; he is shooting 35% for the season which is okay… by no means great. But its on par with a Donte Greene, Gerry McNamara, Jason Cipolla, Dion Waiters, and Tyler Ennis.
Some people on this site believe Cooney is a bad player. He’s far from being a bad player… he’s an average player who does some things very well, and some things poorly. The guy can’t buy a layup to save himself… we as fans criticized him prior to this season for never driving to the hoop; he’s been doing it a lot this year, which helps diversify his game and the teams offense… he’s just not very good at it.
He has shot 10-20 from three point range the past four games, hitting 40% or more of his 3 point shots in all four games… his own little hot streak. He’s playing solid D in the Orange zone, as he does game in and game out.
He is who he is. It’s a shame he’s never been able to hit that shot. He’s had a few opportunities this year, but none have fallen. He did have the opportunity to steal a win with his defense, something many of us praise him for. I’m sorry if that hurts your narrative.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Boeheim on Zone Defense

I simply love Jim Boeheim's statement in the Georgia Tech press conference regarding Syracuse's zone defense.  The highlight of the quote is:

 "It's not some freaking magic trick here."

The full context of the quote is:

"People overlook defense, Trevor (Cooney) and Mike (Gbinije) are so good on defense. It's all overlooked because we play zone defense. You have to play defense in a zone. It's not some freaking magic trick here. You have to work at it and you have to play it."

Link to the SU article in the Post-Standard.

Later in the same press conference, Boeheim talked about Cooney and Gbinije's effort and execution on zone defense, and leading the way for the Orange to shutdown Georgia Tech during crunch time.

"Trevor and Mike are so good at the guard spot, They did such a good job on Hunt and Smith at the end that I can't tell you. They couldn't even get a shot. It was as good a defensive effort at the end as I've ever seen."

Friday, January 29, 2016

Cooney the Irish Killer?

Before Thursday night's game there was a strong perception that senior shooting guard Trevor Cooney plays very well against Notre Dame, that he has monster games and dominates the Fighting Irish.  He definitely had a strong ending to the 2015 game, and he lit up Notre Dame his sophomore year for 33 points.

He broke Notre Dame fans' hearts in 2014 when he hit two clutch baskets 80 seconds apart to propel the Orange to an upset win. But other than those two clutch shots, Cooney wasn’t outstanding in his freshman or junior games.
His freshman year he shot 2-6 from the floor, with 2-5 from three, with no rebounds or assists totaling 6 points.
Trevor Cooney
His sophomore year he shot 11-15 from the floor, with 9-12 from three, with 2 rebounds and 2 assists totaling 33 points.
His junior year he shot 5-11 from the floor, with 1-6 from three, with 3 rebounds and 2 assists totaling 11 points.
His freshman & junior games combined he shot 7-17, 3-11 form three, with 3 rebounds and 17 points, or 27.2% from three, and 8.5 ppg. Not killer stuff, and well below his career average. His monster game his sophomore year greatly distorted his three game average coming into last night’s game.
He did have a good game his senior year, but even last night wasn’t a killer night; it was a good solid night of play, with a strong first half of play.
His senior year he shot 7-17 from the floor, with 3-8 from three, with 3 rebounds and 2 assists totaling 22 points.
After last night's game, it would be safe to say that he had memorable moments in three of the four Notre Dame games.  His sophomore game stands on its own.  His junior year he was clutch down the stretch in an upset, and his senor year he lit up Notre Dame in the first half with 15 points to launch the Orange to an upset victory. 
I would have to say it is safe to call him an 'Irish Killer'.  Not because he statistically dominated against the Fighting Irish, but rather because he was able to have the big moments necessary to win games.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Balanced Scoring Against Duke

The Orange pulled the big upset over Duke last night, taking down the Blue Devils 64-62 for Syracuse's first win at Cameron Arena.

Tyler Roberson was the most impressive player on the court, scoring 14 points and pulling down 20 rebounds, in the process setting an Cameron Arena record for most rebounds by an opposing player. Roberson also pulled down 12 offensive rebounds.  He had help up front as Tyler Lydon had 9 rebounds of his own.  

The Orange had a strange shooting anomaly for the game.  The team shot 47.8% from three point range led by Trevor Cooney's 4 for 9. The shot only 37.5% from the free throw line, and they shot an abysmal 29% from inside the arc (two point range).  Michael Gbinije and Roberson were a combined 15 of 26 from two point range.  The rest of the team which was comprised of Cooney, Tyler Lydon, Malachi Richardson, DaJuan Coleman and Franklin Howard shot a horrendous 3 of 28 from the floor, or 10.7%!

The hidden gem in the game was the balanced scoring from the Orange.  Four players led the team in scoring with 14 points a piece:  Roberson, Gbinije, Cooney and Richardson. 

That rarity has actually happened twice before in Syracuse basketball history.

On December 14, 1982, Syracuse beat Ohio State 91-85.  Erich Santifer, Leo Rautins, Tony Bruin and Gene Waldron each scored 19 points while leading the Orangemen to victory.

The first time it occurred was January 6, 1912.  Syracuse beat the University of Toronto 45-28.  Sol Bloom, Walt Davey, Lew Castle, and Clarence Giles scored 8 points a piece to lead the Orange in scoring.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Orange Win Big over Wake Forest

The Syracuse Orange ran away with a relatively easy 28 point victory over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons yesterday by the score of 83-55.  Trevor Cooney led the way scoring 25 points in the game, 19 of those points in the first 10 minutes of the game as he was extremely hot shooting from the perimeter early in the game.

The Orange have struggled this season with some inconsistency, and have had tough times on both the offensive and defensive side of the court.  The Demon Deacons were simply over matched for this one game, despite the fact the Orange had significant foul problems with over 10 minutes left in the game.

The 28 point victory for the Orange was the team's largest conference margin of victory since they March 3rd, 2009, when the Orange beat Rutgers 70-40 in a Big East game.  Paul Harris led Syracuse in scoring that day with 18 points, and Jonny Flynn had 10 assists.

The Orange have also had a scoring margin of 50 points the past two games with the aforementioned 70-40 Wake Forest win and the 62-40 win over Boston College earlier in the week.  This is the best two game conference stretch for the Orange since the Orange beat Cincinnati 86-63 on 3/1/2009, and followed up that win with the aforementioned Rutgers 70-40 win. That two game stretch was a 53 point margin.  

That two game March streak was also part of an equally impressive three game streak, as the Orange beat the St. John's Red Storm 87-58 on 2/24/2009 with a 29 point margin.  For those three games, the Orange outscored their opposition by 82 points.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Boeheim & Bilas Watching Syracuse

Jim Boeheim and Jay Bilas sat down to watch Syracuse play, and ESPN taped the event to show in pieces over the next week or so.

Here is a link to the first video related to the game.  ESPN Video

My thanks to SBNation / TNIAAM for finding this gem.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Myth of Hopkins Rotation Depth

A common theme I have seen on Syracuse basketball forums this year is that Mike Hopkins is going to his bench more often than Jim Boeheim; in particular, that Boeheim never pulls Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney to play others. 

The evidence from those proponents of this idea point to the reduced minutes that Cooney and Gbinije have had under Hopkins in the weaker non-conference games.  It is true that both players see reduced playing time for those games.  Cooney played 36 minutes against Colgate, 34 against Cornell, 28 for Montana State, and 36 for Texas Southern.  Truly, Cooney's minutes were down in those games.

However, that is not a matter of Hopkins deciding to go deeper than Boeheim does; rather it is an indication of who the opponents are.  Boeheim, contrary to the opinions of some, also historically goes deeper into his benches against the easier non-conference opponents. Consider Conney's numbers from 2014-2015: Kennesaw St (33), Hampton (36), Loyola (27), Holy Cross (33), LA Tech (40), Colgate (29), Long Beach State (40) and Cornell (35).  Boeheim actually used less of Cooney than Hopkins did in those same types of games.  

Meanwhile, Gbinije had 39, 39, 33 and 40 in those same four non-conference games this year (Colgate, Cornell, Montana State and Texas Southern).  Silent G had no reduced playing time, except for the Montana State game.  

The images of how Jim Boeheim coaches are imprinted on fans memories, particularly those who dislike him or his style.  It is absolutely true that Boeheim goes to a shorter bench in the tighter games.  However, that is not a true statement for Boeheim regarding the easier non-conference games.  He routinely rotates and tests out players in those games.  Now he may not test out the players that you as a fan may want to see more of, but considering he sees those players each and every day in practice, I trust that Mr. Boeheim (and Mr. Hopkins) have a far better understanding of the players' abilities than you or I.

Data from Cooney and Gbinije is from