Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Orange Offense 2017-18

The Orange basketball team has some unusual statistical oddities occurring this season. This is being driven by the reliance on three guys to do virtually all of the scoring: Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett, and Frank Howard.

Hopefully Matthew Moyer continues to exploit the defensive coverage being given to him and he  keeps improving his value as a fourth scorer. A tip of the hat to Howard who recognizes that Moyer is getting weak coverage and giving him the ball in those situations.

The Orange have a three headed offensive attack right now with three guys averaged 15.4 ppg or more.  The 1993-94 team was the last team with three guys with 15+ ppg:  Lawrence Mote 21.5, Adrian Autry 16.7, and John Wallace 15.0.  The 2012-13 team, which made the Final Four had a leading scorer C.J. Fair with just 14.5 ppg, lower than all three scorers this year.  The 2011-12 team's leading scorer had 13.4 ppg (Kris Joseph), and 2010-11 had 14.3 ppg (again Joseph).

The downside is that the fourth leading scorer on this year's squad barely averaged 5.3 ppg (Pascal Chukwu).  I have to go back to 2004-05 to find a team where the fourth leading scorer was even remotely close to that low, and that was Terrence Roberts with 7.2 ppg.  Fourth leading scorer on the 2001-02 team was Hakim Warrick with 6.1 ppg.  Fourth leading scored on the 1989-90 team was Dave Johnson with 6.5 ppg.  You would have to go all the way back to 1948-1949 to find a Syracuse team where the fourth leading scorer averaged 5.4 ppg or less.

I'd expect Moyer and Marek Dolezaj's numbers to improve as the year moves on, and for them to end up in the 6-7 ppg range; I'd also expect our top three scorers numbers to start to dip as the others on the team start to score more.

But it is interesting from an historical perspective how unusual our point spread is right now.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

The Best Orangeman Basketball Player In My Lifetime

Who was the best basketball player ever to play for the Syracuse Orange?  I am not referring to their entire career, but rather their peak year, how good of a player did they become while an Orangeman?  I am not talking about potentially how good they could have been, but rather what they did show to us.

I am going to restrict this to players I saw play. Dave Bing who played his last game for the Orangemen a couple of months before I was born is therefore excluded.

I do not mean which player had the greatest season ever for the Orangemen. That would clearly be Carmelo Anthony.  Anthony was the best player on the only Syracuse team to win the NCAA National Championship. 

I think John Wallace was clearly the most valuable player ever for the Orangemen. Wallace carried the Orangemen to the brink of the 1996 National Championship with no teammate named to any All Big East teams that year.

I think Lawrence Moten has the highest basketball IQ of any Orangemen I ever saw play. He was so smooth staying within the flow of the game, and would effortlessly and often quietly score 20 points.

I think Pearl Washington was the most significant player in Orangemen history. He brought recognition to Syracuse University at a National level, helping the Orange be a national power.

I can also state that my five all-time favorite Orangemen, chronologically, are Rafael Addison, Stephen Thompson, Lawrence Moten, Gerry McNamara, and Andy Rautins.

Who do I think were the five best players for the Orangemen?

Fifth:  John Wallace.  Wallace as a senior carried the Orangemen to the National Championship game, averaging 22.2 points per game (ppg), and 8.7 rebounds per game (rpg).  He shot 42% from three point range, the best on the team, even outshooting, percentage wise, the team’s three point specialist Marius Janulis (41.6% to John’s 42.1%).    He would lead the team in scoring by 9.5 ppg, and would score 30+ points five times, and led the team in scoring 30 of the 38 games played.  Wallace played strong defense, leading the team with 63 blocks, and also had 44 steals. He played exceptionally well in the NCAA tournament, leading the team in scoring all six games, including a great 30 point effort against Georgia, and a 29 point effort in the championship game. The Orangemen were only down by four points in the Championship game to a much more talented Kentucky team, when Wallace fouled out with about 2 minutes to go.

Rony Seikaly
Fourth:  Rony Seikaly.  Seikaly came to Syracuse as a raw recruit with a flabby body and poor basketball skills.  He developed into an outstanding collegiate center, with a nice turnaround jump shot, and great defensive skills. Seikaly really came into his own during the NCAA tournament his junior year.  Seikaly would have a dominating game against Florida’s highly touted Duane Schintzius, scoring 33.  Seikaly kept that playing level going as the Orangemen upset North Carolina and eventually got to the NCAA finals, before losing to Indiana.  Seikaly performed at that level most of his senior year averaging 16.3 ppg, 9.6 rpg, along with 85 blocked shots.  He shot 57% from the floor, and was great at running the court both on offense and defense.  The team was loaded with scoring talent with Sherman Douglas, Matt Roe, Stephen Thompson and Derrick Coleman in the lineup, and yet Seikaly led the team in scoring primarily with his low post moves.  The Orangemen would win the Big East Championship but lose in the NCAA tournament to Rhode Island when Douglas was off his game due to illness. Seikaly scored 27 points and had 10 rebounds in that loss.

Carmelo Anthony
Third: Carmelo Anthony.  I know I’m going to take flak from several Orange fans for this selection, as they think he was number one.  Anthony was without a doubt one of the most gifted basketball players in SU history.   As a freshman, and his only season with Syracuse, he displayed a wide array of offensive skills. He was adept at scoring from the post, driving the lane, and pulling up from perimeter, making 34% of his three point shots. He displayed an A-Type personality and was eager to be the man with the ball, and did well in that position.  He would lead the team in scoring 24 of the 35 games they played, scoring 30+ points three times. The biggest performance of his career came in the Final Four where Anthony made 12 of 19 shots for 33 points, with extremely stellar play, to dominate Texas and lead the Orangemen to the championship game.  Anthony would score 20 points, with 10 rebounds and 7 assists in the Championship game, leading all scorers, as the Orangemen won their first National Championship.

Billy Owens
Second: Billy Owens.  Owens was simply dominating his junior year at Syracuse.  Derrick Coleman and Stephen Thompson had graduated, and Owens stepped up to fill the void scoring 23.2 ppg, with 11.6 rpg and 3.5 assists per game (apg).  He shot 39% from three point range, and 51% from the floor overall.  He was offensively a dominating player inside and outside.  Defensively he led the team with 78 steals, and led the team in scoring 21 of the 32 games played. In his career he had 8 games with 30+ points, and ten games with 15+ rebounds.    He led the team to a Big East regular season title, and a 26-4 record with a #6 ranking.  There were hopes that he could carry SU to a national title like Danny Manning had done with Kansas in 1988.   Inexplicably the team crashed in the post season, losing its first round of the Big East tournament to Villanova, despite 17 points and 22 rebounds from Owens.  They would then get upset by Richmond in the first round of the NCAA despite 22 points from Owens.

Derrick Coleman
First:  Derrick Coleman.  Derrick Coleman was a tremendously gifted 6’10” forward who could dominate players inside and also score from the perimeter, in an era where big men did not do that.  Coleman was the greatest rebounder in SU and NCAA history, with a NCAA record 1,537 rebounds. He averaged 12.1 rpg his senior year, despite having to share rebounds with Billy Owens, Stephen Thompson and LeRon Ellis.  He scored 17.9 ppg, essentially splitting the scoring duties with prolific scorers Owens (18.2 ppg) and Thompson (17.8 ppg).  He shot 37% from three point range and 55% from the floor.  Coleman had 51 steals and led the team with 67 blocks.  The Orangemen would win the Big East regular season title despite having no real point guard play. They would reach a #4 ranking in the country, before losing in the Big East Finals to UConn, and then losing to Minnesota in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.  Coleman would be recognized for his stellar season by being the Big East Player of the Year, making the AP All American First team, and being drafted #1 overall in the NBA draft.

I know many want to argue Anthony over Coleman.  They are of course, different style players.  Anthony was definitely a better player as a freshman than Coleman was, though Coleman was the Big East Rookie of the Year, and he did pull down 19 rebounds in the National Championship game.  But we are not comparing a freshman Anthony to a freshman Coleman. We are comparing a freshman Anthony to a senior Coleman.

Consider that Coleman had four collegiate seasons to master his game, Anthony just one.    He was a 22 year old 6’10”, 225 lb senior when he completed his senior year.    Melo was a 6’8”, 195 lb forward, 18 years old when he completed his freshman year.

Coleman was recognized as the top player in the country and his conference.  Anthony didn’t win the Big East Player of the Year (Troy Bell did), and was not an AP First Team All-American. I know some politics come into that, but Anthony did not make enough impression to overcome those politics. 

Coleman played in an era where all talented players stayed 3-4 years in college.  Guys like Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin, Michael Jordan, Ralph Sampson, Billy Owens, Danny Manning, etc. all perfected their games in college. And Coleman had to play against players like that routinely. And he was able to succeed against them. Today, all those guys, including Coleman, would have been in the NBA after their freshman/sophomore years.

Anthony had his talented opposition to play against too. But those talented upper classmen that would have given him a battle were gone, already earning their millions in the NBA.  There are guys who develop and by their fourth year are outstanding college players, guys like our own Michael Gbinije and Rakeem Christmas.  But Coleman’s era had those guys too… plus the superstars in college. 
Freshman on average are better today than they were 20 years ago. But they aren’t better than 21-22 year NBA superstars staying in college because that was the norm. 

Anthony was a tremendous offensive threat, and fantastic at handling the ball, driving to the hoop.  Coleman could handle the ball, but that wasn’t his forte. But Coleman was much more dominating near the hoop than Anthony.  He was bigger, stronger, and had a freakish arm length.

Coleman was the better defensive player. He played center his junior year and had 127 blocks, a school record until Etan Thomas broke it 9 years later.  Anthony did his part in the zone defense, but he has never been known for his defensive prowess.

Anthony’s 2003 squad reached a peak ranking of #11, and started the year unranked. Coleman’s team got as high as #4.

Coleman’s biggest issue was that at times he was indifferent on the court, specifically against lesser opponents and earlier in this career. Anthony’s type A-personality never let him give up.  Coleman often played with a snarl, whereas Anthony always with a smile.  Coleman could be nasty on the court, whereas Anthony was more a quiet assassin and let his skills do the talking.  D.C. gave coach Jim Boeheim a lot of headaches; I doubt Melo ever game coach one.

Some will argue that Melo’s team won the championship and Coleman’s did not.  But do a flashback to both championship games the guys played in. Coleman missed a front end of a one-and-one in the final minute, and Keith Smart made a jump shot over Howard Triche resulting in the loss for Syracuse.  Anthony missed a front end of a one-and-one in the final minute, and Michael Lee’s jump shot is blocked by Hakim Warrick giving the win to Syracuse.  If Triche block’s Smart’s shot, and Lee makes his shot, the results are swapped. Do you still consider Melo better than D.C. in that scenario?  And your change in position is based on four players other than Melo and D.C. doing something?

I think if Melo stays in college for three years, definitely four, there is no comparison here.  Melo at 22 was a much better basketball player than D.C. was at 22.  But that Melo was not at Syracuse; he was in the NBA playing for Denver. And having watched both players play, Melo at 18 was not better than D.C. at 22.

It was tough to think through these selections.  Without out a doubt Derrick Coleman, Billy Owens, Carmelo Anthony, Rony Seikaly and John Wallace were great college players.  And no slight was intended to Pearl Washington, Sherman Douglas, Lawrence Moten, Wesley Johnson or Hakim Warrick.

Your thoughts?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Early Evaluation for 2017-2018

The Orange have played six games, and are sitting at 6-0.  It is still early in the season, but we do have a bod of work we can evaluate.
So what do I think of the Orange so far?
I think we will be a competitive team this year, which is all I really can ask for. We may get to our 20+ wins, and to the NCAA tournament, which would be a welcome return.
This team is unlikely to ever be proficient at making 3’s. There aren’t any pure shooters on the squad. But it is a team with a lot of athleticism, a lot of hustle, and a strong ability to drive to the hoop.
You can win a lot of games playing solid defense, crashing the boards and diving for loose balls. Jamie Dixon made a career at Pitt by coaching teams to do just that. Dixon never had an offense you would care for.
The exciting thing is that a few of our weaknesses and concerns from the summer currently are not being displayed. Our point guard play from Frank Howard has been solid through seven games; so much so, that Howard Washington has barely played, and Geno Thorpe hasn’t even backed up the point position.
We thought we had a black hole at center, and instead we have not one, but two centers playing the position well.  
We thought we wouldn’t have a solid #2 scorer, but Howard is providing that element right now. Oshae Brissett is showing that he will be #3. People thought that we would need Thorpe to be #2, and he has been a non factor.
We thought Marek Dolezaj would be a project for future years, and possibly even redshirt. Instead the kid is a key/vital element on the team.
We thought we would be playing a lot of three guard offense; that has barely been displayed.
Bottom line… there’s a lot we didn’t know about this team. It’s young, its inexperienced. We are looking at a small sample size. Yet, they keep checking the boxes off as the proceed game to game.
Go Orange!

Friday, November 17, 2017

1000 Wins At One School

Most Syracuse fans are like me, and they probably bristle anytime talks about the career win total for Jim Boeheim. I know I only recognize what Boeheim has actually occurred, which is 1,006 wins, as opposed to unjustly punitive and excessive NCAA 'official count' after wins were vacated. All in all, I can roll with it... because I know what the true number is.
Yet, the celebrations that the national media wanted to make when Mike Krzyzewski became the first men's coach to win 1,000 games for one school really rubbed more wrong.
I'm a big fan of Coach K, and I have a ton or respect for him. He's a heck of a coach, and deserves all the accolades he gets. But I'm pretty sure that the main reason that Coach K dismissed this acknowledgement is that in deference to his friend Boeheim, Coach K knows he isn't the first to reach this milestone.
My mood on this might have been tempered if any of the articles had footnoted Boeheim, but he was totally left out of the picture. I get that the NCAA has its protocols, its rules and its record books. What I don't get is why ESPN, CBSSports, USAToday, ignore the 'truth' and bend over to the NCAA.... there is no law/rule indicating they have to goose step with the NCAA. These sites/publications are reporting the news... report it. Don't whitewash it.
So, I'll go on record and congratulate Coach K on being the second Division I men's basketball coach to win 1,000 games at one school. Well done young man.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day 2017

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.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Boeheim's Quick Thoughts on 2017-2018

Jim Boeheim shared his thoughts with ESPN earlier today.  A quick summary is that he likes his backcourt; it has a lot of experience, size, and depth.  The front court is much bigger than last year's front court, but it is a very inexperienced group.

And no big surprise, he wants to coach forever.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Orange Hoops Hall of Fame 2017

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 ten 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), Etan Thomas (2015) and Joe Schwarzer (2016).  So the list now stands at 15. Another year has passed, and now it is time for the 2017 inductee.

I established my rules for the OrangeHoops Hall of Fame back in 2007 and you can catch up on them here. 2017 does have seven new eligible candidates (using the fifteen year rule): DeShaun Williams, Preston Shumpert, James Thues, Billy Celuck, Ethan Cole, Mark Konecny and Greg Davis.

DeShaun Williams was a controversial guard for the Orangemen.  He was definitely talented, with court quickness and the ability to get to the hoop.  He was a starter his sophomore and junior seasons, and was named to the Big East Third team his junior year.  He was also noted for being a selfish player, and had personal problems with his teammates, on and off the court.  He was academically ineligible after his junior season, and would transfer to Iona. Williams would score 1,136 points at Syracuse.

Preston Shumpert was one of the best three point shooters in Syracuse history, with terrific range.  He was a streaky shooter and carried the Orangemen to many victories, seven times in his career scoring 30+ points in a game.  He would be named to the Big East First Team both his junior and senior seasons, averaging 20.7 points per game his senior year.  He was not a strong defensive player, and there were questions about his temperament, particularly related to issues with DeShaun Williams.  Shumpert is currently the 8th all time leading scorer at SU.

James Thues was a short stocky point guard with excellent ball handling and passing skills.  He was also quite adept at stealing the ball from the opponents. A true point guard, Thues was not much of a shooter and rarely scored. He would share time starting at the point his sophomore season with DeShaun Williams.  Thues would leave Syracuse after his sophomore year, transferring to Detroit-Mercy.

Billy Celuck was a 7’ center who saw limited playing time his first two seasons at Syracuse, totaling 132 minutes.  He would split time at center his junior year with Jeremy McNeil, averaging 4.3 points per game.  His senior year he would see diminished playing time as McNeil improved and freshman Craig Forth arrived.

Ethan Cole transferred to Syracuse from the University of New Hampshire, and played two seasons.  Cole would have limited playing time his junior season at Syracuse. He was expected to play more in senior year, and started a couple of games. However, he lost his starting position to Hakim Warrick, and then an injury ended his season, and career, after 8 games that year.

Greg Davis was a forward for one season.  He saw limited playing time his freshman year with only 27 minutes, and redshirted his sophomore season. He did not like his prospects for playing time after his sophomore year, and transferred to North Carolina A&T.

Mark Konecny was a reserve forward for one season.  He would play only two games for the Orangemen before leaving for personal reasons.
Of this year’s candidates, Preston Shumpert would make my top 10 list of candidates.

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

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.

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.

Ten very good candidates, and a couple of those players are among my all-time personal favorites.  My 2017 inductee is Lew Andreas.

Andreas was SU’s winningnest basketball coach before Jim Boeheim arrived.  He coached 26 seasons at Syracuse, and had several outstanding seasons. His 1926 squad, led by Hall of Famer Vic Hanson, went 19-1 and was recognized by the Helms Foundation as the National Champions. In the 1930s, his Reindeer Five squad ran opposing teams off the
court, and he helped transition the team (and game) to a faster pace game. Andreas led SU to its first post season action in 1946 going to the NIT, and again in 1950. 

Andreas was a proponent of playing multiple players, and shuffling his starting lineups game to game.  Against Fordham in 1939, Andreas played 21 different players in the game.

He was the Syracuse Director of Physical Education and Athletics from 1937 to 1964.  During that time, he saw the basketball program develop into an NCAA power, the football program reach elite status with a national championship in 1959, and the lacrosse program became one of the pre-eminent programs in America.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Perspective on the State of Orange Basketball

Last losing seasons for teams:
Kansas 13-16 in 1982-83, 13-14 in 1981-1982.
Kentucky 14-14 in 1989-90, 13-19 in 1988-1989
Duke 13-18 in 1994-1995, followed by 18-13 in 1995-96
Georgetown 14-18 last year, 15-18 in 2015-16
UConn 16-17 last year
Villanova 13-19 in 2011-12
UCLA 15-17 in 2015-16
Pitt 16-17 last year
North Carolina 8-20 in 2001-02
Louisville 12-19 in 2000-01
Indiana 6-25 in 2008-09, 10-21 in 2009-10, 12-20 in 2010-11
Jim Boeheim
Jim Boeheim: 0 losing season in 41 years, despite always playing in one of the top two toughest conferences in the country. Never worse than 7-9 in conference play (only two losing conference records).
SU hasn’t had a losing season since 1968-1969 when Roy Danforth took over the program from Fred Lewis.
Some fans keep screaming the "the sky is falling, the sky is falling" because the Orange went 19-15 last season, and only 23-14 (and a Final Four) in 2015-2016. They have been two tough seasons for the Orange faithful, though as illustrated earlier, those trying seasons are much better than other teams have experienced in the past years.
The NCAA levied the harshest scholarship reduction penalties in NCAA basketball history on Syracuse, with the intent being to punish the team and hurt its performance on the court.  Despite those penalties, the Orange have still continued to win. 

If the Orange are still struggling in 2-3 seasons, after the penalties have been lifted, then we can fairly discuss whether the program is on the decline.  It simply is not possible at this point in time to make any judgement.  If fact, the evidence would suggest the program is doing quite well in spite of all that has occurred.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Syracuse Basketball All-Transfer Team

There haven't been a lot of transfers in the Jim Boeheim era at Syracuse, though there have been a few more impactful ones than you might remember. Notable transfers in the Boeheim era include Ryan Blackwell, Jason Cipolla, LeRon Ellis, John Gillon, Michael Gbinije, Wesley Johnson, Michael Lloyd, Kris Onganaet, Le Rautins, and Andrew White III. It will be interesting to see how Paschal Chukwu does.
Wesley Johnson
If we look outside the Boeheim era, we would note players such as Wilbur Crisp, Eddie Dollard, Charley Dolley, Gerry McFadden, Chuck Richards and Fred Saunders. Richards was probably the most impactful of that group, teaming with Dave Bing to form a formidable one-two punch. Saunders ended up in the NBA, and Crisp and Dolley were big stars in early years of Syracuse basketball.
If we restrict ourselves to the Boeheim era, who would your starting transfer five be? Leo Rautins and Wesley Johnson are my easiest picks for the starting lineup. Andrew White III was the best shooter to transfer to SU, and he lit up the scoreboard last season. Center would have to be LeRon Ellis. Not a lot of competition there; Ellis did under perform at SU, but he was big time talent and good enough to get some time in the NBA. Toughest decision for me is what to do at the point guard position?
Go with the more traditional point guard in Michael Lloyd, who had one solid season at SU. Or go with Michael Gbinije, who was not a true point guard, but was adequate at the position. Ultimately, I think I would go with G. He was a better defender and a more versatile player than Lloyd. I think Lloyd was a little too much shoot-first mentality. Plus with Leo Rautins on the team, I have a point forward, which reduces the pressure on the point guard.
My starting five would be:
PG Michael Gbinije
SG Andrew White III
SF Wesley Johnson
PF Leo Rautins
C LeRon Ellis
What would your squad be?