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.