Saturday, April 04, 2020

Syracuse All-Star Encounters

The Orange have played several great college players over the decades.  86 of the opposing players have gone on to be named an NBA All-Star, with Michael Jordan leading the way with 14 All-Star bids.

There are four future NBA All-Stars that the Orange faced in college 10 or more times.  That would include Boston College's Michael Adams (11x) and Dana Barros (10x), along with Georgetown's Patrick Ewing (11x) and Alonzo Mourning (10x).

The Orange had more encounters with future All-Stars in the 1980s than any other decade; in fact, it is more than the next four decades combined.

Overall there were 16 different future All Stars that Syracuse faced 101 times during that decade.  Besides the previously mentioned Ewing, Mourning, Adams and Barros, the Orange faced other players such as Chris Mullin, Brad Daugherty, Clyde Drexler, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson and Glen Rice, to name a few.  

The 1990s saw players such as Paul Pierce, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen and Dikembe Mutombo.

The 2000s had Roy Hibbert, Kyle Lowry, James Harden and Blake Griffin.

And last decade, the 2010s, had Jimmy Butler, Andre Drummond, and Draymond Green.

The 70s saw the Orange as an independent, but they still faced some notable players. The best of that group would have included Julius Irving (aka Dr. J), Bernard King, Norm Nixon and Magic Johnson.

The 60s was the least impressive, yet Orange fans did get to see Calvin Murphy three times, Rick Barry, Bill Bradley and Jo Jo White, among others.

The 50s had Tom Gola, Rud LaRusso, Tom Heinsohn and Larry Costello leading the way.

And the earliest decade for All-Stars, the 1940s, had the legendary Bob Cousy, Mel Hutchins and Carl Braun.

For a complete list click here.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Veterans Day 2019

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
Robert Popp
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
Lou Stark
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.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

OrangeHoops Hall of Fame 2019

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), Joe Schwarzer (2016), Lew Andreas (2017) and Carmelo Anthony (2018).  So the list now stands at 17. Another year has passed, and now it is time for the 2019 inductee.

I established my rules for the OrangeHoops Hall of Fame back in 2007 and you can catch up on them here. 2019 does have four new eligible candidates (using the fifteen year rule): Gary Hall, Ronneil Herron, Andrew Kouwe, and Jeremy McNeil.

Gary Hall was a walk-on guard for Syracuse for two seasons.  He was a local athlete from Tully, New York.  Hall would play only six minutes for Syracuse, and scored his only basket in a game against Binghamton his junior year. Hall was on the roster his senior year but never played a game.

Ronneil Herron was a four year walk-on guard for Syracuse.  He would score 24 points in his career.  He was known as a solid three throw shooter, and during his senior year he was inserted late into a game against Michigan State because of his free throw ability.  He would be fouled by the Spartans and make both of his free throws down the stretch in a 96-83 SU win.

Andrew Kouwe was a four year walk-on guard for Syracuse. His uncle Bob Kouwe was a three year letterman for Syracuse in the 1960s.  Kouwe played 38 minutes in his career and scored 12 points.  He made 2 out of 6 three point attempts.

Jeremy McNeil is the only scholarship player on this list of new candidates. He was a five year player at Syracuse. He had a medical redshirt after his freshman year, giving him an additional season.  McNeil was a terrific shot blocker with tremendous athletic ability.  However, he was not a strong offensive player, nor a great rebounder. He was a starter his second season, but would be a reserve to Craig Forth his last three seasons.

None of this year's candidates would make my top 10 list.

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

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.

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.

DuVal was a flashy point guard for Syracuse in the early 70s.  When he graduated from Syracuse he was only second to Dave Bing in career points scored.  He was a three year started and averaged 18.6 ppg.  DuVal was a third team All-American his senior year

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.

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.

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.  The 2019 inductee is Stephen Thompson.

Thompson was an extremely athletic player known for his ability to sky above the hoop and score easily near the basket.  He was an explosive quick leaper, and often beat out bigger players to get to the ball near the rim.  He played in 15 NCAA tournament games, and would make 68% of his field goals over his tournament career.

Thompson ran the court extremely well, and greatly benefited from Syracuse''s fast pace offense.  He was also an outstanding defender and often guarded the opposition's best guard/small forward.   

His weakness was his shooting touch. He was only a career 53% free throw shooter, and made only 30% of this three point shots. 

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Sam Penceal Charity

Syracuse 60's basketball defensive standout Sam Penceal is riding a bike for charity. He is promoting the Mobile Library Initiative. Mike Waters has the details on the program at
Sam Penceal
You can also donate at
It's always good to see former Orangemen giving back to their communities.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Early Comments on Syracuse 2019-2020 Basketball Schedule

The ACC recently announced the conference basketball schedule for 2019-2020.  The newly vamped 20 game season with the addition of the ACC network has the Orange playing a game in November vs Virginia, and one on the road against Georgia Tech in December.  The rest of the games, as expected, fall into the traditional January through March time frame.

Overall, the schedule is fine.  There are a few things I do not like about the schedule:

Here’s what I don’t like about it:

  • We play Notre Dame, Virginia, and Virginia Tech all twice in our first eight games.
  • We play five of our last seven games on the road
  • No games in NC this year likely means a boatload of games in NC next year.

Since we’ve been in the ACC, he’s how the end of our schedule played out each time:

  • 2013-2014 four of last five games on the road
  • 2014-2015 three of last four games on the road
  • 2015-2016 four of the last six games on the road
  • 2016-2017 four of the last seven on the road (though only two of the last five)
  • 2017-2018 three of the last five on the road
  • 2018-2019 three of the last four on the road
  • 2019-2020 five of the last seven on the road

So there is a pattern there that is not very kind to Syracuse, and given a sample set of seven, that is more than a coincidence.

Of course, if we always finish our schedule with more road games than home, then the rest of the schedule will of course feature more home than road games. But come crunch time of the season, every single season, we have to go on the road.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Era Pre-Big East

The Big East launched its inaugural season in 1979-1980 with Syracuse, Georgetown, St. John's, Connecticut, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's and Boston College on board. Villanova would join a year later, and Pitt a few years later in 1982.

It may be hard to believe now, but the Orangemen did not have rivalries with all those teams prior to the Big East.  A few, including Georgetown, they had barely played.  I discussed that in detail in an article back in 2018

The Orangemen did have some common opponents prior to the Big East.  Penn State was the most common opponent over the previous 11 seasons (1968-69 to 1978-79), with 23 games.  Syracuse won 17 of those, losing just six.  That was by far the most games the Orangemen had against any team over that time span. 

The Orangemen played the following 13 teams ten or more times during that eleven year period:

Team Wins  Losses Games
Penn State 17 6 23
Niagara 10 3 13
Colgate 12 0 12
Pittsburgh 7 5 12
West Virginia 7 5 12
Cornell 10 1 11
Canisius 10 1 11
American 9 2 11
St. John's 8 3 11
Temple 7 4 11
Buffalo 10 0 10
LaSalle 8 2 10
Fordham 8 2 10

Only Pittsburgh and St. John's would be in the early years of the Big East; West Virginia would come along in 1995.

Most of these teams the Orangemen have barely played since the Big East began; Cornell and Colgate would be the notable exceptions with frequent play.  

Connecticut, St. Bonaventure and Rutgers just missed that list with nine games each during that time span.  UConn, of course, was in the Big East.  Rutgers was invited to join, but declined.

If the original Big East was built on Syracuse's most common recent opponents, with eight teams, the league would have been:  Syracuse, Penn State, Niagara, Colgate, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and two of the following:  Cornell, Canisius, American, St. John's, and Temple.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Syracuse Three Year Scoring Leaders

Tyus Battle finished his Syracuse career this year as the #16 all-time scorer in school history.  Most scorers with 1,000+ points accomplished the feat in four seasons, but Battle did it in three.

There are only two three-year players ahead of Battle on the all-time scoring list. The top 10 scorers for three-year players are:

Dave Bing
Dave Bing
1. Dave Bing 1,883 points (24.8 ppg)
2. Billy Owens 1.840 points (17.9 ppg)
3. Tyus Battle 1,647 points (16.0 ppg)
4. Dennis DuVal 1,504 (18.6 ppg)
5. Rudy Hackett 1,496 (17.2 ppg)
6. Pearl Washington 1,490 (15.7 ppg)
7. Bill Smith 1,451 (20.7 ppg)
8. Greg Kohls 1,360 (19.2 ppg)
9. Mike Lee 1,351 (16.3 ppg)
10. Vinnie Cohen 1,337 (19.7 ppg)

Obviously, there are some four-year players who would have made this list based on just their first three years.

Owens, Battle and the Pearl are the only ones on the list who left after their junior year. The others are players who played when freshman were not eligible.

Lawrence Moten, Syracuse's all-time leading scorer, had 1,745 points after his first three seasons.  He would have ranked 3rd on this list.

Sherman Douglas scored 1,914 point in his last three seasons at Syracuse, the most for any player over three consecutive seasons.  Stephen Thompson scored 1,764 in his final three seasons.