Sunday, April 03, 2022

Statistics of Note From 2021-2022

Coach Jim Boeheim proclaimed before the season that this was the best three point shooting team he ever had.  He wasn’t far off from that.  The team hit 37.7% of its three point attempts, 5th best in school history. The team made 9.1 three point shots a game, the most in school history, breaking the record of 8.8 set in 2016-17.

This year’s team shot 73.7% from the free throw line, making 423 of 574 shots.  The 73.7% is the 8th best free throw shooting team since 1947-1948.  That is pretty elite company. 

The team averaged only 17.4 free throw attempts per game. That is the second lowest for the team since 1948.  The record low was set the previous season with 17.0 attempts per game.

The scoring margin for the team was 2.3 points per game. That was the 103rd best out of 122 seasons for the Orange.  Only 19 Syracuse squads have had a lower point differential average.

The 77.4 points per game the Orange scored was the best for the team since 2009-2010.  The 75.1 ppg the team allowed the opponents to score was the 15th worst all time, and the most since 1988-89.

Despite some late game meltdowns, the 2021-2022 team was actually very good at not turning over the ball.  They averaged 10.7 turnovers a game, the third best since 1984-85 when they started keeping the team statistic.   The best was the 2013-2014 team.  The team’s assist to turnover ratio was 1.36, which is the 6th best in school history; the 1987-88 team holds the record at 1.79.  If you look at the Field Goal to Turnover Ratio, which is an indicator of turnover rate based on pace of the game, the team again ranked 5th with a ratio of 2.58. The 1988-1989 team leads the way with a ratio of 3.00.

Individually, Cole Swider had the 8th best three point shooting season at 41.1% making 81 of 197 attempts. Joe Girard wasn’t far behind with 40.3%. 

Jesse Edwards 2.8 blocks per game were the most since Fab Melo averaged 2.9 in 2011-12.

Cole Swider’s 6.8 rebounds per game was the lowest for the team leader since C.J. Fair’s 6.4 in 2013-2014.

Saturday, April 02, 2022

Jimmy Boeheim Earns Academic All American Status

Congratulations to Jimmy Boeheim for making First Team Academic All American. Boeheim is only the second Orange men’s basketball player to earn first team honors, and the 8th to receive any Academic All American recognition.  

The ability for an Orange player to make Academic All American  is far rarer than making All American status based on playing accomplishments.  Consider that sixteen Orange players have made the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd team AP All American, whereas only eight have made the Academic All American.

The Academic All Americans have all done well in their professional careers following college, whether it was basketball or other ventures.

Rick Dean was the first Academic All American, earning 2nd team status his senior year.   Dean would be a decorated Vietnam veteran, an FBI agent, and then a Methodist Minister.

George Hicker was a third team Academic All American in 1968. Hicker became a successful real estate salesman and later the president of Cardinal Industrial.

Bill Smith was a second team Academic All American in 1971.  He would have a brief NBA career, before a lengthy career at Smith Barney.

Dennis DuVal was a second team Academic All American in 1973.  He would have a brief NBA career, before moving on to a career as a police officer in Syracuse. His career would culminate with him being the Syracuse Police Chief from 2001-2004.

Hal Cohen was a second team Academic All American in 1979.  He continued onto medical school following graduating from Syracuse, and would be a respected radiologist in the Syracuse area for over three decades.

Danny Schayes was the only other first team Academic All American for Syracuse, achieving that distinction in 1981.  Schayes would play 18 seasons in the NBA for seven different franchises.

Craig Forth is the only Orange player to earn the distinction twice. The first time he was third team in 2004, and then he earned it again the next year rising to the second team. Forth became a teacher, and then later the principal of Mechanicsville High School in 2016.

Jimmy Boeheim graduated from Cornell in 2021, and came to Syracuse as a graduate student for the 2021-2022 season. He would earn first team Academic All American status.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Syracuse 2021-22 Free Throw Shooting

The Syracuse men's basketball team had a good year shooting free throws making 73.7% of their attempts.  This was the 8th best free throw shooting team in Syracuse history, with the 2020-21 team holding the record at 78.2%.  They were not a prolific free throw shooting team, with only 17.39 attempts per game, the second lowest in school history. That should not be too surprising from a team that specialized in perimeter shooting.
Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard
The team had three outstanding free throw shooters in Buddy Boeheim (88.4%), Joe Girard (88.2%), and Cole Swider (86.6%).  Buddy had the rare distinction  of leading the team in free throws made as well as free throw percentage.  Only Preston Shumpert (2001-02), Gerry McNamara (2005-06), and Tyus Battle (2018-19) have accomplished that in the past twenty years. [note it was a bit more common place in the 50s-90s with 15 players accomplishing it]

In the past seven seasons, six different players have led the Orange in free throw shooting percentage:  Trevor Cooney, John Gillon, Tyus Battle (2x), Joe Girard, Alan Griffin, and Buddy Boeheim.  Meanwhile, eleven different players have led the team in free throws made the past eleven seasons.

Earlier this season, I discussed the best free throw shooting backcourts in Syracuse history.  Boeheim and Girard set the record this year at 88.3%, making 181 out of 205 free throw attempts.  They have surpassed the 2005-06 effort of 87.1% by  Gerry McNamara and Eric Devendorf.

Buddy Boeheim finished his career as the 7th best three throw shooter at SU. Joe Girard is currently #2 at 86.5%, trailing Gerry McNamara's 88.78% by a couple of percentage points. On the downside, Bourama Sidibe finished his career as the 7th worst free throw shooter, becoming one of just seven to shoot less than 50% for his career.  Sidibe did shoot 64.3% in his last season, and he fell just one made free throw short of making 50% for his career.

In the battle of Boeheim free throw shooting, Buddy wins the contest.  Buddy's 82.7% is tops.  Coach Jim Boeheim shot 69.5%, and Buddy's older brother Jimmy shot 64.4% at Syracuse (Jimmy shot 66.3% in his combined career at Cornell and Syracuse).  By the way, sister Jamie Boeheim shot 70.6% (12-17) in her career at the University of Rochester.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Should Syracuse Fans Expect the Freshmen to Score A Lot in 2022-23?

One of the big questions for 2022-2023 season is where will the Syracuse offensive production come from.  The Orange are losing three of its top four scorers with Buddy Boeheim, Cole Swider, and Jimmy Boeheim leaving.  The team is likely to have to rely on some freshman to do some scoring, assuming no big acquisitions through the transfer portal. Is it realistic to expect freshmen to score?

Since the 2012-2013 season, there have been 31 scholarship freshman on the men's basketball team.  Nine were starters (29%), and eight scored 9+ a game (26%); six scored 10+ a game (19.4%).  Those eight were:

Oshae Brissett

Tyler Ennis 12.9 ppg
Chris McCullough 9.3 ppg
Malachi Richardson 13.4 ppg
Tyler Lydon 10.1 ppg
Tyus Battle 11.3 ppg
Taurean Thompson 9.3 ppg
Oshae Brissett  14.9 ppg
Joe Girard 12.4 ppg

  • Of course, really scoring totals are more a function of opportunity and necessity.  Even on really bad teams someone has to score, and if there are capable scorers already in place, freshman are not going to be called upon to play and/or score.  So take those numbers for what they are; just a reflection of what did happen, not what will happen.

While looking this up, probably the most similar situation to 2022-2023 was the 2017-2018 season.  That team lost four of its top five scorers (John Gillon, Tyler Lydon, Andrew White, Taurean Thompson), and the two bench players were weak scorers (Frank Howard and Paschal Chukwu).  Five incoming freshman (Matthew Moyer, Oshae Brissett, Marek Dolezaj, Bourama Sidibe, and Howard Washington).   That team struggled like heck to score, but played terrific grinding defense.  Moyer/Dolezaj and Brissett started, and Brissett turned in one of the best freshman scoring seasons for the Orange, but the team did lack scoring with only three guys who reliably scored: Battle, Howard, and Brissett.  The only new transfer on that team was Geno Thorpe, and he didn't contribute.

2022-2023 is not as barren as 2017-2018 in regards to returning players.  Two starters are returning, not just one (Joe Girard and Jesse Edwards).  There are four returning bench players not just two, and of those Benny Williams does have a very high upside.  There is also no returning player the caliber of Tyus Battle, so temper expectations with that in mind.

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

A Breakdown of 30 Point Efforts by the Syracuse Basketball Team

There have been 193 times a Syracuse basketball player has scored 30+ points in a game. This was accomplished by 63 different players.

Dave Bing

Dave Bing accomplished the feat the most with 20 times.  Twelve players accomplished the feat 5+ times, including:  Bing (20), Greg Kohls (14), Billy Owens (10), Bill Smith (7), Preston Shumpert (7), Lawrence Moten (6), Rudy Hackett (6), Billy Gabor (5), Dennis DuVal (5), John Wallace (5), Pete Chudy (5), and Vinnie Cohen (5).

Colgate is the most common victim to a 30 point outburst from an Orange basketball player with 12. That really should not be a surprise given they also are by far the most common opponent.  Other teams with notable occurrences of 30 point efforts include:  Pitt (10), Cornell (9), Niagara (9), Canisius (7), UConn (7), LaSalle (7), Penn State (7), and St. John’s (7).  For those curious, Georgetown is on the list twice with Billy Owens doing it in 1990 and Carmelo Anthony in 2003.

The first player to do it was George Kirchgasser on November 7, 1904 against Jenner Prep. No player would accomplish it again until 1942 when Bob Shaddock scored 33 against Colgate.

The most common venue is the Orange home court where the Orange have done it an even 100 times.  Other breakdowns include:  64 times on the road, 9 times in the NCAA tournament, 8 times on a neutral court in season, 7 times in the Big East Tournament, 3 times in the NIT tournament, and 1 time each in the ACC Tournament and ECAC Tournament.

Twelve players have scored 40+ points in a game.  Bill Smith holds the school record with 47 against Lafayette in 1971.

Dave Bing holds the record for most field goals in a 30 point game with 19 against Colgate in 1965 on his way to 45 points. Allen Griffin has the first field goals with only 5 needed in a 31 point effort against St. John’s in 2001; he made 18 free throws and 3 three point shots in that game to help the cause.

Rick Dean had the best shooting night when he went 13-13 against Colgate in 1966, on his way to a 30 point night. John Wallace had the worst shooting night when he went 9-25 against Notre Dame in the Big East Tournament in 1996.  John did go 13-14 from the free throw line to help himself out.

Allen Griffin and Hakim Warrick each made 18 free throws on their way to 30 points games. Buddy Boeheim, Bob McDaniel, Carl Vernick, and George Kirchgasser had 0 free throws in their efforts (discussed earlier this week).

John Gillon, Gerry McNamara, Trevor Cooney, and James Southerland all had prolific three point shooting nights to make 9 three pointers on their way to 30+.   Gillon was the best sharpshooter in the effort going 9-10 from three and making 14-14 free throws.

Carmelo Anthony went 0-5 from three against Rutgers in 2003, though he still managed to get 30 on 10-10 free throw shooting and 10-23 from the floor.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Buddy Boeheim's 30 Points Were Rather Rare

Buddy Boeheim notched his third career 30 point game the other night in the win over Wake Forest. Boeheim’s shooting effort had an anomaly as he took no free throw attempts on his way to thirty.  

Buddy Boeheim
Buddy Boeheim

Only four Orange basketball players have ever scored 30+ points with no free throws attempted.   The last time was 52 years ago in 1970 when Bob McDaniel scored 36 points on 18 made field goals in 23 attempts.  

Carl Vernick accomplished the feat in December 1961 against Detroit when he made 15 field goals for 30 points.  George Kirchgasser was the first Orange basketball player to accomplish the feat back on November 1904 against Jenners Prep.  Kirchgasser also had 30 points on 15 field goal attempts.  Kirchgasser also has the notable feat of being the first Orange player to score 30 in a game at all.

Five Orange players have scored 30+ points in a game with just one made free throw including Buddy himself last year, Preston Shumper, Lawrence Moten (2x), Sherman Douglas, and Dennis DuVal.

At the other extreme, we have Hakim Warrick and Allen Griffin who both had 18 made free throws on their way to 30+ points. Warrick was 18-22 from the line, and a poor 6-15 from the floor on his way to 30 points against Rhode Island in November 2003.  Griffin was also 18-22 from the line, 5-9 from the floor, and 3-5 from three point range in March 2001 on his way to 31 points.

There have been 193 times an Orange player scored 30+ points in a game.  They averaged 12.1 field goals made and 7.6 free throws made in those games.  75 of the 193 efforts were in the three point era; players averaged 3.4 three point field goals made in those 75 games.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Orange Backcourt Free Throw Shooting - Who's the Best?

 Free throw shooting has long been the Achille's Heel of Syracuse basketball.  A lot of fans may not have been paying attention, however, and noticed that the Orange have gotten much better as a team in that area the past few years. In fact last year's team was the best free throw shooting team in Syracuse history, and their clip of 78.2% is significantly better than the previous record of 75.1% set in the 1983-1984 season. The 2019-2020 season is now the fourth best on record for the Orange, so definitely an upward trend.

Joe Girard and Buddy Boeheim
It is vital for a team to have a solid free throw shooting backcourt, as it helps to ice the lead late in a game.  Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard are currently shooting at a combined 89.7%, hitting 105 of 117 attempts through the first 17 games.  This would break the Orange record for free throw percentage for the starting backcourt.  Boeheim is shooting 90.4% while Girard is hitting 88.6%, truly a team effort for the duo.

There are thirteen Orange starting backcourts that have made 78% or more of their free throws.  Here are the thirteen, in order, with the current record holder listed first.

1.  2005-2006.  Gerry McNamara hit 90.2% of his shots and Eric Devendorf 81.1%, as the duo combined for 175-201 for 87.1%.  GMac is the school's all-time career free throw shooter, and Devo is 15th, so this really should not be a surprise for anyone. 

2.  2016-2017.  John Gillon hit 86.1% and Tyus Battle 79.8% as the duo combined for 84.8% on 190-224.

3.  2020-2021.  Joe Girard hit 78% and Buddy Boeheim 84.9%, for a combined 84-103 for 81.6%. So it should not be a surprise that the duo is taking a run at the record.  This is the least prolific duo on this list, even if you prorate the number of free throws to account for games missed due to Covid-19.

4.  2019-2020.  Joe Girard hit 89.4% and Buddy Boeheim 71.4% for a combined 122-150 for 81.3%. This is a reverse of the following year, with Girard carrying load over Boeheim.

5.  1971-1972.  Dennis DuVal hit only 66.0% and Greg Kohls 86.4%, for a combined 290-360 for 80.6%.  This was a case of Kohls taking the vast majority of the free throw attempts.  This was by far the most prolific free throw shooting duo of the top 13.  Kohls took 257 of the free throw attempts himself, an outstanding number.

6.  1978-1979.  Hal Cohen hit 76.9% and Marty Headd 82.1%, for a combined 105-132 for 79.5%.

7.  1967-1968.   Rich Cornwall hit 85.9% and Ernie Austin 69.6% for a combined 112-141 for 79.4%.

8.  1984-1985.  Pearl Washington hit 78.4% and Michael Brown 87.0%, for a combined 158-199 for 79.4%.  In retrospect I wonder how many fans realized that the Pearl was a solid free throw shooter?

9.  2017-2018.  Frank Howard hit 71.9% and Tyus Battle 83.9% for a combined 259-327 for 79.2%.  

10.  2008-2009.  Jonny Flynn hit 78.6% and Eric Devendorf 79.5% for a combined 277-351 for 78.9% This is the second most prolific duo on this list.

11. 2013-2014.  Tyler Ennis hit 76.5% and Trevor Cooney 84.1% for a combined 167-212 for 78.8%.

12.  2004-2005 Gerry McNamara hit 87.4% and Louis McCroskey a very poor 50%, for a combined 131-167 for 78.4%.  This was clearly a case of GMac carrying all the load of free throws.

13. 2002-2003.  Gerry McNamara hit 90.9% and Kueth Duany a weak 67.5% for a combined 167-213 for 78.4%.  Again, GMac carried the load for the free throws, but the duo did help lead the Orange to a National Championship. This is GMac's third entry on this list.

Boeheim and Girard will almost certainly make an entry into this top list, and have a real shot at #1.  They already hold the third and fourth positions.

While doing this research, I found it interesting that most of the top free throw shooting backcourts for the Orange were in the past twenty years, with nine out of thirteen.  The worst free throw shooting backcourts were predominantly in the 1950s and early 1960s.  So when your father/grandfather says that "young players today don't know the fundamentals such as free throw shooting like we knew when I was growing up",  you now have the evidence to contradict him.