Sunday, December 30, 2007

Top Syracuse Classes

There is no doubt that Syracuse has a fine freshman class this season. And because of unfortunate injuries to the upperclassmen, the freshman are being given ample opportunity to prove themselves. As a group, they have shown they are indeed a fun group to watch with a lot of offensive talent. They also have some work to do on their defense. How good is this class compared to other classes at Syracuse? How good will the collective talents of Jonny Flynn, Donte Greene, Rick Jackon, Scoop Jardine, and Sean Williams end up being?

Keep in mind, many things can happen. Paul Harris is the only member of his class left, and he’s only a sophomore. There are no players left from Josh Wright’s class. The freshman class starting in 2003-04 included DeMetris Nichols, Terrence Roberts, Louis McCroskey and Darryl Watkins. That class had a lot of potential, but it never quite came together.

But the current freshman class does look very good.

What are the best classes at Syracuse? For purpose of discussion, I’m going to restrict players to the class they first played with, as opposed to the class they were recruited for. That is, if Lawrence Moten goes to prep school for a year to improve his grades, then he is considered in the class of his freshman class, not the class he graduated high school with.

Also, I think it’s important to include the depth of the class, plus their contributions over their entire basketball career, not just one season. Jimmy Lee and Rudy Hackett lead Syracuse to its first final four in 1975; but they were the only contributors from their class, really making that class too small. John Wallace’s class was really just him until his senior year… then Lazarus Sims and JB Reafsnyder got some playing time and the team went to the title game. But I think that’s too little, too late.

So, taking into account the high points, the depth of the class, the number of players in that class who contributed, and for how long, here is how I see it.

The top 10, in reverse order:

At number 10 is the sophomore class of 1954-1955. Freshman were not eligible, so this was the sophomore class of Vinnie Cohen, Jim Brown, Gary Clark, Jim Snyder, Vinnie Albanese, Lou Stark, Jim Roper and Phil Manikas. Cohen, Brown, Clark and Snyder would all start their first year, with Cohen and Brown leading the team in scoring. The team would only go 10-11, but the Orange had been a mediocre team the past few seasons prior. They would improve to 14-8 their junior season, with Albanese joining the starting five, and Brown becoming the sixth man.

In 1956-1957 team would earn Syracuse’s first bid to the NCAA tournament. Cohen set a school record scoring 605 points at 24.2 point per game. Clark would average 17.8 points and 10.8 rebounds a game. Albanese would start at guard, and Jim Snyder would alternate between forward and center. Jim Brown was missing, as a result of personal issues with coach Marc Guley on his playing time. The team would lose in the Elite Eight. The group would go 42-26 in their three years; really not impressive in the scheme of Syracuse basketball, but significant in their accomplishments.

Number 9 is the freshman class of 2001-2002. As this is recent history, this is a familiar class with Hakim Warrick, Craig Forth, Josh Pace and Mark Konecny. This class of course was part of the 2003 National Championship team, with Warrick and Forth both starting, and Pace a significant contributor (Konecny had left school). Warrick would go on to score 2000+ points, Forth would start all four years, and Pace would start his junior and senior seasons. They would win the Big East Championship their senior year. The squad went 103-33 over their four years.

Number 8 is the freshman class of 1913-1914. This class consisted of Wilbur Crisp, Elias Raff, Billy Rafter, Art Osman and Ralph Keefer. Crisp was one of the best shooters ever at Syracuse and would lead the team in scoring his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. The team would go 12-0, their freshman year, with Crisp being the only significant contributor. They would go 10-1 their sophomore year with Rafter joining Crisp in the starting five. Overall they would go 44-7 in their four years at Syracuse.

Number 7 is the sophomore class of 1928-1929. This is the legendary class of the ‘Reindeer Five’, which included the four fleet footed Tuppy Hayman, Dan Fogarty, Ken Beagle, and Ev Katz. Warren Stevens and Fred Bromberg were also part of that class. This group would go 45-10 in their three years with records of 11-4, 18-2, and 16-4. Hayman, Fogarty, Beagle and Katz would start all four years. Hayman was the best shooter of the group, Fogarty the best defender, and Katz the best overall player.

Number 6 is the sophomore class of 1963-1964. This is Dave Bing’s class. As freshman, they were better than the Syracuse varsity. The class included Bing, Norm Goldsmith, Sam Penceal, Jim Boeheim, Frank Nicoletti, Dick Ableman and Rex Trobridge. Bing, Goldsmith and Penceal would start their first year as Syracuse went 17-8 (they had gone 8-13 the year before without them). The team struggled its second year going 13-10 after an abysmal 2-8 start. Bing was dominating, but the team was lacking defensive effort.

Their senior year the team had its offense in full gear, and tried to become the first college team every to average 100 points a game (they fell just short). Bing, Penceal and Boeheim started, but coach Fred Lewis was doing a lot of rotations so everyone contributed. Bing averaged 28.4 points per game with 6.6 assists and 10.8 rebounds. The team reached the NCAA tournament, losing to Duke in the elite eight. Over their three years, this class went 52-24; their disappointing second season kept them from being higher.

Number 5 is the freshman class of 1976-1977, also known as the Bouie’n’Louie Show. Roosevelt Bouie, Louis Orr and Hal Cohen comprised this class. This is a small class, compared to the others, but their impact was so significant that I felt they had to be considered. Bouie started all four years; Orr was the sixth man his freshman year, and a full time starter his last three. Cohen was part of a three guard rotation throughout his career providing excellent mid range shooting. All this trio accomplished was going 100-18 over four years. If this class had been bigger, and a little more successful in the post season, they would’ve ranked higher.

Number 4 is the freshman class of 2002-2003. This of course, is the class with Carmelo Anthony, Gerry McNamara, Billy Edelin and Matt Gorman. This group, the first three, were major contributors to Syracuse winning the national title in 2003. Melo led the way with 22.2 points a game and 10.0 rebounds; Gerry McNamara was hitting all the open jumpers, scoring 13.3 points a game, playing the point, and shooting the lights out at the free throw line (90.9%). And Billy Edelin was spelling GMac at the point, providing some great playmaking when it was needed.

Melo would leave after his freshman year; Edelin had personal problems off the court and would miss part of his sophomore year, and end up leaving during his junior year. McNamara would stay all four years, lead Syracuse to two Big East titles, and score 2000+ points, and become the schools all time three point shooter (by far). They team would go 103-32 in its four years. I would’ve moved them higher if Melo had played more than one year, or if Edelin and Gorman had really contributed after the freshman year. As it was, Edelin was more a distraction than a help, and Gorman never developed as a player. So with only one guy (GMac) being a contributor more than one season, its tough to rate the ‘class’ higher.

Number 3 is the freshman class of 1986-1987. This was the wonderful class of Derrick Coleman, Stephen Thompson, Matt Roe, Keith Hughes and Erik Rogers. This class almost accomplished what the 2002-03 class did; they came within a Keith Smart basket of winning the National Championship. Coleman would go on to be the NCAA’s all time leading rebounder, and score 2000+ points. Stephen Thompson would electrify fans as the recipient of Sherman Douglas alley-oops, and Thompson would score 1,956 points. Matt Roe was a deadly three point assassin his sophomore and junior seasons. Hughes was a talented big man, stuck behind a more talented Coleman. Rogers never developed.

This group would go 113-31 in four years, play in the national championship, win one Big East regular season championship, one Big East tournament championship, and remain a top 5 caliber team all four years. They would have been number 1 on the list if they had all stayed together. Roe would leave and star at Maryland his senior year; Hughes would leave and star at Rutgers his junior and senior seasons (and would be drafted in the 2nd round of the NBA draft). As it was, this was still an extremely strong senior duo with Coleman and Thompson.

Number 2 is the sophomore class of 1931-1932. This class consisted of Lou Alkoff, Johnny DeYoung, Skids Sanford, Don Pickard, Joe Vavra, Alton Farnsworth, and Gerald Pentz. Alkoff, DeYoung and Sanford would start their first year, and Pickard was a sixth man. The team would go 14-2. Their second year together the team would go 15-2, with Alkoff, Pickard and Sanford starting, and DeYoung, fighting injuries, the 6th man. Their senior year they would go 15-2 again, this time with Alkoff, DeYoung, Sanford and Pickard all starting. This group would go 44-6 in three years, an outstanding 88% winning percentage. As a side note, Joe Vavra, while never becoming a basketball star, did become the collegiate heavyweight boxing champion, and earned letters in four sports (boxing, football, track and baseball). That was quite a class.

The Number 1 class in Syracuse basketball history, really is not a contest, if you know your Syracuse history. The 1924-1925 sophomore class had Vic Hanson, Gotch Carr, Charlie Lee, Max Boxer, Lynn Follett, Milburn Rosser, Peter Tengi, and Charley Cook. Hanson, Carr, and Lee, often referred to as the Three Musketeers, started their first season, and led the team to a 15-2 record. Hanson set the school record for scoring with 205 points, a 13.5 point per game clip, and was one of the best basketball players in the country.

Their second season, this trio led Syracuse to a 19-1 record, and a mythical National Championship (mythical because it was voted upon by the Helms Foundation, as opposed to won on the court). Hanson would set another scoring record with 282 points, and a 14.2 point average, with Lee and Carr major contributors.

Their senior season they would go ‘only’ 15-4, with Hanson again putting up solid numbers at 277 points, and 14.6 points per game. Lee was a major contributor all year; Carr would miss some time due to academic problems. They would go 49-7 in three years of college basketball.

This same class of players would also play on the Syracuse football team, and go 23-4-3 in three years. Hanson, Lee and Carr each started all three years in that sport (Hanson and Carr also lettered in baseball multiple times).

So how good will this year’s freshman class eventually be? We’ll have fun getting to watch them play, and we’ll know within four years. Now we know what to measure them against.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Syracuse 2007-08 Milestones

The 2006-2007 season was a fun one to follow from a milestone perspective as it was a veteran team with three senior starters, and opportunities for Syracuse milestones. This season does not have any senior starters, and with four new starters in the line up, career milestones would be very unlikely this year. However, there are several excellent opportunities for Freshman marks to be challenged.

The top 10 scoring freshman for Syracuse are:
Carmelo Anthony 778 pts
Lawrence Moten 583 pts
Billy Owens 494 pts
Gerry McNamara 467 pts
Pearl Washington 460 pts
Derrick Coleman 453 pts
Eric Devendorf 428 pts
Dale Shackleford 331 pts
Roosevelt Bouie 326 pts
John Wallace 321 pts

After the first 11 games for 2007-08, freshman Donte’ Greene has 215 points. Assuming Syracuse will play 35 games, Greene will finish the year with 684 points, 2nd all time. He would need to score at 23.5 ppg clip to break Melo’s freshman record. He would have a better shot at the freshman record if Syracuse played a few extra post season games (say 38) and he increased his points per game to 20.5.

Classmate Jonny Flynn has 157 points; at his current pace he will have 500 by seasons end, good for 4th all time. It’s possible with the shifting of the lineup due to Eric Devendorf’s injury that Scoop Jardine or Rick Jackson could increase their playing time significantly, thus impacting their season statistics dramatically.

Paul Harris had 302 points his freshman year. Lawrence Moten holds the standard after a sophomore season with 1,101 points. Harris has scored 137 points so far this season; he would need to score at a 27.5 ppg clip to set that record, so Moten seems secure there.

Twelve freshman have scored in double figures for Syracuse in the past:
Carmelo Anthony 22.2 ppg
Lawrence Moten 18.2 ppg
Pearl Washington 14.4 ppg
Gerry McNamara 13.3 ppg
Billy Owens 13.0 ppg
Eric Devendorf 12.2 ppg
Billy Gabor 12.1 ppg
Derrick Coleman 11.9 ppg
Dale Shackleford 11.4 ppg
John Wallace 11.1 ppg
Roosevelt Bouie 10.9 ppg
Erich Santifer 10.7 ppg

Two are on pace to do that this season with Greene at 19.5 ppg, and Flynn at 14.3 ppg, which would be the 2nd and 4th best freshman efforts ever, respectively. Greene would need to increase his pace to 23.4 ppg for the remaining 24 games to break Melo’s record; a feat the high scoring Greene is capable of doing.

The top 10 freshman assists are:
Pearl Washington 199
Jason Hart 184
Michael Edwards 168
Adrian Autry 164
Gerry McNamara 155
Billy Owens 119
Eric Devendorf 82
Ross Kindel 79
Carmelo Anthony 77
Greg Monroe 71

Jonny Flynn has 69 assists so far (just outside the top 10). He’s on pace to finish with 220 assists, which would break Pearl’s freshman record. Jardine and Greene both have a shot at cracking the top 10. The freshman record for assists per game is 6.2 by the Pearl; Flynn is currently on a pace of 6.3 per game.

The top 10 freshman rebounds are:
Carmelo Anthony 349
Derrick Coleman 333
Billy Owens 263
Dale Shackleford 256
Paul Harris 248
Roosevelt Bouie 242
John Wallace 221
Rony Seikaly 198
Louis Orr 194
Lawrence Moten 192

Greene currently leads the way with 90, and is on pace for 286, 3rd all time. Paul Harris had 248 rebounds after his freshman season; by the end of his sophomore season Derrick Coleman had 717 rebounds. So Harris would need 469 rebounds this season to catch DC. Right now Harris has 105 rebounds; he would need 364 more, at a 10.4 rpg pace. It is possible for Harris to catch Coleman, though the possibility of him seeing more backcourt action could hurt his numbers. The freshman record for rebounds per game is 10.0 by Anthony. Greene leads the way at 8.2 rpg, so that seems safe.

The freshman record for blocked shots is 91 by Roosevelt Bouie. Greene is currently on pace for 83 blocks.

The freshman record for free throws made is 168 by Anthony. Flynn is on pace for 118.
The freshman record for three point baskets made is 85 by Gerry McNamara. Greene is on pace for 95, which would set the record.

The freshman record for three point field goal percentage (minimum 50 attempts) is 37.6% (50-133) by Devendorf. Flynn is shooting a blistering 43.2% (16-37) and Greene at 39.0% (30-77) this season.

The freshman record for free throw percentage is 90.9% by Gerry McNamara (minimum 50 attempts). That record seems safe, with Flynn tops this season at 80.4%.

The freshman record for field goal percentage (minimum 100 attempts) is 56.5% by Louis Orr. Rick Jackson is on pace to shatter that at 67.6% (25-37). Note that technically, Andre Hawkins could be considered to hold the freshman field goal percentage. While he failed to meet the minimum number of attempts (60-96), if you gave him four misses, he still would have made 60% for the top mark.

Eric Devendorf started his junior season with 945 points, 227 assists, 180 rebounds, and 104 three point field goals. The Pearl had 637 assists after his junior season, and Coleman had 1,139 rebounds at that point, and McNamara 297 three point field goals; Devo was not going to threaten any of those records. Billy Owens had 1,840 points, and Devo had little chance of catching him; he would’ve had to have scored at about 25.5 ppg for the season.

As it was, Devo did reach a personal milestone by notching his 1,000th career point, before injuring his knee, becoming the 49th Orangeman to do it. With the knee injury, Devo is now stuck at 1,115 points, putting him at #43 on the all-time list, just behind Jimmy Williams with 1,119.

Ironically, the knee injury, which will definitely cast some doubt on Devendorf’s pro future, may also put him into a better position to set the Syracuse all-time scoring record. Lawrence Moten holds that distinction with 2,334 points. Prior to this season, Devo was 1,389 points short; with an estimated 70 collegiate games left, he would have had to have averaged 19.8 ppg his last two seasons. That’s not an impossible number, though it is a tough feat; there have been only 20 times an Orangeman has done that in a given season. Further making it difficult was Coach Jim Boeheim indicating that he thought Devo was going to leave early for the NBA after his junior season.

However, Devo had played 10 games this season, and scored 170 points. If he is granted a medical redshirt, he will pick up two more seasons of eligibility, thus making those 170 points ‘bonus points’. Plus with the knee injury, and the time to recuperate, he will likely need to play two years of college basketball to convince the NBA he is completely healthy. So Devo will enter his junior season (of eligibility) next year with 1,115 points (which is 14 more than Moten had entering his junior year). Devo would need 1,219 points with an estimated 70 collegiate games left. He would then need to average 17.4 ppg; he was averaging 17.0 this season, so that number is reasonable.

Now there’s a lot of “if’s” involved. He is very likely not to be up to speed come next December, which would definitely hurt his performance. If Flynn stays in college, the backcourt will be very crowded with Flynn, Jardine, Andy Rautins (who will be 5 months ahead on his rehab of his knee) and Devendorf. Devendorf’s style of play involved a lot of driving to the hoop, and that may be hampered by the injury.

There still over 2/3 of this 2007-08 season to be played. But clearly a lot of the freshman records are in a position to fall. That’s what happens when you give talented freshman a lot of playing time.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Devendorf Out

Junior Guard Eric Devendorf is now out for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee that occurred in the lopsided win over East Tennessee State on Saturday night, per a report by Donna Ditota in the Post Standard.

This means that Syracuse now has five new starters from last years team. Making things worse is the apparent loss of Josh Wright from the team, along with losing Andy Rautins last summer with his own torn ACL injury. Think how quickly things turn. Last May the Orange had three returning guards with a lot of experience, plus two extremely hyped freshman coming into the squad. Much of the talk was about who would be the starting two, and message boards had mixed results with any combination of the five being projected. Everyone acknowledged how crowded it was going to be.

Well, seven months later… and Syracuse is down to only two guards, both freshman. Syracuse has already been playing with a very thin rotation; now it is even thinner.

The knee jerk response is to now say Scoop Jardine will start at the shooting guard. And that may very well happen. Unfortunately, Jardine is not a perimeter shooter… he’s more of a drive to the hoop player. It may be possible that the coach Jim Boeheim does the following: move Paul Harris from forward to shooting guard, shift Donte Greene from the power forward to the small forward, and insert Rick Jackson into the starting five at the power forward.

That would give Syracuse a big team on the court, and Jackson has played well as of late. Greene really is more of a small forward in a big body, much like Carmelo Anthony was in 2003. I haven’t seen Jackson play enough to comment on his defensive abilities. Harris at the guard position would be an upgrade to Devo on defense. Perhaps this injury makes the Orange a stronger defensive team.

It clearly hurts the Orange on offense. Devo provided leadership on the court, ball handling, and was able to score from the perimeter and drive to the hoop. Anytime you lose your 2nd leading scorer, that’s going to hurt. And regardless if he starts or not, Jardine is going to see significantly more playing time, so let us hope he is ready.

The thin bench does beg the question of what Boeheim is going to do about his redshirt players. Devin Brennan-McBride hasn’t played in the regular season because of a shoulder injury and the team wanted to hold Sean Williams out so he could develop. I’m not sure if Syracuse can afford to have that luxury. Mike Williams did come over from the football team, and join the squad to help give some much needed depth at guard. I don’t know if the football squad has any more former high school basketball standouts, willing to commit some time to basketball or not.

I do think that Boeheim is going to have to find some bodies somewhere, even if it is just to have enough guys to scrimmage in practice. If the team were to get in foul trouble in a game, it wouldn’t have enough guys to even put out on the court.

Syracuse will have a couple of weeks of play in its remaining out of conference schedule to put some rotations together. It will definitely be an interesting time.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Who Needs a Bench?

Wednesday’s win over Virginia was a good win for the Orange, on many levels. It really does not matter how good or how bad Virginia is, the win was a good one. The young Syracuse squad played on a hostile court in a state other than New York, the ebb and flow of the game was back and forth, and the Orange had to come back and take a lead, and then hold on to it down the stretch. Those are tremendous confidence builders and even though the Orange did make some mistakes down the stretch, it did show a lot about the young men representing Syracuse.

The Orange, who have been a week rebounding team this year, out-rebounded Virginia 39-36. This is the same Cavalier squad that out-rebounded their opponents by an average of 17 points a game this season. My only concern with SU’s rebounding would be that of the 34 live rebounds they got (5 were dead ball), 33 came from the front court. Eric Devendorf had only 1 rebound, and Jonny Flynn none, despite the fact that both played almost the entire game. And, the Orange were playing a 3 point shooting team which typically means more long rebounds. So I think the guards need to pay a little more attention to getting those loose balls.

The Orange also hit 91% of there free throws, 10 for 11. Now that’s a small sampling, but you can’t complain about those results. They also held a good three point shooting Cavalier team (44% from three for the season) to 34.4%. Of course, when the zone is played well, that’s exactly what it does… it tempts teams to take three point shots since they seem so inviting, not realizing that they are further out than normal When the zone is played poorly, those shots are taken much closer and the shooting percentage is much higher.

There is a trend this season that I have not been able to fully grasp yet, but I’ll throw it out there. Jim Boeheim is always known for his short benches, with only a few seasonal aberrations in his 32 years to indicate otherwise. His theory has always been to ride his star players as long as he can. I know I’m in the minority here, but as a fan, I’ve always liked that style.

But typically, in the early season, Boeheim starts with a longer bench, and then shrinks it come Big East time, as he sets his rotation. Much of the off season this year was how deep and young this team was, and that there were going to be a lot of guys getting minutes. Injuries have removed some of those players; Andy Rautins is out for the year and he would have had significant playing time, and Devin Brennan-McBride is battling a shoulder injury (though I doubt he would have many minutes anyways).

At this point in the season, the Syracuse starting five are averaging 174 minutes a game; Donte’ Green 37.2, Devendorf 36.9, Paul Harris 35.8, Arinze Onuaku 32.5, and Jonny Flynn 31.9. To give you some perspective how significant that is, that is the most minutes per game for an Syracuse starting unit since 1982-1983 (the first year I have minutes played for the players). And it’s not even close. The second highest on the list is the 1997-1998 Orangemen with 167 minutes a game.

The 1997-1998 squad was two solid seniors in Todd Burgan and Marius Janulis, and three talented sophomores in Jason Hart, Ryan Blackwell and Etan Thomas. The bench had junior Elvir Ovcina and freshman Allen Griffin who got some playing time. Freshman Eric Williams was disappointing in his efforts, and sophomore LeSean Howard didn't get much time either. The team would go 26-9 and go to the Sweet Sixteen.

Anyhow, I am amazed at how much playing time the starting five are getting, even by Boeheim’s standards. I’m not sure the driving force for that decision, though I can think of a few options.

Close Games: The games have been close, and Boeheim always likes his best starting five on the court when the game is close.

Little foul trouble: These Orangemen have stayed out of foul trouble, with the exception of the most experienced player, Eric Devendorf. And Devendorf plays even when he’s in foul trouble. I had expected Onuaku, Harris and Greene to possibly have foul trouble, but that has not been the case.

Defensive struggles: I think this may be the biggest reason why Boeheim has not changed his lineup as much. The Orange have played poor defense more often than not this season, and I think that he’s trying to get them as much playing time so they can learn through experience. And I think he’s really trying to drive the zone home with them.

Boeheim loves his zone, but he does mix it up with occasional man-to-man and full court presses. Against Virginia, the Orange never pulled out of their zone the whole game. I think Boeheim is trying to send a message to the guys that they had better learn to love it, to live and breath it, because they are going to learn it, whether they like it or not.

Poor Efforts by the Rest: Boeheim has made it clear over the years, that he evaluates players on how they play in practice, and he could care less what a player’s pedigree is before they put on that Orange jersey. They need to show to him that they deserve the minutes in the game. I don’t see the practices, so I don’t know how they are performing. But if the highly taughted Scoop Jardine and Rick Jackson aren’t getting the playing minutes, then perhaps their practice efforts haven’t earned it yet.

For whatever reason, the starters are getting a lot of playing time and a lot of experience. The bench players aren’t getting that experience. The ‘experts’ will tell you that will hurt the Orange come post season; you want those bench players to be ready to play if the moment arises when a starter gets in foul trouble or has an injury. I disagree.

I think most college teams shrink their rotations in the post season, start giving more minutes to the stars, and relying less on the bench players. I recall in the 1995-96 tournament how everyone was amazed at how deep the Kentucky Wildcats were, playing 10 guys every game. Yet in the championship game against Syracuse, 3 Wildcat players had more than 35+ minutes of playing time; Rick Pitino hid his bench in that game.

The advantage the Syracuse squads have is come March, the starting five are quite used to player a significant amount of the game. They aren’t going to feel as tired, and when they get tired, they know how to play through it because they’ve been doing it all year. They know they need to stay out of foul trouble, so they learn to play with fouls.

If you have 10 All-Americans on your team, and the 9th player is as good as the 2nd player, then sure… mix them up, spread out the playing time. But if your top 4 are significantly better than your next four, why share the time? I also think you should rotate players if you have guys on the bench who have specific skills that some of your starters don't. If you have a great perimeter shooter on the bench, or a defensive specialist, that makes sense to rotate him in... change things up.

As mentioned earlier, Donte Greene is averaging 37.2 minutes a game. Which Orangemen has the highest average for a season?

It should come as no surprise. In 1990-1991 junior Billy Owens averaged 38.0 minutes a game, carrying the Orangemen through the season. The second highest is Dave Johnson, his senior year in 1991-1992 where he averaged 37.9 minutes a game. Overall, there have been 23 different times a player has averaged 35+ minutes a game (since 1982-1983); this was accomplished by 16 different players. Gerry McNamara is the only Syracuse player to ever average 35+ minutes in each of his four seasons; nobody else has ever done it more than twice. Hakim Warrick is the only player to average 37+ minutes a game for two separate seasons (his junior and senior seasons). And the 2001-2002 Orangemen had three players average 35+ minutes a game: Preston Shumpert, Damone Brown, and Allen Griffin.

We’ll see if December 2007 reduces some of the playing time for the big five this year.