Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Syracuse All Decade Team 2000-2009

By now most Syracuse fans are aware that Jonny Flynn is going to bypass his final two years of college eligibility to go for the money and fame of the NBA. I am not going to comment in length on Flynn’s decision. As a fan I wish he would stay; next year’s team with Flynn would clearly be better than next year’s team without him. I think Flynn also has a lot of room to improve at the college game; he played the point position very well down the stretch this season, but I would like to have seen him play that way for a season and raise his game another notch. However, he is staring at the opportunity to earn millions, he is reportedly getting props by the likes of LeBron James (per the Axeman), and the NBA is the opportunity to play against the best. And the only reason Flynn came to college was to go to the NBA, so when that opportunity is there, I cannot blame him for taking it.

Flynn leaves Syracuse as probably the third best point guard in the Jim Boeheim era. The top two are clearly Pearl Washington and Sherman Douglas, in some order. Flynn comes in ahead of guys like Red Autry, Gerry McNamara, Jason Hart , Lazarus Sims and Eddie Moss.

Anyways, the decade from 2000-2009 has ended, and I have been compiling ‘All Decade’ Teams for every decade of Syracuse basketball, along with a player of the decade for each decade. [Note: for purposes of determining best player of a decade, I restrict consideration to only their activity during that decade. I realize this is unfair to the players who cross over two decades, but such as it is].

Most decades have been easy. The 1900s had Art Powell, the 1910s Joe Schwarzer, the 1920s Vic Hanson, the 1930s Ed Sonderman, the 1940s Billy Gabor, the 1950s Vinnie Cohen, and the 1960s Dave Bing.

The choices got more difficult starting with the 1970s. I narrowed it down to Rudy Hackett, Roosevelt Bouie, Louis Orr, and Dennis DuVal. DuVal was an electrifying and outstanding player, and Hackett led Syracuse to its first Final Four, but both of their impact was dwarfed by the dominance of the Bouie ‘N Louie era. So the choice came down to Louis Orr and Roosevelt Bouie. Considering the defensive dominance of Bouie that allowed a young Jim Boeheim to anchor a team around, I had to go with Roosevelt Bouie for the 1970s.

The 1980s was the best decade of Syracuse basketball, and as such there were some dominant players to select from. The top three were clearly Pearl Washington, Derrick Coleman and Sherman Douglas. Coleman was the best player of the three, but his senior season was in the 1990s, and so we’re comparing his first three seasons to the three years of Washington and four of Douglas. I think the point guard duo have an edge as a result. It then comes down to Washington and Douglas. I think Douglas was the better point guard, and the guy I want running my team. But the Pearl was an outstanding point guard himself, and a one-man press breaking machine. Honestly, I would not argue with anyone who chose opposite to me on this, but in the end I took the Pearl because of his impact on the program.

The 1990s had three outstanding players: Billy Owens, Lawrence Moten and John Wallace. Owens was the best player of the three, but Syracuse had only two seasons of him in the 1990s, and Owens has to be downgraded somewhat for his failure to win a Big East game or NCAA tournament game his last season at Syracuse. I mean, that’s half the seasons he had in the 1990s. Moten and Wallace were both four year men. Moten was the better four year player; he was a much better player than Wallace was as a freshman and sophomore. And I had written a while back that Moten’s significance in the 90s cannot be understated… he came to the program at the time of the probation period, and helped Syracuse be a winner despite the NCAA penalties, and the program kept going as a result. Moten is one of my all time favorite Syracuse players, but I gave John Wallace the nod as the top player of the 90s. He was a better player as a junior and senior than Moten was those two years, and Wallace carried the team to the NCAA Championship game his senior season.

As tough as I found the last three decades to be for selections, I found this past decade (2000-2009) to be the toughest. One of the difficulties is the presence of Carmelo Anthony, who played only one year, but clearly had the best single season of the decade and led Syracuse to its first NCAA Tournament Championship. Then you have Hak & Mac attack with Hakim Warrick and Gerry McNamara, and the ironman Jonny Flynn.

First, I will be quite clear that I have a tough time naming any player the greatest career player, or player of a decade, when his contribution to the school was only one season. That pretty much makes it very difficult for me to select Anthony. Yes, Anthony had the best single season, and he did win a National Championship. But Hakim Warrick and Gerry McNamara both also won a National Championship, in which both were significant impact players (remember ‘the block’ and ‘six threes’?).

Consider that Warrick scored over 2000 points during the decade, was the team’s leading rebounder for the decade, played in three NCAA tournaments, won a Big East Championship his senior season, and was named the Big East Player of the Year his Senior year, and all Big East first team two times.

Gerry McNamara led the school in scoring and assists for the decade, played in four NCAA tournaments (the only Orangeman to do that in the 2000s), won two Big East tournaments (including perhaps the gutsiest four series effort by a player in the history of that tournament). GMac was of course a fan favorite.

And recently we have all had the pleasure of watching Jonny Flynn and his ironman efforts on the court, and his own heroic Big East tournament efforts this season.

Gerry McNamara came away with the most hardware for the decade, but the other three were better players. Flynn was fun to watch the last two years, but Warrick and Anthony were better. So it comes down to Anthony and Warrick. Warrick was Anthony’s wingman in 2003. But as I mentioned earlier, Anthony only played one year, and he won a National Title (but so did Warrick). Anthony never won a Big East title, and he was never the Big East Player of the Year (I know that politics played into that, but nevertheless it is a fact). If Warrick had played two years and Anthony one, I could go with Anthony. But Warrick played four years; Anthony only one. Warrick had impact on 40% of the decade, Anthony only 10%. Warrick played in 3 NCAA tournaments, Anthony one. Warrick won a Big East Title, Anthony none. Warrick was on the Big East First team 2x, Anthony only once. Warrick was the Big East Player of the Year, Anthony never won that distinction.

We could play the ‘yeah, but’ game with Anthony. If Anthony had stayed four years, he likely would’ve bettered all of Warrick’s accomplishments. But Anthony made a choice to leave Syracuse and go pro; Warrick chose to stay four years. I am not going to make a decision based on what could have happened, but instead on what actually did happen. And based on that, I choose Mr. Warrick.

As for the All Decade team, that a bit easier. I came down to a backcourt of Jonny Flynn and Gerry McNamara, and a front court of Carmelo Anthony, Hakim Warrick and Arinze Onuaku. I would have a three man bench, and this bench would help the Orange shoot the lights out: Preston Shumpert, Eric Devendorf, and Demetris Nichols. Of course, the coach of the decade would be the only coach this decade, Jim Boehim.

Agree or disagree with the Player of the Decade decision? I’ve set up a ranking on Rankopedia for you to make your own vote. And if you want to comment on any of the previous decade selections, feel free to leave me a comment.

It’s a long time until next fall, but I’ll be here every week or so with more comments on the Orange of past and present.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Career & Season Milestones 2008-2009

Syracuse had a veteran team in 2008-2009, and a successful season, and the combination of those two factors do help players gain certain statistical achievements.

Points Scored for Career

Eric Devendorf: 1680 Career Points, 14th all time. He has a chance at Lawrence Moten’s school record of 2334 points. He would need 655 points, or about an average of 18.7 points a game his senior year.

Paul Harris: 1253 points, 34th all time, right behind Tony Bruin with 1294 points

Jonny Flynn: 1211 points, 38th all time, 1 point behind Wendell Alexis. Flynn is 52% of the way to Moten’s record, so if he kept at his current pace and stayed at Syracuse for four seasons, he would break Moten’s record.

Arinze Onuaku: 896 points, needs 104 to get to 1000 points. He is 60th all time in Syracuse scoring; Rick Dean is ahead of him with 912 points.

Andy Rautins: 697 points, 82nd all time. He is 5 points behind Mel Besdin. Andy would need 334 points to tie his dad Leo, with 1,031 career points. Andy should reach that mark; he scored 387 points this season.

Career Rebounds

Paul Harris: 832 career rebounds, 14th all time. He needs fifteen to catch Etan Thomas. Harris has no chance of break Derrick Coleman’s record, but an excellent opportunity to finish 2nd on the Syracuse career list, needing 263 rebounds to surpass Rony Seikaly (Harris had season rebound totals of 248, 286, and 298 in his first three years).

Arinze Onuaku: 640 rebounds, 24th all time. He is 8 behind Marty Byrnes.

Rick Jackson: 324 rebounds, 58th all time. He is 9 behind Gerry McNamara.

Kris Onganaet: 309 rebounds, 63rd all time.

Eric Devendorf: 277 rebounds, 67th all time. He is 9 behind Ron Payton.

Andy Rautins: 209 rebounds, 86th all time. He is 3 behind Ernie Austin, and 320 behind his father, so Leo will be able to keep that honor away from his son.

Jonny Flynn: 198 rebounds, 88th all time. He is 6 behind Ross Kindel.

Career Assists

Jonny Flynn: 439 assists, 7th all time. He is 100 behind Eddie Moss for 6th place. Flynn is currently not on pace to break Sherman Douglas’ school record of 960, but it is something in his reach if he increases his assist production to about 8.6 assists per game (which would tie a school record).

Eric Devendorf: 374 assists, 14th all time. He is 7 behind Billy Owens.

Paul Harris: 254 assists, 31st all time. He is one behind John Wallace.

Andy Rautins: 176 assists, 49th all time. He is one behind Marty Byrnes, and 247 behind his father Leo, so once again dad looks to be able to hold onto that position.

Kris Onganaet: 75 assists, 81st all time.

Rick Jackson: 55 assists, 96th all time. He is one behind Fred Saunders for 95th.

Arinze Onuaku: 53 assists, 99th all time. He is one behind Rich Cornwall.

Three Point Field Goals

Eric Devendorf: 208 three point field goals, 3rd all time. He should catch Preston Shumpert for 2nd needing only 42 to pass him. However, Gerry McNamara seems safe at #1 with 400.

Andy Rautins: 184 three point field goals, 7th all time. He needs 6 to catch Marius Janulis, and should also pass Preston Shumpert needing 66 to accomplish that. Rautins trails Devendorf by 24 three point field goals; he had 20 more than Devo in 2008-2009, so it will be close to see who finishes second all time at Syracuse.

Jonny Flynn: 101 three point field goals, 15th all time. He needs 4 to tie Jason Cipolla.

Paul Harris: 22 three point field goals, 39th all time. He needs one to catch Michael Lloyd.

Mookie Jones and Kris Joseph both have 7 three point field goals, 46th all time. They are one behind Ramel Lloyd.

Kris Onganaet: 5 three point field goals, 51st all time.
Jake Presutti: 3 three point field goals, 56th all time.

Other Career Notes

Eric Devendorf is 7th in career turnovers with 331. Jason Hart holds the record with 436 which is within Devo’s grasp. Let us hope he doesn’t get it.

Arinze Onuaku is 14th all time in blocked shots with 113, and Rick Jackson is 15th with 104.

Eric Devendorf is 5th all time in 3 point shooting accuracy (minimum 100 attempts) at 37.8%. Andy Rautins is 10th at 35.9%. The worst ever was Elvir Ovcina at 24.2%. Paul Harris needs to attempt two more 3 point field goals to qualify; when he does that he’ll be the worst ever at 22.5% (and Harris would hold that record even if he made those two attempts).

Eric Devendorf is 14th all time in free throws made with 306.

Single Season Rankings

Harris’ 298 rebounds was the 18th best rebounding total for a season.

Johnny Flynn’s 180 free throws made was the 5th best single season ever for Syracuse. His 237 attempts was 10th best.

Arinze Onuaku set the school record for field goal percentage in a season with 178 of 268 made, or 66.7%, breaking the mark held by Roosevelt Bouie of 65.4% set in 1979-1980. Rick Jackson had the 6th best shooting season ever, with 139 of 223, or 62.3%.

Jonny Flynn set the school record for most minutes in a season with 1418 minutes, break John Wallace’s 1995-1996 record of 1379.

Flynn had the 4th best minutes/game mark with 37.3 minutes/game. Billy Owens owns the school record with 38.0 minutes/game, set in 1990-1991.

Flynn has the 5th best assist totals for a season with 254. Sherman Douglas holds the school record with 326 (Douglas is also #2 & #3 on the list). Flynn’s total was the 2nd most ever for a sophomore.

Flynn tied the school record for most games started in a season with 38, which has now been accomplished by 12 players.

Andy Rautins 102 three point field goals was 4th best ever for Syracuse. Gerry McNamara holds the record with 107.

Flynn had the 4th worst turnover total in school history with 129. Sherman Douglas holds the record with 139 in 1988-1989.

Flynn’s 663 points was the 11th best point total for a season, and the most points ever for a sophomore season.

Flynn’s 6.7 assists per game was the 6th best average for a season. Sherman Douglas holds the record with 8.6 per game.

There are 43 Syracuse players who have had more than 100 assists in a season where they also recorded turnovers. Jonny Flynn’s assist/turnover ratio of 1.97 is 10th best ever. Sherman Douglas holds the school record with a ratio of 2.85. Eric Devendorf has the 3rd worst season ever with a ratio of 1.01. Andy Rautins was 26th best, with a ratio of 1.53.

And then the really bad record: Arinze Onuaku obliterated the Syracuse season record for worst free throw shooter (100 minimum attempts) at 29.8% (37 of 124). The previous record was Terrence Roberts at 42.1%. Onuaku was so bad that if we lowered the standard to 50 attempts he still would hold the record (the previous record was 38.3% at that standard). Using the 100 minimum standard, Onuaku would still have broken the record if he had made an additional 15 free throws.

Onuaku has pulled ahead of Terrence Roberts for the worst career free throw shooter (minimum 200 attempts). Onuaku is at 38.7% (122 of 315), while Roberts was at a ‘lofty’ 42.1%. If Onuaku were to make the next 100 free throws he attempted, his career percent was only be 53%.

On the bright side, the greatest field goal percentage for a career for Syracuse (minimum 200 attempts) is 68.5% by Jeremy McNeil. Onuaku has a career percentage of 64.1%, which is second best ever.

Team Notes

Syracuse as a team had the 5th most wins ever in school history, with 28. In part this was because of tying a school record 38 games played (which was also accomplished in 1986-1987, 1988-1989, and 1995-96). That is what happens when you win preseason tournament, go four deep into the Big East Tournament, and play 3 NCAA Tournament games.

Syracuse finished the regular season ranked 13th in the AP polls. That is the 12th best finish for the Orangemen ever, and their best poll finish since 2004-2005 where they finished 11th.

Coach Jim Boeheim finished the year with 799 wins. His first win of 2009-2010 will give him #800.