Wednesday, November 28, 2007

John Wallace vs. Marcus Camby?

Sorry I've been slacking, but I'm back again.

Well, UMass started out 4-5 from three and haven't been able to score since. Devo and Greene both have their touch, Jonny is seeing the court well, and go figure... Harris is crashing the boards as always.

Luke Bonner for UMass, brother of former Gator and current Spur Matt Bonner, is 7'1" and can stroke like Greene.

UMass is on another run, we need to get back on D better. I think any team that makes or lets us run this year will be in for a rough time. Transition ball has been huge this game.

10:30 in the half. We need to limit turnovers from sloppy passes still. It's amazing how one pass will look like a highlight reel worthy play, and the next will be out of bound by 20 feet. I don't know what we're doing about that. Defense is still in my opinion the main liability on this team. We just fell asleep on an inbounds and let their point run the floor for an easy layup.

Devo seems to have all facets of his game working. He's been solid driving, good in transition and hitting his threes. He's also not been looking bad on D. Of course he misses a good look three as I'm typing this.

Flynn is making things happen. He's dishing well and driving well, while still looking inside out to pass. Overall our D is still looking sloppy, we need to get back and get out on shooters. On a good note, the rebounding is definitely there.
GREENE THROWS IT HOME!!! Of course its off a dish from Flynn.

Harris hit a three... I think Hell hath frozen over!

Flynn with 6 dishes so far, Harris with 12 pts, Greene with 12, this is a fun team to watch.

Come out at the half with some solid D, and were up by 12.

Flynn is seeing everything tonight. The D is looking solid as hell. We have only seen minimal minutes from the bench with Scoop, KO and Ricky getting about 3 minutes each.

AO just gets tackled, UMass is still hitting threes. Scoop's floater reminds me of Josh Pace, that little floater around the rim, so pretty. D definitely looks a lot better this half, has allowed us to open up a bit of a cushion

So it's 76-71 Cuse right now. We're on pace for over 100, problem is they almost are too. We need to get out on shooters, stop playing so loose and buckle down on defense. If you can't tell, its a recurring theme here tonight.

Scratch what I said about defense, we're getting tired out there. You can tell...

So it's a one point game out there. Mass has the ball. These last few posessions our O has settled down. Onuaku is a beast. I'll have more about him tomorrow. I don't know what the deal is, the D has looked better, and now Mass is hitting everything even with the world in their face. This Brower kid can shoot.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Gametime at the Garden

Sorry I've been slacking off lately, but a few other things have required my time. Now to the issue at hand. Tonight, Weds. November 21st, the 'Cuse heads to NYC to take on Ohio State at Madison Square Garden.

The Syracuse Orangemen vs. The Ohio State University Buckeyes

It looks to be another rumble, and a good test for our young kids. Seeing some top competition this early in the season can only be a good thing and I'm sure we'll learn from it win or lose.

First off a recap of our season stats:







FG %

3PT %

A:TO Ratio

Donte Greene









Eric Devendorf









Arinze Onuaku









Jonny Flynn









Paul Harris









Rick Jackson









Scoop Jardine









Kristof Ongenaet









Overall, we distribute points fairly evenly over the five starters. All five are in double figures. Its also good to have some low post guys who can score in Onuaku and Jackson. If we can maintain the scoring diversity we should be able to go a ways this year. Also, the A:T ratio shows that Flynn after his one bad 5TO game seems to alleviating that issue and is now at a 4:1 clip almost. People wonder why I have so much confidence with the ball in his hand (Sorry Josh)...

Now OSU's Season Stats. I'm going 3 deep on the bench based on playing time for comparison's sake.







FG %

3PT %

A:TO Ratio

Kosta Koufos









Jamar Butler









David Lighty









Othello Hunter









Evan Turner









Kon Diebler









PJ Hill









Matt Terwillinger









As you can see, Koufos, this years version of Greg Oden for them, is their leading scorer. Contrary to the Cuse though, they rely primarily on Koufos, Butler and Lighty to make their buckets. Butler is their shooter, at 9-18 from behind the arc. Hopefully the zone stretches to him, and AO, Rick and Greene don't get out of position down low on Koufos.

Lighty is the slasher/scorer/midrange guy (Think Devo, but more apt to pull up).

Koufos is my major concern though. Rick and Arinze give up 3 inches to this guy, though both weigh as much as he does. If one of them can stay bodied up on him at all times, and use the physical game on both ends of the court that I have seen out of them so far, I think we may be able to get him in foul trouble early. Jackson and Onuaku have not shyed away from the physical game yet, and if they bang hard down low on Offense, they will both be getting to the stripe, as Koufos will have to go over them to defend anything.

Overall the post will be the key to this game, along with the obvious limiting of turnovers. If we can handle Koufos down low, while getting production out of our two big men, we come away victorious.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

1-0, Best way to start the Season...

It's gonna be brief tonight folks, as I have some non-SU things needing my attention. We beat Siena last night. Not a big surprise, but watching it, there were a few moments I thought it would roll downhill. The sharpshooting and general poise of Jonny Flynn, who dropped a Syracuse Rookie First Game Record of 28 points, kept us in it.

Overall on O we need to settle into the offense more, some things looked forced or rushed.

On D we need to get that back line in the zone to learn how to stay home. Also, the trap out of the zone looked lackadaisical at best.

Be back with more tomorrow hopefully.

SU is on ESPN2 at 7pm. against St. Joseph's tonight.

It won't be an easy game, as this is a veteran club with talented athletes, and we all know they can shoot year in and year out.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Let the Games Begin!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Children of all ages...
Syracuse University
proudly presents, the 2007 'Cuse Hoops season!!

Overdone? Yes. Corny? Yes. Am I still pumped about tonight? Hell Yes. Jordoo on the RealCuseFans forum summed it up best. Today was like Christmas Eve, and tonight we get to open the presents and see what we've got...

Tonight we take on the Siena Saints, another young team, well coached, and are preseason favorites to win the MAAC. Granted they lost on Friday to James Madison, 100-88.

Starting Line-ups:
Syracuse Orange vs. Siena Saints
J. Wright/J. Flynn - PG - Ronald Moore 6'0" 149
Eric Devendorf 6'4" 178 - SG - Kenny Hasbrouck 6'3" 192
Paul Harris 6'5" 228 - SF - Edwin Ubiles 6'6" 197
Donte Greene 6'11" 226 - PF - Cory Magee 6'7" 223
Arinze Onuaku 6'9" 258 - C - Josh Duell 6'7" 259

Except I'm more excited about tonight than I am during the Yuletide season.

Some questions I'm looking to answer tonight:
  • Will Wright be back in the starting lineup after his ankle injury, or did Flynn secure his spot?
  • Will the young guns get the jitters in their first actual game?
  • Is Devo going to show the poise and knowledge of the flow of the game that he did in the preseason?
  • Does Arinze not foul out after the first 3 minutes?
All this and more coming up in my postgame wrap-up, cause you know I couldn't pass up being twenty minutes walk away from the Dome, and not show up.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Syracuse vs. LeMoyne: Round 2

Obligatory Halftime Rant:
Well, its a whole different team than we saw on Sunday in a lot of ways. AO has shown some offensive prowess, Greene can be legitimized as being damn good, Harris is back to playing his game (erratic at times, but hits the boards hard and hustles). One thing that concerns me is Flynn's A:T ratio tonight. 2:3 right now. He's definitely bringing an aspect of hustle and playing some tenacious D (Yes, I had to say it).

All in all, the zone looked fine, we weren't collapsing as well as you would expect, but that will come with time. The trap out of the zone is something they will need to get accustomed to. We have big men that can score. I would like to see Donte in the post more, but he is showing a Warrick like game tonight, with some mid-range post moves and also made the masses realize his 3 point shooting is not a fluke.

On to the action:

Looking good after the half. Came out with a great deal of hustle, everyone running. One thing I'm noticing this half is that it's been a while since we've had this much chemistry this early. Everyone seems to be willing to dish. No one is afraid to take the shot. They're playing with a poise I wouldn't expect out of a squad this young, and you can tell they're having a great time doing it.

Also, Greene has 21...

Greene is up to 26, Williams is now in. Granted I can't really give any feedback on him other than he needs to work on some offensive positioning. He hasn't been involved in any sort of plays at all. Devo with 4 fouls, so it looks like we'll be going young for a while. Also, its now 78-44...

Williams with his first statistic as an Orangeman! An assist to Jackson!

Team assist to turnover right now is 19:11.

The Hyphen is now noted as being the worst dancer on the team according to the TW26 announcers... Harris throws down a hard oop from Devo in transition. From what I see the zone could use a touch of work, but thats what the non-conference schedule is for right?

Double double now for Devo, showing his distribution ability. Presutti is checking in, good to see him get some court time. Flynn's ability to hit the three will really open up some possibilities for us this year. Jackson also has a double double.

Presutti finishes the game off with a 3, a fitting ending.

Final: Syracuse, 109 - LeMoyne, 59

Syracuse vs. LeMoyne

Alas, I will not be able to live blog this, as my laptop has decided to be a satan-spawned pile of trash and not work anymore. I will be back at the half with highlights and updates though...

Flynn's hustle will be what wins games for us this year. I just had to put that in writing. 2 steals on back to back plays, hustling for boards. The kid is a trooper.

Post D is sloppy. We're slacking off our man. It's mostly Jackson who is at fault, saw AO do the same thing. And Paul hasn't learned not to shoot a 3 yet...

2nd Timeout: So far it seems like were showing more affinity for the mid-range game, something I like. Solely man so far, but that's expected in the exhibitions. Ongenaut is showing some serious potential, seems to be a very fundamental player, though he needs to finish harder. I like to see people making the right cuts though.

Greene with 13 points so far. We're moving in transition, court vision and speed are greatly improved from last year. Devo is still a liability in the man sets. Overall this team will be a blast to watch.

All five frosh on the court, someone needs to take some leadership role on the court. You can tell theyre all young when they're on the court together.

Saw the zone for the first time, looked ok, forced a 3. Moved to a press,
Pressure D looks solid, Post feeds look phenomenal. AO with 7 straight points.

Williams got in just before the half. That wingspan is as gangly as it sounds. His arms touch his knees when he walks.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Exhibition Live-Blog Half #2

Halftime Rant:
Well the first half was all ups and downs. It seems for every high point (Greene's scoring, Flynn's control of the game), we have Jackson and AO with stone hands, Devo not finishing, basic defenses giving us trouble.

There was a ton of good ball movement, while at the same time the end of the half we let St. Rose back into it due to an inability to move the ball and sloppy passing.

Things to note:
  • Donte Greene is a stud, plain and simple.
  • Flynn can run the offense like a champ and makes the entire team better when he is onthe floor.
  • Jackson and Jardine are raw, but have potential.
  • The Hyphen is back
  • Harris was fairly quiet, but still hustles like crazy (still cant hit a 3 either).
  • Devo seems to be content as a cog in this, rather than trying to force everything or demanding the ball.
Tons of potential, lets see how the second half works out.

Second Half:

Came out with a little more fire, especially Harris with a nice baseline drive. Need to work for open shots more though.

Harris 0-2 from 3. We're getting out in transition though.
Note: Harris still looks like a boated fish when he tries to sell something.
AO is attacking the hoop hard.

Harris' D is looking suspect, not the tenacity he had last year. In general we look better on defense this half. Running with Scoop, Devo, Greene, KO and Jackson right now.

Scoop snipes a pass and takes it end to end for 2.

One thing I notice about Jackson is that he doesn't look for options. It seems his only goal is to get to the hoop and not dish it somewhere. Not sure how much I like that. Scoop turns the ball over, stops a 2-1, steals the ball, then finishes 1 on 3. God this is going to be another heart attack season...

Greene needs to hit a free throw, hes 1-4.

And our lack of D has gotten it to a tie game, 58-58 halfway through the 2nd half. This is something that needs to be addressed. TO's are out of control right now.

Hopefully Flynn can be our catalyst. The starting 5 is back on the court. I guess JB figures no more screwing around. Flynn at the line for 2 right now.

We're losing... Dagostino hitting things from god knows where.

Now I'm just getting frustrated. The freshmen are playing like such (stupid mistakes are expected), but Harris and Devo aren't showing anything. Spoke too soon, Devo for 3 and one! Back on top.

Harris no look to Flynn for the finish. These two work real well together. I guess it comes in handy that they played HS ball with each other...

Greene has kind of disappeared this half. 74-68 good guys right now. The transition game still looks good though.

AO with a double-double right now, 10 and 10.

Flynn takes an outlet, drives on an open hoop, tosses it off Harris grabs the oop and throws it down! Beautiful!

Final: Syracuse - 80, St. Rose - 71

Well, we made it out of there. I'll recap later on tonight. But quick sum, AO and PH with double-doubles, Greene and Devo with 16 points, and J. Flynn with 9 Assists. This is going to be a fun year.

Exhibition Live-Blog

Well this is my first attempt at this, so we'll see how it goes.

To start, one of the questions going into this game was answered. Mike Waters over at had speculated with not 100% certainty that J. Flynn would be our starting point guard. It seems that this is confirmed, as the live stats, found here support the claim. Thanks to douglas20 and pacusefan from the RealCuseFans board for the tidbits going into this and the stats link.

Now if TW26 would stop showing this game from yesterday and get on with something that matters I would be happy.

Gametime Cuse Fans!
Starting lineup:
  • PG - Flynn
  • SG - Devendorf
  • SF - Harris
  • PF - Green
  • C - Onuaku
Decent size crowd for an exhibition game at the Dome.

Donte is taking the tip, and wins it.

You can tell theres some first day jitters, but Greene just amazed me with a nice little dump pass to Harris, and taking it hard back to the rim off of a board. Its good to see that vision. Greene with the first points off a free throw.

Harris still cannot hit a three. I don't know why he tries anymore.

Greene with the nice finish on a pass from Flynn, this is looking like a familiar statement this year.

Onuaku with a huge block, this team is making me excited as hell for the upcoming season. Devo is finishing 1 on 3, we can penetrate at will. Granted this is a Division II team, but its still good to see.

Greene with a 20 footer, has 5 points so far. He looks confident, as does Flynn. Devo's left isn't seeming quite automatic as it has been in the past, hes missed 3 layups. Now Greene for 3, make that 8 points.

Skip and Jackson are now in, and Jackson has missed his first pass in his career. Harris needs to settle back down, he still gets too excited in transition.

KO checks in. Jackson is going up hard, but it seems like he is extending his body a bit too much. We need to get in the gym and hit some free throws.

Harris with the oop to Flynn, some NF boys hooking up. From what I'm seeing our best bet is inherently with Flynn on the court. Jardine with his first points on a baseline J.
Ongenaut can hit a 3 as well apparently, our whole frontcourt is a more talented version of Matt Gorman.

Greene banks in a three. 11 points so far. Overall were moving impressively, but the D is a little weak. Backside, and rotations need to be worked on. Make that another 3 and 14 pts for Greene.

Jackson and Scoop back in. We are definitely showing better ball movement than I have seen in recent years. Greene with his 16th on a putback.

So the two HS combos both look good together, now we just need to integrate that all around. Scoop and Rick hooked up on a nice feed. Jackson with a block. The Hyphen is now in.

We're looking sloppy when double teamed. Trying to force too much down low instead of swinging the perimeter, which is what has been working for us all game.

Halftime: Syracuse 39, Saint Rose, 36

Syracuse vs. St. Rose

Alright folks, the time we've been waiting for is almost upon us. The Cuse faithful can see this extremely young and talented team mesh for the first time outside of Manley (granted it's in the Dome, so not too far outside).

To sum up Saint Rose:
  • Their PG, DeAugustino is the reigning Conference POY (17ppg, 4.8apg, 2.0spg) and handy defensively. This will give us a good gauge of Flynn and Jardine handling the ball and well, I guess we get to see Josh Wright against him as well...
  • Shanty Robinson is their key post man (10 and 6 per game), granted he is only listed at 6'4," so I don't really know what to say about him. their tallest player is only 6'8."
  • Will Monica is the shooter, and will be the one to test the zone, letting us see how well we rotate out, and cover.
Overall its a team with limited size. They put up a 22-10 record last year, making the NCAA's in Division II. We shouldn't be in for a Michigan State type performance, and this will give the young guns a good stepping stone in to the world of college hoops at Cuse.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

Ok, so I lied about the preview, but I will have a definitive one up before the regular season starts. Things other than blogging have been taking up my time. But to the issue at hand...

Sunday kicks off the Syracuse Basketball season in game form... sort of. The first scrimmage of the year, against the College for the Blind, wait, College of Saint Rose, tips of at 2pm on Sunday. We finally get to see what JB feels like doing with this team.

Will Wright start over Flynn?
Has Greene filled out a but since he arrived on campus?
What does Kristof Onganet look like?
Has Harris signed up for a linebacker spot on our glorious gridiron squad yet?
Will Onuaku shatter any backboards?

All of these questions and more, including real ones like how JB will run this squad, and will they get out of the zone and run more given the immense team speed we have this year, will be answered. It's almost upon us. We can forget about the state of our football program (though there have been some solid points), and look to the future of SU hoops.

We shall see. I might even live-blog the scrimmage...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Season Preview

Just kidding... I'm writing one up at the moment and will be running with it by the end of the week.

Oh yeah, and that football team that we all forgot about beat Buffalo 20-12 this weekend. As MJ at Nunes said... International Bowl, here we come!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Send it in, Arinze!

The backboard shattered.

Cuse basketball is officially back, with a bang. In the middle of last night's "Midnight" Madness scrimmage/dunk contest, our boy AO brought down the basket in Manley. After an entry pass from Harris, Onuaku took it hard to the hoop, and brought the glass down on him.

A night that featured messages from legends (Leo, 'Melo, and Wallace), the presence of legends (Pearl) and recruits that could become legends (Kris Joseph, Assane Sene), the backboard shattering dunk took the cake.

Apparently Harris can still jump, as he cleared two of the teams managers on route to winning the dunk contest.

To the recruits...
Joseph I already did a piece about, and he only seems to be getting better. 6'7", long wingspan, perfect Boeheim swingman.

Sene is a seven footer out of South Kent (CT), who we're actively recruiting. He has some serious potential and could be a force in the middle if he chooses the Cuse. Having him attend the festivities, and seeing the absurdity that is SU Fandom, the support by the former players and being able to talk to Joseph, who has already committed, was a great move by JB.

All in all this seems to be a hell of a way to kick off the new year. It could be like Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez hitting the cover off the baseball in "The Sandlot," an omen of good things to come.

And the video:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Another Mookie?

It's official folks, were only 1 year away from another Mookie around the hill. Mr. Watkins has left us, and Mr. Jones is on his way. Donnie doesn't go into too much detail in the linked post, but Mookie will be a solid asset to this team.

From Peekskill, NY, the 6'6"(6'7"?) averaged 22.6ppg, 11 boards and 6 blocks his junior season. He'll be a solid swingman, that should be able to both help scoring and at the bottom of the zone. Lets keep the recruits coming.

Also this probably means that James Southerland will reclassify for the '09 class, as was previously anticipated, freeing his scholly up.

As always, JB and his sidekick Hoppy come through...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A tidbit from the Emerald Isle...

Everyone's favorite big doofy white Orangeman is going to be playing professional ball. No I'm not talking about Craig Forth... or Billy Celuck... or Elvir, or Reafsnyder... Christ we've had some guys that have fit that description.

No, Matty G is headed to Ireland to play professionally. He will play for the Cork County Neptune of the Irish Super League, the top league in the country. His professional salary, $425 a week. May the luck of the Irish be with ya Matty. He was one of those guys I wish could have seen more court time, but he gave us some solid minutes during his 5 years around town. If only he could have had more of a low presence and not desired to be a shooting guard...

In other news, the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center has had its groundbreaking ceremony. More on this later...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

We won something else!

A-Ro as MJ over at Nunes is a Magician seems to take to calling him has officially won the USAToday Player of the Week Poll after his performance last week.

It keeps getting better...

Monday, September 24, 2007

I need to be condescending towards SU more often...

Apparently when I talk depressing about the Orangemen, good things happen. Two days ago, the boys shocked the hell out of the world with a 38-35 victory over #18/19 Louisville... IN KENTUCKY.

Andrew Robinson decided he was going to come out of his shell, throwing for 400+ and 4TDs, including two to Taj Smith. So much for 0-3, wanting to have Greg's head after a 0-4 start, now we can sing the praises of the coach who got us our first big win since beating BC in '04. Isn't it funny how sports work?

Vote for Taj for player of the week while you have some down time as well. (And yes, I realize the Taj picture is in the loss to Illinois).

Now on to Miami(OH), (who got housed by Colorado this week) to make it a 2 game streak.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Opening Day Blog for the '07-'08 Season...

After the summer off... and a depressing fall so far I guess I'll get back at it.

To sum up the fall:
1) Jim Brown and Ernie Davis would be right pissed off at the state of our football program.
2) Our Major 3pt threat for the upcoming season is having to repair a busted knee.
3) Did I mention the Orange Linebackers are horrible?
4) Flynn looked amazing over the summer on the U19 team.
5) Greene looked unpolished, but has a ton of upside.

There's still potential in the football program to win a game or two. There is also the potential to have Steve Slaton and Pat White rush for 300 a piece against us... Lets see who shows up.

Despite the loss of Homebrew Drew, the hoops squad will look to be solid, returning Devendorf and Harris, while a very promising pack of newcomers, and getting Onuaku back from his redshirt year. The only major issue arising at the moment is how well our lack of size and experience in the frontcourt will play out.

I'll be back with more later.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

In Hop We Trust

Well I know its been a while since the last update and all, but fear not, I now have something relevant to post about. For years the question has been up in the air as to who will succeed our fearless leader Jim Boehiem when he finally decides to pack in the orange sneaks after all these years. Well, the answer, as many have speculated, is officially none other than Mike Hopkins.

Hopkins played the two for the Cuse from 89-90 until 92-93, and was one of many in our line of "scrappy white guards." He has coached for the Orange for the past 12 years, after a short stint in the CBA and Europe. He seems to have gained a bit of recruiting talent from his mentor, and was instrumental in bringing in former and current players that you might have known about, namely Warrick, J. Hart, McNamara, P. Harris, and the incoming Freshman class.

While not really a surprise to any of the Orange faithful, it is good to see it in writing. Hopkins knows the system and is following the JB method of success. Boeheim played for the Orange, had a short minor-league career and came back as an assistant, only to land the head coaching position when Roy Danforth stepped aside.

Congrats to Mike Hopkins. It's good to see the program will remain in capable hands.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

If there wasn't enough reason to be excited about the incoming freshman class, I don't know what you get your kicks from. If this was the case though, there's a chance that one more piece of information may make you hop on the bandwagon.

Not only were two of our recruits (Donte Greene and Jonny Flynn) McDonald's All-Americans, now Mr. Greene has brought back some hardware from an All-American Game.' Donte was named the MVP of the Jordan Brand All-American Classic this week, after a 20 point performance. In the process he also was victorious in the dunk contest.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Falling in to Place...

The first recruit of the 2008 class has officially committed. Though this isn't really breaking news at this point, I figured I'd relay the info that Kris Joseph has made his verbal to the Cuse. Joseph is a 6'7" wing out of Quebec who played at Archbishop Carroll in DC averaging 18 and 10. A 4-Star recruit on Scout, and the #6 rated SF, #26 overall, the Cuse is reputed to be his "dream school." The final decision apparently came to Syracuse (closer to home), and Georgetown (closer to DC where he plays his HS ball). He is the younger brother of MSU guard Maurice Joseph.

Joseph is basically purely offense, can play the outside, pass well, and take it to the hoop. At the present he seems to be lacking in the defensive brilliance, but knowing JB, I think we can work on that. Not to mention at 6'7" and athletic he can cover the bottom of the zone.

As OrangeFan stated, our targets for the 2008 class need to begin to revolve around a combo 4-5 and another Wing-PF combo. As of now our roster breaks down with an inordinate amount of guards. For 2008 we are looking at the following:

PG - Jonny Flynn, Scoop Jardine
SG - Eric Devendorf, Andy Rautins
SF - Paul Harris
PF - Donte Greene, Rick Jackson
C - Arinze Onuaku, The Hyphen (thanks Jim), and Sean Williams

If we can fill in that gap in the middle (which is the same gap we have this year) then I would consider the 2008 recruiting class a huge sucess. This is already taking one huge step in the right direction towards that.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I'm back....

To the joy of those who actually look at this blog (all two of you), and much to the chagrin of many, I'll be back on a (fairly) consistent posting schedule. For the last few weeks, work and the such has taken a bit of my time and I have not been terribly reliable on my posting. The silence since the Otto's has been broken, and I will begin to get back into the posts again ASAP.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Otto Award #13: Biggest Villain/Rival of the Year (The True S.O.B. Award)

Alright kids, back to work. It's now time to kick off the third glorious day of the First Annual Syracuse Orange Blogger Awards, aka the SOB's, or the Otto's, take your pick...

The first award presented today will be for Biggest Villain, Nemesis, or Rival of the Year. There were many teams, reporters, committees that gave us all pains due to our hatred of them this year. UConn gave us fits through all three games, showing that no matter how young they are they can still show up for a rivalry. Georgetown re-emerged as a legitimate team in the Big East, and vaulted back to premier rivalry status. We got absolutely hosed by the group of no-talent ass-clowns known as the NCAA selection committee. Reporters the likes of Doug Gottleib have been on our butts all year regarding everything from a soft OOC Schedule, to a lack of quality win to pin on our resume. Those are the three main competitors. You know its an odd year when UConn barely makes this list.

I digress, on to the award:

The SOB for Most Hated Villain/Nemesis/Rival of the Year:
This award is presented to a deserving dissenter, rival, or just plain idiot who has demonstrated an innate ability to piss of as many Syracuse Orange fans as possible at any given moment during the season.

The Nominees:
Nominations came down to a very tight race. In the end there were two... Doug Gottleib and Gary Walters. Gottleib, as noted in a phenomenal rant by Sean at TNIAAM, has had a long and storied history of disdain for our team and league. Also now this has escalated to include directly Jimmy B, and Devo after his comment earlier this year.

Gary Walters, as you all probably know is the NCAA Selection Committee Chairman. He helped spearhead the "World's Worst Snub" of the Cuse from the NCAA tournament, yet somehow anticipated that he would still be personal friends with Boeheim...

The Ballots:
Voting as follows:
TNIAAM: Tie - Gottleib and Selection Committee
Cuse Country: Tim - Gottleib, Josh - Selection Committee
SNWHM: UConn/Calhoun
OrangeHoops: Gary Walters
Getting Back to '03: Walters, (Rival: Georgetown)
Orange44: Walters

In the end Walters wins the vote (Selection Committee counts towards him) in a rout: 4-2-1-1
The inclusion of UConn in the vote was rational, as an under performing and young team could have cost us a lot, showing they are still on our radar.
It doesn't matter how bad they are, they still found a way to beat Syracuse once and could have cost the Orange a better seed in the Big East Tournament.
-Howie, SNWHM
Gottleib took second due to his history with us, being on us all season and his lack of desire to include us in the field even after beating the #10 team in the nation for our "token win."
Some would say the selection committee, but I've only held a grudge against them for a few weeks. Gottlieb's been on my bad side since November.
-Tim, Cuse Country
And of course our good friend Gary Walters. Somehow he found rationale to deny this team its right to play in March with the big guns, and was able to skirt the question through the rest of the time it was in the media. He had no basis for what he and his cronies did, yet was somehow able to get away with it.
This man somehow left Syracuse out of the NCAA's. He should be lynched and may his children marry unwashed heathens...
-Matt, Orange44

In a rarity, Gary Walters is able to trump all on-court action this year, and become the season’s biggest Villain (and also its most notable idiot).
-Ray, OrangeHoops
Overall it was a season of villainy rivalry and downright pillaging of the Syracuse way of life. UConn remained at the front of our rivalries, while Georgetown decided to jump out to the front of the pack by coming back into prominence. While there were many on-court issues occurring, the off-court idiocy of the talking heads and the powers that be were able to take the thunder away from a fantastic season. In hindsight, the NIT run may have unified our fan-base and given us a touch of hope (look back to the '02 NIT to '03 NCAA turnaround), but I think we have been royally jerked around by the committee, and I fully agree that Gary Walters and the Selection Committee fully deserve this aptly named SOB award.

Next tune in to Howie, over at Sports Night with Howie Mansfield, for the presentation of Best Junior at 1pm. It should be an interesting award...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Otto Award #9: Best Non-Boeheim Syracuse Orange Quote of the Year

Well friends, we all know that our favorite Hall of Fame coach has had numerous quotable quotes throughout the years. In this section of our awards presentation, it's time to look beyond the shroud of Jimmy B's sarcastic wit, and deeper into the minds of our players.

The SOBA for Best Non-Boeheim Syracuse Orange Quote of the Year:

And the winner is.... No Consensus...

The finalists for this award covered a very narrow area of topics, and all occurred over a two week span, from the Georgetown win, to the San Diego State win. Lets do this chronologically.
"(This win) is going to shut Doug Gottlieb up and that's all I'm worried about.”
-Eric Devendorf, Feb. 26th, on the Georgetown win
Submitted by Sean at TNIAAM, supported by myself.
This one seems to show that we fans aren't the only ones who hate Doug Gottleib. He is despised by the players as well. It seems like Devo wants to join in on the ongoing feud between Mr. Credit Card and our fearless leader. Also leading into the stretch run, the fire from the team that was fanned by people like Gottleib helped contribute to a great win in SU Hoops this year.
"Syracuse is in."
-Various TV and Online College Hoops analysts, Doug Gottleib included, leading up to March 11th.
Submitted by Josh at Cuse Country
Well, I think this quick and to the point quote says it all. All the talking heads in the country declared Cuse in, 29/30 "expert" polls had us in, and somehow we were snubbed. The world works in mysterious ways my friends.
"I think Syracuse should have been in the tournament. They play well in the tournament. They’re like Louisville. They know what to do, and they’re very well coached. They’re just too good to leave out of this tournament. I was glad that Arkansas got in. But I didn’t understand why Syracuse and Florida State couldn’t get in."
-President Bill Clinton, March 15th, on "The Snub"
Submitted by Matt at Orange44.
When our own former President supports the Cuse to get into the tournament, we need to recall the selection committee. I mean, its Bill... come on, take some of what he has to say to heart...
"We can't guarantee that we're going to win the tournament, we CAN guarantee that we'll be ready for every game."
-Demetris Nichols, March 15th, South Alabama Post-game
Submitted by Ray from OrangeHoops.
After the snub, and the initial comeback win, Demetris came back with this quote. The Cuse truly rallied around the snub, when others could have laid down to it. In the S. Alabama game they showed a great deal of heart and were helped along by 16,000+ screaming fans in the Dome.
"During the Notre Dame game, we didn't play up to our ability. They ended up booing us. Today they came back cheering us. We know the reason why we got booed so we didn't want that to happen again. We've been playing up to our ability and playing hard every minute of every game."
-Darryl (Mookie) Watkins, March 20th, San Diego State Post-game
Submitted by Howie at SNWHM.
Mookie's reaction to the SDSU record setting attendance crowd, and how much the Orange faithful were behind them. I like to see that, as you can kind of take it to heart that we as fans DO have an impact on the players, whether with them or behind them (Though I don't condone the booing of our own team).

Well without a clear winner, I guess you readers can pick your own. I find that this run of quotes tends to sum up the SU season in a nutshell, from disappointment to determination and everything in between.

Don't forget to stop by Cuse Country around 3 to catch the next installment of the SOBA's, awarding the Otto for Favorite Game of the Year.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Otto Award #5: Best Senior

Thank you Howie. If you didn't catch the last award, Howie (SNWHM) has just awarded the SOB-A for Best Syracuse Related Photo to Jim Boeheim for his piece entitled "Channeling the Feelings of the Orange Nation."

After reading the post title, I'm assuming all of you readers will know where this is going. Award description may or may not read as follows: Award for the exemplary performance of a senior athlete on the Basketball team of Syracuse University. The recipient will have shown leadership, skill and all around integrity on the court throughout the season.

If you read that inscription, there is only one option on our roster that can fit the bill. Drum roll please...

The unanimous winner of the Syracuse Orange Blogger Award for Best Senior goes to Demetris Nichols.

Ok, It's probably not much of a shock, but he definitely deserved every bit of the recognition he received, and possibly a bit more. On to the rationale. Though some felt compelled to write on their thoughts of why our recipient should be the best senior, it seems that others were able to sum it up in a single word... "Nichols."
Both of the Cuse Country guys, as well as myself opted for the single word, quick and to the point answer.

Demetrius picked up his scoring and played better defense. He make himself more of a game changer, and a leader.
~Howie from Sports Night with Howie Mansfield

Ray from OrangeHoops decided that one word wasn't enough, going for the massive four word answer: "Demetris Nichols... by far."

Sean over at TNIAAM summed it up as such:
However Harris played and Devendorf ran the point, we knew it would be up to the senior frontcourt to define this season. And we certainly did live and die with their play, none more so than Demetris Nichols. He stepped up and became a leader on the stat sheet as well as on the court. He leaves us wishing we had one more season with him.
Similarly Matt from Orange44:
As a member of a senior class that underwhelmed from the word "go," Nichols clearly realized much of the potential that many claimed he had during his recruitment. He will go down in Syracuse history as one of the more under-appreciated players in the Boeheim era -- a sad fact considering the number of Orange players that many recognize as "great" -- but the fact remains that he was the primary reason Syracuse won the number of games it did this season.
Though all the seniors will be missed dearly, and their heart will be tough to replace, this award belongs far and away to Demetris. All in all Nichols has undoubtedly stepped his game up a huge notch from his Junior campaign, was mere votes away from a Big East POY award and was voted First Team All Big East, and Honorable Mention All America.
There was no person during any point in this season that did as much to step up and rise to the occasion as much as Demetris did, save maybe Devendorf down the stretch. (He's not a senior, therefore not eligible for this one, check out the Sophmore awards though, he might make a showing...) I would say that qualifies him as the Best Senior and a worthy recipient.

Check out Ray over at OrangeHoops for the final presentation of the day, and be sure to tune in at noon tomorrow with Howie for the start to the 2nd day of festivities.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Syracuse Orange Blogger Awards

After the ups and downs of this hoops season, it seems that the powers that be (read: Those of us with enough spare time to write about Cuse Hoops too many times this year) have had a meeting of the minds. The collective of blogs contributing to the first annual Syracuse Orange Blogger Awards have come to a consensus. Over the next three days you can find the results of the voting between the likes of Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician (from here on out TNIAAM), Orange44, Cuse Country, SportsNight with Howie Mansfeld, Orange Hoops and yours truly starting at 12EST on TNIAAM.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

This is getting too familiar...

Syracuse, NY ~Mid February

A Syracuse team that has had trouble gelling finally gets it and makes a run. Finishing out their last 10 games impressively, including big wins over the stretch. The toppling of Georgetown is among these victories. The biggest snub in NCAA history occurs, and this 22-10 team who finished 5th in the Big East (A power conference) somehow gets the boot from the selection committee. Upstate NY is thrown for a loop.

Fast Forward to Mid-March.
Same team is on the floor in a post-season tournament (not the one they wanted, but let's stick it to Walters). Run through the first two rounds of the tournament, including setting a record for NIT attendance along the way in the Carrier Dome, with arguably the best crowd of the season. The world is riding high on 'Cuse hoops (or at least we all are).

Last night:
Travel to Clemson to take on a Tigers team that is in the dumps, but has been rolling much like the Orange in the NIT. Clemson decides to hit everything from beyond the arc in the first half, finishing at .474 for the game (season long .338 team), while Cuse, a team known for it's shooting hits .188, the only shooter hitting being D. Nichols. You'd think we get blown out, and figure the season is a wash right?

Of course not! We rebound from a 17 point deficit in the second half, make a 22-7 run, and bring the game back within a point under a minute. I called it perfectly over in my South Alabama post-game thread, the state of Cuse Hoops has been a roller coaster for the last few years, every game.

The seniors gave everything they have to keep this run alive, and I respect them for it. The more I look back on it, the more I'm going to miss this group. They may not have been the smartest players, (Hoops IQ-wise), but damn it they gave everything they had on every day it seemed. From the heartache vs Wichita State when DNic missed the layup, to Roberts playing the end of the season and finishing it out on one leg, these guys have been great. Watching Mookie develop into a legitimate Center, and even seeing Gorman rocking around in his assless chaps at Providence...

Basically all I'm trying to say is that it was good to see this group of seniors step up and take the reigns, when at the beginning of the season everyone wondered "What will we do without Gerry?" Well, I'm here to pose a new question "What will we do without DNic? or Mookie?" There are some gaps to fill now and hopefully we can have immediate impact from Flynn, Greene, Scoop, and Jackson when they show up on campus to fill those shoes.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Should we visit Mike Jones on the way?, Nah just leave him some tickets...

After a great win over San Diego State University, in a record setting attendance night for the NIT tournament with over 26,000 fans in the Dome last night, the Orangemen are on their way to South Carolina. I know I normally do a recap of the game, but if the fact that we rolled 80-64, with Todd Burach getting a basket in his final Dome game of his career don't sum it up, then Brian over at Orange44 had a great recap as well.

Down in the great state of South Carolina, the boys are looking to match up with a Clemson Tigers team that was the hottest thing since the Furby craze at the beginning of the year. Since that 17-0 start, against powerhouses Appalachian State, and Wofford, (and people criticize the SU non-conference schedule), the Tigers have successfully finished out of the NCAA's and into the NIT. Clemson's only notable wins came over BC (split) and Georgia Tech (also split). They basically choked more than Bobby Knight at Indiana.

Anyway, here's how we match up vs. the Tigers.

Starting Lineups:
Clemson - Pos. - Syracuse
Vernon Hamilton - 6'0" - PG - Eric Devendorf - 6'4"
Cliff Hammonds - 6'3" - SG - Andy Rautins - 6'5"
K.C. Rivers - 6'5" - SF - Demitris Nichols - 6'7"
Trevor Booker - 6'7" - PF - Terrence Roberts - 6'10"
James Mays - 6'9" - C - Mookie Watkins - 6'11"

Yet another team we should be able to out-size, though it seems we have trouble doing so this year. Our Bigs tend to play more solidly against larger teams (Mookie vs. Gray or Hibbert, as opposed to S. Alabama's Little). It looks like Nichols should have a reach advantage over Rivers, and should be able to extend his jumper over him.

Rivers is their leading scorer at 13.3ppg, also averaging 4.5 boards. All five of their starters average in double figures for points, with Rivers, Mays and Hamilton at 12.3, Hammonds at 11.7, and Booker at 10.4. They don't get much production off the bench, with the next leading scorer Sam Perry at 3.6ppg.

Hammonds is the primary distributor at 4.1apg, and Hamilton at 3.7. Mays and Booker take the boards at 6.5 a piece. On paper this seems like a very favorable match up, and I don't know how much they have seen an active zone. They are not a great shooting team from deep, but are solid, with Rivers at .391 and Hammonds at .374 on the year, and .369 as a team (opposed to our .369 and Nichols at .418, Devo and Homebrew Drew hovering around .360). They also seem to give up plenty of good looks from the field, with Opp FG% a very high .444 .

All in all it should be an interesting game. Though the fan support won't be there, neither will Clemson's. They average only 7,217 attendance per game. Maybe Mike Jones will show up and help root for the team he transferred from?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

First Stanford, Now Duke...

NIT Challenge

In the First Annual and Hopefully Last Cuse Country NIT Pick-em, It seems like the DutchHart bracket is making a push. Sitting in second after sweeping Wednesday nights games at a total of 13 points (16 possible), I've found that the NIT isn't as bad as it seems. I'm actually getting excited for the Orange to make a run in this.

As for last night. The game against S. Alabama, to me seemed like a culmination of every Cuse game played in the last two years.

Recipe for Syracuse hoops:
1. Come out flat.
2 Get down on yourselves and down middle of the first half.
3. Make a solid push towards the half.
4. Screw the pooch right before the half.
5. Come out decent at the start of the second half.
6. Mid way through, someone (read: GMac, DNic, Devo) decides to turn it on and carry the team.
7. Heres where theres two options:
A) Player from step 6 carries team to victory (Devo last night, Gerry every night)
B) Player from 6 plays well but rest of the team is so god awful that game it doesn't matter (DNic vs St. Johns)

Devendorf was absolutely incredible last night with 34pts and 6 dishes. Nichols finished with 15 on an off day shooting, and Mookie had another solid day of 8pts, 11rbds, and 3 swats. He was showed up by Ernest Little of USA though, grabbing an impressive 17 pts, 18 rbds, and 5 blocks in the game of his career/life. Respect goes out to him for bringing his "A" game when some people could have been intimidated in the Dome. The Cuse is on deck against San Diego State on Monday at the Dome at 7pm. Hopefully we'll show up with the 17k fans that broke an NIT attendance record last night.