Cause We Need More Laundry To Worship

In Friday's post about the uniform numbers for the basketball freshman, I mentioned that I thought if anyone deserves to have their number retired by SU, its Gerry McNamara. A comment I received challenged that notion.

"Warrick was vastly superior to GMAC. He should get retired first."


That got me thinking. If SU was in the business of retiring numbers often, who deserves the honor?


First off, I ranted about this earlier in the year but I have to state that I am firmly against the practice of retiring numbers. Look at that humorous
Scot Pollard quote from last week about why he chose the number 66 on the Celtics. "Because all the other fucking numbers were taken here." And he's absolutely right. It's absurd that the team already eliminated eleven of the first twenty possible jersey numbers. So I need to set some ground rules.

#1 - We can't possibly use my standards. I'm the kind of person who feels the Baseball Hall of Fame should be so exclusive that Tony Gwynn would have been on the fence for inclusion. We reward "great" too much instead of saving that honor for "iconic."
#2 - We're assuming Syracuse retires numbers on a constant basis. Let's pretend there's a Ring of Orange around the Carrier Dome and there's room for growth.
#3 - For the most part, we'll be looking at stats and records but the human element will be taken into account whenever possible (as it will for the Carmelo argument)
#4 - We must use all previous retirees as a basis for future ones. They include Rony Seikaly (#4), Vic Hanson (#8), Wilmeth Sidat-Singh (#19), Sherman Douglas (#20), Dave Bing (#22), Pearl Washington (#31) and Derrick Coleman (#44).
#5
- Derrick Coleman played until 1990, so having played most recently of all the retirees, we'll only go with players who matriculated after him (circa 1990 and later).

So who's up for consideration?


#30 Billy Owens
(1989 - 1991)
Pros:
BE POTY
3-time BE 1st Team
All-American 1st Team

23.2 Scoring Avg as Junior

Cons:

Disappointing post-season results

Left after junior season
Analysis: Owens was let down by his teammates a lot during his tenure and I think that carries over into this as well. Despite leading the team to a 26-4 record, his junior season is defined by who they lost to when it mattered most (#15 Richmond) more than anything.
Final Judgement:
No

#21
Lawrence Moten
(1992 - 1995)
Pros:

BE ROTY

3-time BE 1st Team

Syracuse All-Time Leading Scorer
Fantastic Nickname: "Poetry in Moten"

Cons:
No sizable post-season accolades

Disappointing pro career

Analysis:
Whereas Owens' stats don't do enough to overcome his lack of post-season heroics, Moten has stats in spades. Just by being the all-time scorer puts him in contention and the three-time All-Big-East honors puts him over the top.
Final Judgement:
Yes

#44 John Wallace (1993 - 1996)
Pros:

Four-year starter

22.2 Scoring Avg Senior Year

2-time BE 1st Team
Syracuse #3 All-Time Scorer

Syracuse #3 All-Time Rebounder

Final Four Participant
Cons:

Disappointing Pro Career

Analysis:
What the man lacked in pizazz early on in his career, he more than made up for by senior year. Not only a scorer but a force on the boards, Wallace became something that we don't see often enough in an Orange uniform, a fierce leader. It's cliche to say that someone carried their team in the post-season these days but Wallace did just that, taking the Orange all the way to an unexpected National Title game appearance. And even though the Orange fell short, it wasn't due to Wallace (29 points, 10 boards).
Final Judgement:
Yes. Although I'm not sure how we work out the whole #44 thing.

#5 Jason Hart (1997 - 2000)
Pros:

Four-year starter

BE 3rd Team (Jr.)

BE 1st Team (Sr.)
Syracuse #2 All-Time Assists

Cons:

Leadership skills questionable
Lack of post-season success

Analysis:
Hart came to SU with lot of promise and although he delivered on some of it, he didn't quite live up to the hype either. The Orange made it to the Sweet 16 twice with him but they also went to the NIT for the first time in almost 20 years. Not entirely his fault but Hart came to be the face of a brief disappointing era in SU basketball.
Final Judgement:
No

#33 Etan Thomas (1997 - 2000)
Pros:

BE 3rd Team (So.)

BE 2nd Team (Jr.)
BE 1st Team (Sr.)

BE Most Improved Player (So.)

BE Defensive POTY (Sr.)

Led Team in Scoring and Rebounding Senior Year

Cons:

Solid but Never Outstanding

Known For Foul Trouble

Analysis:
Etan and I were in the same class and I remember a game freshman year against Duke. Etan had just swatted a shot under the basket. He took the time to flex and mug for the camera all-the-while a Duke sharpshooter had retrieved the ball and hit a three. For a while, that defined Etan to me. But he matured immensely and become a great part of the team in later years. You never really said to yourself "there goes a great player" though. His pro career has bee solid but we all know Etan now for reasons other than his stellar play.
Final Judgement:
No

#3 Preston Shumpert
(1999-2002)
Pros:

Syracuse #8 All-Time Scorer

Syracuse #2 All-Time Three Point Scorer
Syracuse Single-Season Three-Point Record Holder

BE Most Improved Player (Jr.)

2-time BE 1st Team

Cons:
Defensive Liability
Lack of Post-Season Success
Analysis: We all remember Preston as an assassin from three-point range. But do you remember how many teams he was a leader or that he took over a game? I'm sure it happened once or twice, but more like you remember the 2001-2002 season when the team started 14-2 and then imploded. Sadly, that's as much a part of Shumpert's legacy as the shooting records.

Final Judgment:
No

#15 Carmelo Anthony
(2003)
Pros:

22.2 Scoring Average

BE 1st Team
BE ROTY

1st Team All-American

Led Orange to National Title

Cons:

Only spent one season with Orange

Analysis
: Oh boy, here's a toughie. Carmelo is our savior, our messiah. He was a star who burned brightly for a brief time and then went away to a magical place where the beer flows like wine...Denver. There's no denying Carmelo's impact that season. He has a big hand in why the program is at the level its at now and getting top recruits to follow in his footsteps. But retiring numbers is about remembering those who put in the time and effort to become one of us, isn't it? Isn't it about honoring those who we want to immortalize because the populace-at-large can't possibly understand how important this person was to us? Everyone knows about Carmelo, he has no shortage of accolades and praise. Let's leave the honor to those who not only became stars but also became a part of our community.
Final Judgement:
No

#3 Gerry McNamara
(2003 - 2006)
Pros:

Four-year starter

Remembered as great clutch-shooter

The 2006 Big East Tournament (nuff said)

BE Tournament MVP
Syracuse 4th All-Time Scorer

Syracuse #1 All-Time Free Throw Percentage

Syracuse #1 All-Time Three Point Shots Made

Syracuse #1 All-Time Minutes Played

Syracuse #3 All-Time Assists

Syracuse #2 All-Time Steals

National Champion

Cons:

Um...clingy parents?

Disappointing Pro Career
Analysis:
Really? Do we need to analysis this? Look at those records. Hell, just watch the video of the 2006 Big East Tourmant highlights if you need to. Or G-Mac's big shots in the 2003 National Title game. Or his clutch game-winner over BYU in the tourney.
Final Judgement:
Yes, Yes, Yes

#1 Hakim Warrick
(2002 - 2005)
Pros:

BE Most Improved Player (So.)

BE POTY (Sr.)

2-time BE 1st Team

BE Tournament MVP

AP All-American
Averages
20 PPG Junior and Senior Year

Syracuse #5 All-Time Scorer
Syracuse #4 All-Time Rebounder

National Champion

"The block"
Promising Pro Career

Cons:

Lack of Other Memorable Moments

Analysis: Hak has all the right criteria. He has some lofty records, a top-ten place in the two most prominent stat categories, nice accolades and of course, "the block." There's something about his time at Cuse that doesn't make me think of him as memorably as we do Moten or Coleman, but I think he's done enough to state his case.
Final Judgment:
Yes

#34 Demetris Nichols (2004 - 2007)
Pros:
Led Team in Scoring Senior Year
BE 1st Team (Sr.)

All-American Honorable Mention

Cons:

Inconsistent
Only Prominent For Two Seasons

Lack of Post-Season Success

Analysis:
Obviously its too soon to judge the legacy of anyone from last year's team but Nichols just doesn't have the "juice." He doesn't show up on any noteworthy All-Time lists, he doesn't have too many moments you can look to and we'll probably end up remembering this team for the NIT appearance more than anything. D-Nic does look to have a golden opportunity in the pros though so fingers crossed for him there.
Final Judgment
: No

So there you have it. With the new additions to the retiree list, that would bring our list of unusable numbers to 1, 3, 4, 8, 19, 20, 21, 22, 31 and 44 (2). Usually its the single digits that go first so its interesting to see that 19-22 block so popular. I'm sure some of you have an opinion on the above so feel free to chime in with your own thoughts.

Thanks to Orangehoops for the exhaustingly accurate stat and player histories.




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