The Syracuse Basketball All-Decade Team

via blog.syracuse.com

The decade is ending (or is it?) so it's only fair that we lump together players from across the last ten years and compare them based on arbitrary statistics and situations. 

I'm going to throw down my 1st and 2nd-teamers below but I'm actually going to defer to Josh over at Cuse Country who did a monster analysis and created what is probably a much more definitive All-Decade Team.  Josh's first-team is Gerry, Carmelo, Devo, Hak and AO.  That means that Jonny Flynn, Andy Rautins and Preston Shumpert are 2nd-teamers.  Might sound slightly heretical in some spots at first but check out the fine work to see why the conclusions makes sense.

Over at CuseOrange, Brian has a similar set-up for his All-Decade Team though he moves Flynn to the 1st-team, shifts Gerry over to SG and drops Devo to the 2nd-team.  It all depends on how strict you want to be about the positions but I like that better.  Just seems right.

As for me, let me first run-down my Honorable Mention List to get them out of the way:

Josh Pace - Before there was Kristof!, there was Josh Pace, doing all of the little things.  Even better than KO, Pace made solid contributions for four seasons, constantly improving each year and earning a Big East Honorable Mention his senior season.

Kueth Duany - Carmelo gets the glory, Hak has the block and Gerry made the memorable shots but Keuth Duany provided the senior leadership on the 2003 National Championship team.  More than that he was an important member of the team both his junior and senior seasons.  Named the Big East's first Sportsman of the Year his senior season.

Billy Edelin -Had his potential been met, Edelin might have been on the 2nd or even 1st team list right now.  Instead, off-court allegations and academic issues detailed a promising SU career.  Billy was a vital part of Syracuse's NCAA Tournament run in 2003 but didn't play much after that, transferring before his senior season.

Rick Jackson - Was the "other" guy when Syracuse recruiting him and high-school teammate Scoop Jardine out of Philadelphia.  By the time sophomore year rolled around, it looked like Jackson would be the one of the two to make his mark at SU.  Becoming a starter in his 2nd year, Jackson continues to establish himself as a credible threat below the basket and in the paint on D.

DeShaun Williams - A thousand point-scorer and Big East Third-Team honoree by his junior year, Williams will always be remembered for what happened off the court more than anything he did on it.  Williams was actually asked to leave the university before his senior season.  Who knows how 2003 would have played out had he been there.

Donte Greene -Donte was selfish and couldn't play defense to save his life, but the guy could score.  Named to the Big East Second Team All Conference team and Big East All Rookie Team, Greene left after one season, the 2nd-most productive freshman season behind Carmelo Anthony in Syracuse history.

Craig Forth - Forth was a dependable, if not memorable, center who started every game of his collegiate career.  A member of the 2003 National Championship team, Craig was a two-time academic All-American.  (Sorry, I'm not putting Forth on the 2nd-team just because he was a center...too many better players)

Damone Brown - Most of Brown's career spanned the previous decade but his finest season was the 2000-2001 year in which he led the Orange in rebounding, was second in scoring and was named to the Big East Second Team.

Kristof Ongenaut - Only spent two years with the Orange after transferring from junior college.  Was expected to be a space-filler but ended up being "the glue guy" and an emotional sparkplug.  We'll remember his frenzy-inducing dunks much more than any stats.

...and now to the First and Second Team selections.

Syracuse All-Decade Second Team

Eric Devendorf - Say what you will of the brash, cocky Devo (and pretty much everything has been said).  But he was a tenacious competitor and a great shooter.  Like Cuse Country says, you had to accept the bad that came with the good, but when he was on, he was on.  Averaged double-digit-scoring all four years at SU, received a Big East Honorable Mention one year and played well after returning from ACL surgery.  Left as the No. 14 all-time scorer.

Andy Rautins - Not much was expected of Rautins when he came to SU, as something of a courtesy to his father, Leo.  He'll leave as one of the most prolific three-point shooters in school history and the team's emotional leader as a senior.  Seventh on the 3-pointer list coming into the season, he should finish 2nd or 3rd.

Preston Shumpert - Syracuse #8 all-time scorer and  #2 all-time three point shooter, Shumpert was also a two-time All-Big East player.  Had he played for some better teams, he might have been recognized a lot higher.  Not too many memorable moments, as-is.

Demetris Nichols - His pro career (or lack thereof) has sullied some of his reputation at SU but you can't deny he was the leader of the team for a brief period. Averaging 18.9 PPG and getting named to the Big East 1st-Team as a senior, Nichols left SU as the No. 4 all-time three-point shooter and No. 29 all-time scorer.

Paul Harris - Sure to be a controversial choice, Paul had his faults.  His defense and decision-making could be poor to the point of comedy sometimes.  But its easy to forget that things started strong for the highly-prized recruit, as he was named to the Big East All-Rookie Team as a freshman.  Harris could also come up big when needed, like his 56-minute, 29 points, 22 rebound performance in the Six Overtime game.  He also provided more than a fair share of highlights.  Shame he couldn't keep it together before leaving early...too early.

Syracuse All-Decade First Team

Jonny Flynn - Jonny Flynn accomplished more in two seasons than most players could do in four.  Name Co-Rookie of the Year and to the Honorable Mention All-Big East team his freshman season, Flynn logged more than 39 minutes per game.  By the time his sophomore season had ended, he would lead the Orange back to the NCAA Tournament and placed  to the All Big East 2nd Team. He left 7th all-time on the SU Assists list but it was memories like the Six Overtime game that SU fans will remember.

Gerry McNamara - What is there to say that hasn't already been said?  This is the easiest selection of them all.

Carmelo Anthony - Only played for one season but, let's face it, there was no way he could top himself if he had come back.  There's a reason he's got a building named after himself on campus just six years later.

Hakim Warrick - Statistically, the best Syracuse player of the 00's.  Warrick was the Big East Player of the Year his senior season as well as being named an All-American. He made the All-Big East First Team twice. Currently the fifth-best scorer in school history and fourth-best rebounder.  Oh and then there was The Block.

Arinze Onuaku - Almost by default, he was the best center of the 00's.  But don't think AO gets here because of technicalities.  He set the single-season SU record for field goal percentage his junior season and looks to be on pace to do it again as a senior.  Before this season he was 24th on the all-time rebounds list, expect him to end up close to the top five before he's done.

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