Andy Rautins Is Syracuse Basketball's Jack Shephard

andy rautins

Think about it.

Jack Shephard is a respected member of society who develops a drinking problem.

Andy Rautins is a respected member of Syracuse basketball who develops a Muscle Milk drinking problem.

Jack Shephard followed in his father's footsteps and his "ghost" will never let him forget that.

Andy Rautins followed in his father's footsteps and no ESPN broadcaster will ever let him forget that.

Jack Shephard grows a strange, awkward beard.

Andy Rautins grows strange yet not at all awkward hairstyles.

Jack's love affair with Kate is destined for heartbreak.

Andy's love affair with Eric Devendorf ended with heartbreak.

Jack Shephard is a leader.

Andy Rautins is a leader.

...when the team needs a noisier presence, when it needs a verbal boost, it relies on Rautins.  Rautins said his position as the team’s elder statesman made him a natural fit for a leadership role. His five years at Syracuse, coupled with his international experience playing for the Canadian National team has exposed Rautins to a vault of basketball emotions and situations.

He understands what it’s like to incur the wrath of SU coach Jim Boeheim, to exit a game because of a mistake and make that long walk to the Orange bench. He understands how mistakes and diminished playing time can play with a teammate’s psyche, can impact a performance.

And he wants his teammates to put those emotions into perspective.

Can't say many SU fans saw this day coming, when the gangly, lightly-recruited kid out of Jamesville-DeWitt signed with Syracuse.  Then again, none of us are James Arthur Boehim.

"I can tell you Jim always thought Andy was a better player than he was given credit for," said Boeheim's long-time assistant, Bernie Fine. "He saw a lot of his father in Andy, the ability to play the entire court and do lots of different things."

Boeheim won't specifically get into why he thought Rautins would succeed. "But when you watch a kid in high school you kind of get a sense of what he is and could become," he said. "To Andy's credit, he's willed himself into becoming a terrific player. You can't coach that."

Even opposing coaches have taken notice of The 'Hawk:

"Wes Johnson is their best player, no doubt," said South Florida coach Stan Heath after SU's recent win over the Bulls. "But if I was starting a team, I'd want a player like Rautins. He's so smart, so poised. Nothing seems to bother him. I've seen him grow from a role player to a star."

Syracuse needs Wes to do his thing, AO and RickJack to control the boards and Triche & Scoop to lead the offense. But they need Andy Rautins most of all.  Not just for his clutch play but also for all of the things noted above.  If they ever want to get off The Island a.k.a. The Land of No Final-Fours Since 2003, Andy Rautins is going to have to be the one to lead them there.

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