I love ‘all time’ and ‘top ten’ lists. I think a lot of people do. The only thing more fun than making a list is arguing about some other idiot’s list, right?
With that in mind, I recently re-read the Syracuse Orange basketball "All Century Team". Taking a look at the list, created in 2000, got me to thinking that it was time for an update, because obviously a lot of great players have come through the program in the past 12 years. Furthermore, the list included 25 players – twice the amount of a typical basketball roster – and didn’t break them down by position.
When compiling the "First Ever Jeremy Ryan/Troy Nunes Syracuse Orange All-Time Super Turbo Team"*, I tried to keep things simple and place on the first team the players who are, in my opinion, the best at their positions. The second five, by position, went on the second team. It’s entirely possible that a guard or forward didn’t make the team even though he is arguably a better player than a center who did. I didn’t say it’s a perfect system, but a different take on the ‘team’ that was honored in 2000.
Feel free to leave a comment below and challenge my roster, or create your own. Also, I’d like to know how you think a match-up between the first team and second team would play out. Would the first team win in a romp, as you might expect? Or would it be closer than we’d think?The First Ever Jeremy Ryan/Troy Nunes Syracuse Orange All-Time Super Turbo Team*
PG - Sherman Douglas
“The General” was the model point guard for a generation of SU fans. A gifted passer, he possessed a patented teardrop runner in the lane and ended his college career as the all-time leader in assists. He still holds the career team and Big East mark in that category. He even managed to play three seasons for my beloved Boston Celtics during one of the worst stretches in the franchise's storied history. His jersey #20 has been retired by SU.
Sherman Douglas hikes ball to Stevie Thompson for the dunk vs. Indiana 1988 Pre-season NIT (via senorpalmer)
SG - Dave Bing
By most accounts the greatest basketball player in the history of the program, and a hall of famer. His jersey #22 was one of the first retired by the school.
SF - Carmelo Anthony
While I tend to give more weight to players who stayed at SU longer, I can’t overlook Melo’s contributions to the 2003 national championship team. Plus, he was damn near unstoppable in the NCAA Tournament. Anthony's #15 jersey is rumored to be next on the retirement list.
PF - John Wallace
By far the best player on the 1996 Final Four squad, he may have had to carry his teammates on his back more than any other great SU player on a great team. His heroics against Kansas and Georgia in the NCAA Tourney are the stuff of legend – and he showed he can still play at this year’s Midnight Madness alumni game.
SU beats Georgia in wild finish--1996 Sweet 16 (via senorpalmer)
C - Derrick Coleman
If Bing is the best player in Orange history, Coleman is a close second. He is the all-time leading rebounder in Big East history and was the #1 overall NBA Draft pick in 1990 – the only SU player to achieve that feat. Basketball #44 hangs in the Carrier Dome in his honor.
PG - Dwayne Washington
Perhaps the most dynamic scorer in SU history, “Pearl” was the face of the program during the height of the Big East’s golden age in the mid 1980s. His #31 hangs among the other greats.
Pearl Washington on his halfcourt game winner vs. BC 1984 (via senorpalmer)
SG - Lawrence Moten
“Poetry in Moten” finished his career as the all-time leading scorer in Big East history, giving the program the current career leaders in points, assists, and rebounds.
SF - Billy Owens
A gifted scorer, Owens was a smooth small forward who could score inside and out. For you whippersnappers reading this, he was a prototype for Carmelo Anthony, who came along more than a decade later. Owens’ #30 is among the banners that hang from the Dome ceiling.
PF - Leo Rautins
Before he became famous to a generation of Orange fans as “Andy’s Dad”, Leo was an honorable mention All-American and the first player to record a triple double in a Big East game.
C - Rony Seikaly
Seikaly gets bumped to the second team to make room for Coleman and Wallace among the starters, but if anything that speaks to how good they were. DJ Rony was fab before Mr. de Melo was even born, and his #4 was retired as a testament to his playing career.
Players that didn’t quite make this list, but deserve mention (as well as spots on an expanded roster) include Jason Hart, Jonny Flynn, Kris Joseph, Dennis "Sweet D" DuVal, Gerry “Not Ten F’n Games” McNamara, Stephen Thompson, Wendell Alexis, Hakim Warrick, Rafael Addison, Louis Orr, Roosevelt Bouie, Etan Thomas, Rick Jackson, and Dan Schayes.
*This is a working title. Suggestions are welcome.