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Who Is The Syracuse All-Decade Team?

I love OrangeHoops. Seriouisly, it's the most underrated SU blog out there. Why? Because every single time I go there, I learn something new or I read some kind of insightful analysis. Ray's does a mighty fine job crunching the numbers and making sense of it all.

And as he reminded me in his most recent post, the 00's are basically over as far as basketball is concerned. Sure, we can squabble over the upcoming season and make sure we include the November and December output in our discussions but we're probably not going to learn too much more about the decade in Syracuse basketball between now and then. So it's completely appropriate to begin the discussion...

Who Is The Syracuse All-Decade Team For The Aughts?

Ray's right, there's some tough choices to be made in this decade. But there's also a couple obvious ones as well.

First, I agree that Carmelo Anthony ('02 - '03) has to be on the team. Yes he was only here for one season but think of this way, 20 years from now when I ask you name five Syracuse basketball players from this decade, Carmelo will be among them. I guarantee it. He's in.

Next up, Gerry McNamara ('02 - '06) Discussion over.

Third, you gotta go with Hakim Warrick ('01 - '05). Hak has the hardware, he has the iconic moment "The Block," and he has the stats (21.4 PPG, 8.6 RPG as a senior). His post-SU career hasn't been memorable but Hakim does have the distinction of spending all four seasons with the Orange in this decade and improving immensely in each one. Still bothers me that he ended his career with the Vermont game.

Now it gets tricky. Who's available?

Demetris Nichols ('03 - '07) - 18.9 PPG and Big East a senior.

Preston Shumpert ('98 - '02) - We can only count his junior and senior seasons but even still, those were his money years anyway. #8 all-time scoring and #2 all-time in 3-PT percentage.

Eric Devendorf ('05 - '09) - Averaged double-digit scoring all four years (noted that one of those years was more like half-a-year) and you can't deny he has his share of clutch plays. Leaves as 14th on the all-time scoring list and 3# all-time in 3-PT percentage.

Jonny Flynn ('07 - '09) - Played almost every minute during both seasons at SU, averaged over 15 PPG both seasons and 6.7 assists his senior year. The face of SU basketball the last two years. #7 all-time in assists.

This might be a little crazy but I'm gonna go with Jonny Flynn and Preston Shumpert. Both only played two seasons in the decade but their inclusion bookends it perfectly. Preston was the leader of the pre-Carmelo Orange. a dominant shooter and he really did the bulk of that in his final two seasons. On the other side, Jonny was the face of the "Dynasty." Although they never achieved what they set out to do, this group brought some hope and swagger back to SU under Flyyn and Jonny was the consummate floor general and player you wanted on your team.

Demetris is tough one because he did a lot while he was here but I feel like he's going to end up as a forgotten SU star. He exists somewhere between Carmelo and Jonny and while we remember he was good, no real memories come to mind. He also played second fiddle to Gerry most of his career.

And Devo? If he stayed another year he would have slipped in there ahead of Preston. He would have passed Preston in scoring and 3-PT percentage all-time so it's likely. Then again, maybe it's for the best that we leave him out of it.

So that give us:

  • Carmelo Anthony
  • Gerry McNamara
  • Hakim Warrick
  • Jonny Flynn
  • Preston Shumpert

We're a little soft in the paint. If you were going on the other way and wanted to make this an actual team position-by-position, like OrangeHoops did, I suppose you can insert Arinze as center. I'd put in Demetris instead just because he's further ahead on that list.

So what do you think? You can rank your own top players here or leave your thoughts in the comments below. And of course, we need to decide who the very best player of the decade is. OrangeHoops chose Warrick. I think I'd go with GMac because his aura and importance to the SU community trumps Warrick's statistical lead. But what do I know?