The last few days have been a whirlwind of information, opinion and changes for Syracuse sports. I feel like Neo after he gets all of that fight-training jacked directly into his cerebral cortex. Whoa.
Best to take a step back and try to process everything we've learned, piece by piece. Starting with Big East Media Day:
Not his fault, but Doug Marrone started sounding an awful lot like Greg Robinson
Not much you can do if you're Doug Marrone right now other than tell people you're going to do the best job you can possibly do and that you're dedicated to returning Syracuse football to national prominence. It's unfortunate for him that the guy who held the position before him used to say the same thing, year in and year out, and failed to deliver on such a grand scale that future alien societies will study the 2005 - 2008 Syracuse football program to understand the meaning of the human word "futility."
Doug said all the right things, but Syracuse fans have developed an allergic reaction to people who say all the right things. It sets off alarm bells. Makes us immediately question if that person can back it up. Don't blame us, we're Pavlov's dog, trained after years to except a specific result to follow a command. "We're gonna win" is followed by a 45-7 loss to South Florida. This is the world we know.
So, Doug, we appreciate the words. Just know they mean nothing to us (And I think Doug would be the first person to agree with that).
Greg Paulus is a big deal.
There were two Syracuse football players at media day. I swear! I looked it up and everything. Arthur Jones and Mike Owen were there. Of course, you wouldn't know it from the Big East media on hand. All they wanted to talk about was Greg Paulus.
Dude's not even the starting quarterback (yet) but it's irrelevant. It's also the perfect answer as to why Greg Paulus is so important to the Syracuse program. He's a talking point. In a league where there aren't a lot of known quantities and recognizable faces, he stands out like a bright, shiny beacon. He comes with a story and a past. Forget about the flopping and the general goofiness and he's got a great storyline to fulfill. Hometown boy comes back to make good, and in turn help the hometown team return to prominence, or at least respectability.
Syracuse is going to be a relevant topic of discussion for the national media this month because people are dying to see what becomes of Greg. Will he start against Minnesota? If not, will he play? If not, when will he play? Cause he will play. Oh yes, the storyline demands it. As for his impact and whether or not those same folks just want to see him crash and burn, that's to be determined.
Syracuse Basketball > Syracuse Football
Obviously, it wasn't on purpose. However, could you have picked a more perfect way to showcase exactly where SU football and SU basketball sit than the way it all played out yesterday?
SU was a relevant story at Big East Media Day. Doug Marrone's first season. Greg Paulus. Arthur Jones is back. For the first time in a while, SU had positive storylines and the outlets were interested. Then word broke (via Matt McClusky) that Fab Melo might be joining Orange Nation. And just like that, on SU football's big day, all anyone wanted to talk about was Syracuse basketball.
Call it what you like. Say it's not fair. Or maybe you say that's just how it is at SU. All I know is, on the day that SU football was trying to prove how relevant it was, SU basketball was the program that actually did it.
Fab Melo really, really better be good.
...cause otherwise a lot of Syracuse fans needed to change their pants yesterday over nothing.
It's all a little too perfect, isn't it? The name thing, first of all. It's almost creepy. If he wins a national title and then leaves after his freshman year, expect about 200 high school players to immediately incorporate the word "melo" into their names.
Second of all, Melo will be arriving just as Arinze Onuaku leaves us. He allows then-senior Rick Jackson to stay at the 4 and provides (we hope) instant dominance in the paint. He supposedly brings with him everything we have with Arinze plus more athleticism plus better shooting and plus actual free throw shooting prowess. Good lord.
Third, on paper, and believe me this is ALL about potential, Syracuse basketball could be looking at another golden age. Just in time for Jimmy B to ride off into the sunsut. If he can snag one more Final Four, or dare I say another title, it would be the icing on what's already one of the top ten best coaching careers in the history of NCAA basketball.
Mike "Hizzy" Hopkins is good.
By all accounts (Rob Murphy's), Mike Hopkins was the key recruiter in landing Fab. Add him to Hopkins' recruiting resume which includes Gerry McNamara, Hakim Warrick, Jonny Flynn, Jason Hart, Paul Harris, Rick Jackson and many others. The prince-who-would-be-king once Boeheim retires, has made one thing abundantly clear in his time as a Syracuse assistant.
We are in good hands.