I was hoping that the conversation around Boeheim's Army would go a couple more days and then we could use this post as part of the celebration. Instead, our Syracuse Orange alums (and honorary alums) fell in the Elite 8 of The Basketball Tournament and the dream is over, at least for this year.
So as we begin to look for the 2016 TBT, and so help me God there better be one, we as Syracuse fans have to wonder who will be on the roster. Given the interest by Orange fans and growth in awareness of the tournament, the bar is sure to be raised all around. The opponents will be better. Other schools will trot out teams. The quality will rise.
That leaves us asking, who would we like to see on the 12-man roster? Which guys do we want to return and which Orange faces would we like to see join the fold?
Of course, there have to be realistic ground rules.
1. It has to be someone who can put in a solid number of minutes and contribute. While it was great for Lawrence Moten to get a moment in the first game, it's unlikely he'd have been able to run with most of these guys for 30 minutes and keep it up. Same goes for most guys from the 90's.
2. It has to be someone who doesn't have a secure NBA or summer league gig lined up. There's some obvious guys that are ruled out like Carmelo Anthony and Michael Carter-Williams, but there's also guys who have pro gigs this year but might not next year. Think Arinze Onuaku, James Southerland, Brandon Triche...
3. Forget about Gerry McNamara. If you think Jim Boeheim is going to give GMac a month off during prime recruiting season in order to play in an amateur basketball tournament, you're nuts.
So knowing all of that, here's my picks...
So who's coming back for sure? We gotta bring back Demetris Nichols, Hakim Warrick, Eric Devendorf, Rick Jackson, Baye Keita, Terrence Roberts and Willie Deane. I know Deane isn't an SU guy he's an honorary one now.
I appreciate Olu Famutimi's efforts but I'd like to see an SU guy step in there. Donte Greene never showed up (understandably, he was trying to get a job) so let's assume he's still doing that. We'll take away Moten's playing role and just let him coach. And as for Mookie Jones, well...this is awkward...
So who do I want in those four open spots?
Andy Rautins: This is the kind of tournament that can turn on a hot hand from three-point range. There are few shooters to come out of SU in the last twenty years I would trust more.
Scoop Jardine: This tournament is already brining way too much stress back into our lives in July. Might as well kick that stress up to 11 and give the ball to Scoooooop (I'd also consider Brandon Triche here but I have a feeling he'll have a gig).
Kris Joseph: KrisJo will probably have a job lined up somewhere around the world but on the chance that he doesn't, I'd love to root for him one more time.
Mookie Jones: Oh who am I kidding, I can't not have Mookie on the roster...
I feel like we cover all of the major positions (barring job interviews and injuries) and we're loaded up with guys who can score in bunches. I'll take that team for $1M any time. There's plenty of other guys who would make fine additions (AO, Kristof!, Jonny Flynn) but I'm just going with who I think will be available and interested.
But those are my choices. What about you?