Former Syracuse Orange Leo Rautins is a broadcaster for the Toronto Raptors involved with Team Canada basketball and remains a part of many NBA circles. As the Raptors play in the NBA Playoffs, the elder Rautins weighed in on former Syracuse players that are now in the NBA.
Rautins discussed the ups and downs of Carmelo Anthony's career:
"Carmelo's in a tough spot because he just doesn't have a supporting cast, so he takes all the criticism. I'm not going to say he's the easiest guy to play with. Yet at the same time, it's unfair to judge him when he's never really had the right pieces around him." Rautins added this, "He's in a no-win situation. I'm actually surprised he stayed in New York."
He discussed Dion Waiters, who is the only former Syracuse player still playing:
"I think he's playing great. He's been one of the keys to their success in the postseason. Defensively he's shined. He's really stepped up." He finished his comments on Dion stating, "Based on what he's doing right now, he's going to get paid."
Pretty rare to ever hear someone complement Dion Waiters on his defense, but he has certainly stepped it up this postseason. This is the best I've seen Waiters play since his rookie season.
On the Clippers' Wesley Johnson:
"I love Wes. It's the same kind of thing where he's so talented, it seems to me that nobody's figured out how to use him. I still think he's a multi-talented player."
On Michael Carter-Williams and the 76ers trading him:
"I've always been a big fan of his. To this day, I have no concept of what Philadelphia did. You can question his shooting, but he's a worker. He works at it. He's another guy who I think if he's put in the right situation, I like him a lot."
On Tyler Ennis' short career:
"Tyler's biggest thing is just getting healthy. He's had one thing after the other. The limited opportunities he's had to play, he's played well. His shot's a lot better. If he gets minutes, he'll perform. I have no doubt about that."
On Jerami Grant and whether or not he should have stayed in school:
"Again, tough situation. He's athletic as hell. I really wish he stayed in school, though it's tough to say. In today's game, it's tough to just be an athlete. He has to develop his offense. And, its coming. You see it. He's freakishly athletic."
On Syracuse's most recent NBA Draft pick, Chris McCullough:
"I've seen him play, briefly. The coaches are high on him. I watched him work before games, stuff like that. He's long. The knee hasn't bothered his athleticism. He's really athletic. I watch them drill him and work him and he's got what you need."
And because no one has asked Jim Boeheim if he is going to retire lately, Rautins touched on that matter too:
"I think Jim should coach until he doesn't want to coach any more. I really do. I love Hop. I'm not saying anything negative about Hop. I think he could be a great coach. And I don't know all the details behind everything, but Jim should coach until he doesn't want to coach any more. He's earned it. He deserves it. He's a great coach. He keeps winning. He does so much for the community. If I were the chancellor or AD, he'd be coaching until he walked in the door and said, 'I can't do it any more.'"
It will be interesting to see how the younger guys like Grant, Ennis, and McCullough develop as time goes on. Syracuse should put two more players into the NBA this year, as Malachi Richardson and Michael Gbinije are both projected to be picked in the upcoming NBA Draft.