Okay, so Syracuse basketball does not encompass all of Syracuse University. As much attention as Jim Boeheim’s program garners, we aren’t blind to that. However, the title seemed fitting as Syracuse has had a long line of fifth-year seniors dating back to the year 2000.
First things first, how the hell did Syracuse lose its starting fifth-year senior backcourt and replace it with a fifth-year senior backcourt? That is both unprecedented and the most Boeheim move in college basketball history. Depending on your disposition (read: other ACC coaches’ disposition), that might be the most bullshit thing you’ve seen in 30 years. But hey, we’re not complaining.
So anyway, I digress, but let’s get down to it. Starting in the 1999-2000 season Syracuse had a fifth-year senior by the name of Ryan Blackwell. If you frequent TNIAAM, you’re aware that he’s worked with us on a plethora of posts. Or if you’re just a Syracuse basketball fan in general, you know he was a pretty good player.
In 2001-2002 Syracuse had fifth-year senior Ethan Cole on its roster. Cole was a transfer from New Hampshire who played sparingly in his final two years at Syracuse. He saw time his junior year before losing his spot to Hakim Warrick in his senior year. He would eventually have his senior season cut short due to injury and only scored 16 points in half as many games.
During the 2002-2003 season, Syracuse had fifth-year man Kueth Duany. You know, the greatest basketball season in Syracuse history. Duany was a fan favorite and played a crucial role in Syracuse’s run to the National Championship.
Jeremy McNeil, another member of the 2003 National Championship team, would also be a five-year player. McNeil injured his knee just six games into his freshman campaign and would receive a medical redshirt. In turn, he’d finish his career in 2004.
Hey look! Another fifth-year senior from the National Championship team. Matt Gorman redshirted his junior season at Syracuse and played all the way through 2007. His career highlights are few and far between, but he did play well against Georgetown in the 2006 Big East Tournament.
Fast forward all the way to the 2009-2010 season where Andy Rautins and Arinze Onuaku were both fifth-year guys. Rautins tore his ACL playing for team Canada going into his junior year while Onuaku redshirted the year prior, also with a knee injury. If Eric Devendorf returned for his final year Syracuse could have had three fifth-year seniors on its roster for the first time in school history.
In 2011-2012 Scoop Jardine represented the lone five-year player on one of the best teams in Syracuse basketball history. Scoop was the unequivocal vocal leader of this 2011-2012 Elite Eight team that could have won a title if not for... nevermind.
Just last season, Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney were five-year players as Cooney redshirted his freshman year while Gbinije transferred from Duke and sat his sophomore year. You already knew the latter as it was said on every Syracuse basketball broadcast for the last two seasons.
This season Syracuse brings in two fifth-year transfers in John Gillon and Andrew White. Also in his fifth-year this season is local product Dajuan Coleman. After sitting in 2014-2015 with an injury, Coleman still has one year of eligibility remaining and has already been to two Final Fours. Maybe instead of being known for great bench players in recent years — Kris Joseph, Scoop, Dion Waiters, Tyler Lydon — Syracuse can also be noted for its fifth-year seniors just as well.