With the clock ticking on eligibility for 2017’s The Basketball Tournament, Boeheim’s Army needed another player to hit the requisite seven by the June 1 deadline. The team of Syracuse Orange alums, now in its third year, was already one of the event’s top vote-getters (fifth as of this writing). But the only way they’d be playing for the $2 million prize was with another former SU standout in the fold.
They got one on Thursday... sort of.
Riley, who stands at seven feet tall, was a member of the highly-regarded Orange recruiting class of 2009. But after one year playing and another injured, he transferred out of the program to join former SU assistant Rob Murphy with Eastern Michigan. He played in spots his freshman year, but was largely a reserve at the center/forward spot behind both Arinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson.
With the Eagles, he rounded into a consistent shot-blocker and rebounder. While he was never much of a scoring threat (career average of 4.1 points per game), he blocked 192 shots in 90 games for EMU, while pulling down 5.7 rebounds per game and hitting 46 percent of his shots.
After college, he eventually ended up in the NBA D-League, playing for the Idaho Stampede in 2015-16, and the Salt Lake City Stars last season. In 29 games with the Stars, he scored 3.2 points per game while pulling down 3.9 rebounds and logging 1.5 blocks per.
Though he may not be an Orange “alum” Riley knows most of these players from his time around the program, and actually brings a specialty (and athleticism with it) that few teams likely bring to The Basketball Tournament field. With shooters like Eric Devendorf, Donte Greene, CJ Fair and Scoop Jardine already on the team, Boeheim’s Army needed a player who could crash the boards and block shots. Rick Jackson will serve as the team’s primary inside scoring threat. Brandon Triche can score as well, though he and Scoop likely split point guard duties.
Welcome back to the ‘Cuse family, DaShonte! The Basketball Tournament field is revealed on June 6, and games will start in early July.