One of the most entertaining aspects of The Basketball Tournament, beyond watching your favorite former Syracuse Orange players on Boeheim’s Army, is continuing to hate players from when they were in college. As Hoya Suxa pointed out in his excellent TBT preview, you can hate the name on the front AND the back of the jersey here.
While Scottie “EFFING” Reynolds is no longer in this year’s event, there are still plenty more players Syracuse fans can rehash some old hate for within the Super 16. Here’s a guide to the 10 players you can despise while watching the other, non-Boeheim’s Army matchups this weekend.
1. Darius Johnson Odom, Golden Eagles (Marquette Golden Eagles)
In a 2011 NCAA Tournament game that never should’ve happened, Johnson Odom led 11-seeded Marquette with 17 points. But the most important part of that was when he scored three of those: with just 25 seconds remaining in the game. The third-seeded Orange were eliminated early and we all got very (rightfully angry about it).
2. DeJuan Blair, Overseas Elite (Pittsburgh Panthers)
So many Pitt players from the past decade or so have enraged us, but DeJuan was among the most disliked of all. Playing just two years for the Panthers, he collected 20 points and 12 rebounds in a 2009 bludgeoning of the Orange, and was minimally effective in a five-point win the year before. But even with a limited sample size, it feels like he was around for so much longer.
3. Jared Sullinger, Scarlet & Gray (Ohio State Buckeyes)
Without Fab Melo on the court in the 2012 Elite 8, Syracuse had no answer for the Ohio State big man, who frustratingly tore right through SU in the paint. He’d finish with 19 points and seven rebounds to lead Ohio State in a game that we’d probably claim was marred by shoddy officiating.
4. Davante Gardner, Golden Eagles (Marquette)
You’ll likely remember Gardner most for a terrifying 26-point, eight-rebound effort in 2013, when he was perfect from the floor in just 11 minutes. He also scored nine points with five rebounds in 2012, and was the only real source of offense for the Golden Eagles in their 2013 Elite 8 matchup with the Orange. Gardner scored 14 points and added eight rebounds in that one -- putting a scare into us for a few until the zone clamped down on his teammates.
5. Gilbert Brown, FCM Untouchables (Pitt)
Brown was a five-year player at Pitt, and while he rarely did significant damage, he was still around for many of the aggravating results from 2007 through 2011 between these teams. His high-scoring marks were 12 points apiece in 2011 and 2008, respectively.
6. Jermaine Dixon, FCM Untouchables (Pitt)
Jermaine Dixon had one elite game against SU: a 21-point, five-rebound effort in 2010. But that’s enough to create some animosity here. If he played for anyone else, perhaps we’d look past it. But as a member of recent Panthers teams, it’s not forgotten.
7. D.J. Kennedy, Overseas Elite (St. John’s Red Storm)
Scored 19 points against Syracuse in 2010, and also posted 11 in 2009. Kennedy was a quality shooter, but what I remember most about him is from my senior year (culminating in 2010) when the Red Storm came to the Dome and my roommates and I heckled him for the entire game from under the basket. He was great, but his team was bad, otherwise he’s be higher on this list.
8. Aaron Craft, Scarlet & Gray (Ohio State)
Craft never really did any damage to Syracuse, but he was a universally hated college basketball player, and that was enough to get under our (and my skin). He’s a rare addition to this pantheon of national hoops scorn not to be from Duke/UNC, but he would’ve fit in very well as a Blue Devil.
9. Maalik Wayns, Team FOE (Villanova Wildcats)
Played an instrumental part in Villanova’s 83-72 upset over Syracuse in January 2011, scoring 17 fist-half points while knocking off the top-five Orange. He didn’t really do much else against us, but I remember that game being aggravating.
10. Dominique Jones, Tampa Bulls (USF Bulls)
Do we necessarily “hate” Jones? Or am I just honing in on one specific performance of his? South Florida’s beaten Syracuse just once, an 89-78 victory in 2008, but Jones was the catalyst, scoring 29 points (including 10 free throws). That game was one of several that ultimately kept a scrappy, injury-riddled Syracuse squad out of the NCAAs that year.
Any other names you’re still fuming about? Share your own list below.