As always, a LOT happened in Syracuse Orange sports this year. And luckily, this community had all of those moments covered thanks to the contributions of everyone on our constantly growing writing staff. With that in mind, I wanted to feature some of my favorite posts from TNIAAM’s staff (other than myself) after an eventful 12 months of 2018.
These aren’t ranked at all (cry “cop out” if you must). So enjoy them in chronological order one more time before we turn the page to an exciting — and likely to be equally stressful — year of Syracuse sports ahead in 2019.
Syracuse & Virginia: The ACC rivalry no one saw coming (Andy Pregler)
The Orange haven’t beaten the Hoos much in basketball since joining the ACC, though they’ve made those couple wins count. But most games against UVA across all sports have remained competitive and we have enough in common that a friendly rivalry is starting to brew, despite ACC football’s stupid divisions.
I did not have an opinion on this matter when I started reading another Hoya Suza masterpiece. I very much did when it concluded.
Kyle’s not a regular staffer (you can find his regular work on NBC Sports covering soccer, actually) but he made his contribution count this year. Jim Boeheim’s legacy has long been a popular topic and Kyle’s article understood what it was (and wasn’t) better than most. WAS this past tournament run one of Jim’s best jobs? I’d tend to agree. Though it also creates equal confusion about what’s going on this season with almost the same roster.
Why do fans feel so different about the G League? (Kevin Wall)
In the wake of the Darius Bazley consternation, a lot of Syracuse fans were hoping he failed and talking about how the G League wasn’t true success in terms of professional basketball. Kevin wondered aloud about why fans viewed the G League one way and other minor leagues with far more reverence.
James put a lot into covering the Orange men’s basketball team last season, and he chronicled the experience watching them on the road and seeing SU at some major venues across college basketball. It’s a cool look back at the season too, especially from the eyes of a long-time fan.
What’s next for former Syracuse star Carmelo Anthony? (Bobby Manning)
Any time I write about Carmelo, I’m usually carrying water for the guy as an unrelenting apologist for both his college and pro legacies. Bobby, being a Celtics fan, doesn’t necessarily share those sensibilities so he’s able to add some interesting perspective here about where the future Hall-of-Famer fits into the NBA today.
Syracuse athletics has been made up of numerous dynasties over the years, though the one that’s arguably received the least press is the one Chris Fox built for cross country. As the internet’s resident Orange track and field expert, Kevin took a look at what he accomplished and how it sets up what’s next as SU aims to remain atop the sport.
Scheduling? Count me in. Syracuse’s non-conference schedule has played a big part in the team finishing on the right side of the bubble in two of the last three years, so James talks to the man responsible for that: Kip Wellman. If the Orange are on the bubble again and find a way in, you know who to thank now.
The continuing education of Eric Devendorf (Matt McClusky)
At one point a polarizing player for Syracuse, Devendorf has become a completely different person in the time since. As Devendorf was on his way to Detroit Mercy, Matt looked back at his atypical journey and what’s ahead for the aspiring coach.
What we talk about when we talk about Dino Babers (Sean Keeley)
This was before we even got to the end of a 10-win 2018 season. But Sean encourages everyone to embrace the hype on Babers and don’t let his likely constant appearances on coaching search lists get you down. Though do feel free to continue mocking anyone that initially brought him up around the Kansas and/or Maryland jobs.
Syracuse men’s lacrosse: Why are some recruits decommitting? (Chris Jastrzembski)
SU lacrosse may be hitting a turning point... that could wind up trending the program in the wrong direction. Chris doesn’t create a crisis situation around the Orange, but does point to a collection of factors that may not be setting MLAX up to experience the same level of success we’ve enjoyed for decades on end.
James got to speak to Frank Howard at length about what he’s gone through to get to Syracuse and how he stays motivated to succeed. It’s a great feature coming out of several great interviews in the summer before the season started. It also makes you feel even worse for how the senior point guard’s still struggled to get back to 100-percent health.
Who’s Syracuse’s best fit at center? (Dylan Finer)
You know Syracuse has struggled at the center spot this year, so Dylan dove into which player(s) could work best there based on the numbers put up so far. The answer was Marek Dolezaj, and it wasn’t necessarily all that close. Credit to Dylan for diving deep into the numbers, though, and determine exactly why SU might be better served by some small-ball.
That’s far from everything I enjoyed reading here in 2018. And an article’s lack of inclusion doesn’t mean it wasn’t a valuable addition to the site’s busy publishing schedule this past year. It was a busy 12 months for TNIAAM and Syracuse sports, and I do want to thank everyone that wrote and commented for making it all worthwhile.
Hope you all liked these pieces as much as I did, and thanks for reading, as always. TNIAAM couldn’t be what it is without everyone here.