It’s no secret that the Syracuse Orange men’s lacrosse team isn’t at the level of its former glory. That doesn’t mean #FireDesko at all. SU just so happens to be falling victim — like most traditional powers — to the expansion of the college game and the broadening base of talent that’s dispersing itself to various programs around the country.
The New York Times seems to have noticed as well, and went up to Syracuse to talk write about it. SU isn’t the only program they focus on, of course. But they do become the poster boys for the old guard ceding some room at the top for new blood. That doesn’t mean they’re fading out of relevance (hi, Princeton, Virginia briefly, Hopkins to some extent). It just means they were the biggest brand before, so their recent Big Barbeque absence has been the most obvious.
It’s a good read, in any case. So check out that, plus the rest of your Syracuse-related links below:
As college lacrosse levels its field, its old powers aren’t cheering (The New York Times)
For decades, that handful of schools had a lock on the best recruits, many of whom grew up in the lacrosse hotbeds of New York State, Ontario and the regions surrounding Philadelphia and Baltimore. Native Americans from the Upstate Iroquois tribes who popularized the indigenous game once headed straight for Syracuse. But as lacrosse expanded far beyond its Mid-Atlantic base, the balance of power has shifted in the college game, which remains the marquee version of the sport, outshining pro lacrosse.
Over the last five years, NBA teams have drafted a total of 12 college players who did not secure combine invitations. That’s fewer than three per year. The highest of those picks was Josh Huestis, whom the Thunder selected with the 29th pick of the 2014 NBA Draft. Huestis subsequently spent most of his career in the G League.
The Orange weren’t ranked in our Way-Too-Early poll in January, but after spring consideration and based on what Syracuse has returning, maybe they should’ve been. This team will have one of the best defensive fronts in the ACC and isn’t expecting much of a drop-off offensively despite losing quarterback Eric Dungey. One of the more underrated coaches nationally, Dino Babers has a home game vs. Clemson circled in heavy marker.
But Desko would prefer that emotion be directed at a real opponent, an opportunity denied in part by a switch in the ACC’s lacrosse tournament for this year. Even apart from Syracuse’s loss to North Carolina Desko said he wasn’t happy about the change, and he said he’ll discuss with league coaches a way to come up with a better postseason format starting next season.
The ACC has let its members decide whether or not to televise their spring games in the past. According to Swofford, that won’t change — schools won’t be contractually obligated to put the game on the network — but the conference wants to get more of those games on the air. “I think most schools will want to have it (televised), ESPN will welcome it,” Swofford said.
Offseason report: Jalen Carey (Cuse Nation)