If there is one thing Syracuse Orange basketball fans can agree on, it’s that the basketball team is usually one of the best looking teams in whichever conference they call home. As Jersey Week rolls along at SBNation, we roll from ranking the top modern football jerseys, into ranking basketball jerseys.
The Orange have had many looks over the years, but there are have been core elements that have stuck around more often than not. And so, instead of trying to compile and rank all the jerseys the Orange have worn, I decided to choose the top 5. Once again, like football, these jerseys are not based on how the team performed in the uniform, but rather, how the jersey looks by my incredibly correct (read: subjective) uniform aesthetic rating.
#5: Current Primary Road
We start off with some heat, in both takes and overall jersey quality. Personally, I love the homage to jerseys of the past with the blue-white-orange boxing down the side paneling, and having both ‘Cuse and Syracuse options on the Orange is subtle touch. This, coupled with a much improved short design makes it a solid modern jersey for the Orange I hope they stick with for awhile.
#4: The Louie-Bouie Era Road Jerseys
I’m sticking with road jerseys because godamnit the Orange look better in orange. These jerseys are the inspiration for the newest home-road jerseys, with the blue-white-orange blocking down the side of the jerseys and the pants. However, these jerseys stand out because the collar also contains this pattern, continuing what I think is crucial for Syracuse basketball jerseys: colored collars.
#3: 2003 Home & Away
Yes, I’m lumping both jerseys in this, it’s my list and therefore my rules. I love this jersey for so many small reasons that come together to make a clean and distinct jersey in an era of loud and overcrowded basketball uniforms. The collar brings in all the Syracuse colors, the single consistent piping down the side panels into the shorts is bold without being overbearing, and the jersey features the best Syracuse Basketball logo that has ever existed. Add in the subtle arc of lettering and you have the best non-script jersey the Orange have ever worn.
#2 1983-1988 Road Jersey
While very simple in it’s design, the Orange jersey top with script Syracuse may be the closest thing to an “defining” look for the ‘Cuse athletic department. It’s a timeless look, and on the basketball court, it only needed slight shoulder and collar striping to complete the look. The pants oversized waistband may be a bit dated, but it broke up the all orange look very effectively; The all white homes made the blue stand out far too much for an Orange jersey. It’s disappointing that when Syracuse last tried to replicate this look, someone decided that navy shorts was the best option. I’m still scared by that look and that game.
#1: 1989-1993 Home Jersey
This jersey checks all the boxes for me when it comes to what I want from a ‘Cuse basketball jersey; Script Syracuse? Yes, with a beautiful arc as well. Striped collar? Oh yes, with matching shoulder striping as well! Side panel design? Yes, and it’s simple but brings enough Orange to the party that you don’t forget it’s the ORANGE you’re getting bodied by. And while we don’t have a good image of it here, those who remember these unis in action know that the shorts continued the paneling and had a simple block S logo that proves you can have both script and block logos existing in harmony. Syracuse’s current “throwbacks” almost exactly lift from this template, minus the arched wordmark.
So there you have it. There have been plenty of other jerseys, and I definitely left off some great ones, so we want to hear from you: what would your top 5 ranking look like? Let us know in the comments!