For Syracuse Orange men’s basketball player Marek Dolezaj the wait was long overdue. Like Michelangelo waiting for the late pizza delivery man in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dolezaj had to delay gratification before he could indulge in his favorite post-game meal.
After chipping a tooth against Georgetown on Jan. 9, Dolezaj was mandated to forego pizza for two weeks. He wouldn’t wait a day more as the senior grabbed a pie from Mario & Salvo’s following the team’s win over No. 16 Virginia Tech on Saturday.
Fresh off the win, Dolezaj made his way to the post-game podium but before he could speak a Syracuse spokesperson made it known that Dolezaj would have a familiar meal. We’re easily sold here, so we took the bait and asked about it. Dolezaj laughed when asked and said he knew the question was coming.
As the story goes, during the 2018 ACC Tournament in Dolezaj’s freshman year, he dropped a then career-high 20 points on Wake Forest then subsequently declined an interview with ESPN. He fielded questions from various media members in the locker room then left the Barclays Center with an entire pie for himself. He ate the whole thing. A week later he fittingly emerged in Little Caesar’s Arena as Syracuse made a run to the Sweet 16.
Dolezaj’s pizza antics have become a running joke in Syracuse circles and teammates have picked up on it. Buddy Boeheim had no qualms sharing Dolezaj’s pizza affinity on Packer and Durham two weeks ago.
Against Virginia Tech, Dolezaj had an important 18 points (8-8 from the free throw line) and six rebounds that boosted the team to its first ranked win of the season. In the previous game against Miami, Dolezaj went scoreless only taking one shot. It would be easy to mistake that for a lack of aggression but Dolezaj insisted his team didn’t need him to score in that game. Against the Hokies he knew he could take advantage of All-ACC candidate Keve Aluma by making him defend from the perimeter and driving by with his quickness.
“Last game I didn’t score anything but we played great defense and the team didn’t need me that much. But today they had the big guys and I knew I could drive on them,” Dolezaj said.
Dolezaj got Aluma in foul trouble and neutralized his offense. He was held to a season-low two points on 1-10 shooting. Added Jim Boeheim:
“Every game is different. Some teams are more capable of defending him. They had a difficult time with him at the center position. Their bug guy is a really good offensive player. He had trouble playing him away from the basket,” Boeheim revealed.
Dolezaj played all 40 minutes on Saturday. All this to say, he can work up quite an appetite. So as he’s wont to do after big performances, he of course had a celebratory pie.
Sporting braces across his maxillary teeth — due to his dental difficulties — Dolezaj said he’d still have to use a fork and knife. That still wouldn’t stop him from consuming the whole pie.
“No I need to go home and cut it up,” Dolezaj said. “But trust me I’ll eat it all.”
It might’ve taken a full two weeks for Dolezaj to enjoy in his favorite meal, but this pie was still on the Syracuse Athletics house. Wise man say: Forgiveness is divine, but never pay full price for late pizza.