I was 10 years-old when in 1976 Jim Boeheim, in his first year as head coach, brought in a class that would vault the program, a class that included Roosevelt Bouie and Louie Orr, the first year I started to listen to ever Syracuse game on the radio -- my dad was an alum and we lived in suburban NYC.
At 6'8" and 160 pounds, Orr did not look the part of a hoop star but that is just what he was, pretty much from day 1, someone who could score inside and out, rebound well, defend, and even be a playmaker, averaging 3 assists a game by his last year. In an era where some players were showboats, Orr was the opposite, exceptionally efficient (56% career shooter), and focused on using every ounce of his talent to help the team and to improve. The Bouie and Louie show made the cover of Sports Illustrated and made Syracuse a rising force at a critical time as the program transition from a regional power to a national one.
Orr's play made him the 28th pick of the 1980 NBA draft, and he played eight seasons for the Pacer and Knicks.
I know there was tribute post this past week to Pearl Washington and deservedly so, but it was Louie and Bouie who really put Syracuse on the National Map, taking them to four NCAA tourney, including two Sweet 16s. Without them, I doubt Pearl goes to Syracuse.
As good as Orr was on the court, he was even better off it, by all accounts, a man with enduring kindness and professionalism. That Boeheim calls him the best man he has ever know says volumes.
Rest in peace, Louie.