Look out college hoops fans because Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse Orange are back in the mix. I’m not sure you can ever say they have really left the map after their National Title season with Carmelo Anthony at the reigns. Since that season, there has been numerous players with talent through their system in up-state New York. For example, a local product like myself, from Scranton, Pennsylvania, was Gerry McNamara. A guy who really brought a sense of toughness and will power to the program. Billy Edelin was a premiere point guard with smooth handles, but was cut short in his college career citing personal reasons. Hakim Warrick was a monster down low along with Terrance Roberts. Now, the 2009-2010 season is shaping up and is showing fans that indeed, Boeheim can still recruit and help his program grow this day in age.
First and foremost, the most notable victory this season came when the Orange absolutely dominated the defending National Champion North Carolina Tar Heels in front of a national crowd at Madison Square Garden. After watching the performance, there were thoughts floating through my head about that National Championship season with the roles these new players have taken. For example, Andy Rautins is the three point specialist and can light it up at any time from beyond the arc. He can likely be compared to McNamara just with a bit more height and ability to create more of his own shots. Arinze Onuaku is a force in the paint who possesses an NBA style body. Hakim Warrick or Jeremy McNeil are comparisons I have drawn from. The only thing is that Warrick has Onuaku beat with the athletic aspect of the game. McNeil and Onuaku do however share the same body build and toughness aspect.
The guards this season look great and possess the quickness to really change the pace of a game. Scoop Jardine will make a lot of things happen with his ability to create steals on the defensive end and find the open man. He leads the team with 41 assists. Wes Johnson, listed at the forward position also can score from numerous spots on the floor and has a quick first step. He leads the team with 18.4 points per game. It’s only a matter of time before we start seeing the epic battles of the Big East unfold and I expect the Orange to be right in the middle, if not at the top of most outings. With the lengthy forwards and potent big man, the guards led by the sharp-shooting Rautins have the ability to really open up big leads. Excitement is the one word that comes to mind as this season just gets underway.