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College / Mar 25, 2010 / 12:30 pm

My Top 10 Syracuse Orange Players of the Last 25 Years


What’s up everyone? Yeah, your boy CGF is back…and I have to get some stuff off my chest. Last night Pat informed me of his favorite Duke Blue Devils of the past 25 years list and like a lot of you guys, I am in shock. I know, I know it’s a “favorite” list but still no Jay Will or C-Booz?!?

With that said, I needed to get in on this being that I am huge Syracuse Orange fan. ‘The ‘Cuse has always been my team, growing up in New York I used to go to St. John’s and LIU games with my uncle. For some reason I never felt like a fan. There were players I though were nasty like Felipe Lopez and Mike Campbell, but I never really rooted for their respective programs. Even when Syracuse had tough seasons, the Orangemen (no the Orange) were always my squad.

Here are my Top 10 players of the last 25 years:

10. Jim Boeheim – There is something you have to respect about a walk on at the ‘Cuse like Coach B did back in the day who practiced and worked his way to actually getting playing time. Who knew he’d work his way to becoming the greatest college coach ever? Yeah, I said it … ok, I got ahead of myself. He’s top 10 though!

9. Jason Cipolla – Man Jason Cipolla could shoot the sh*t out of the ball. He wasn’t as good of a shooter as other Syracuse gunners like Marius Janulis, but when it came down to it Cipolla hit big shots. I remember in 1996 when Cipolla hit a jumper that tied the game against Georgia in the NCAA Tourney. Plus, if you didn’t know, last I heard he dates Lorraine Bracco from The Sopranos. Don’t ask any questions, just know he’s the f’n man

8. Otis Hill – I’m not sure if I am an Otis Hill fan because of what he did on the floor or because he is from around my way. I remember playing in summer leagues at Ferris Avenue Park in White Plains and staying late to watch Otis Hill and his cousin Danya Abrams go at it. O was a great compliment to John Wallace on that great ‘Cuse front line of the mid-’90’s. He rebounded very well and didn’t need plays run for him to score. Kinda reminds me of Arinze Onuaku.

7. Jonny Flynn – When I first started at Dime I had to interview some high school players who were about to hoop in the Jordan Classic. I remember asking Malik Boothe, who is at St. John’s now, who was the best player he ever played against and he said Jonny Flynn. I knew Flynn had committed to ‘Cuse but I hadn’t really had a chance to see him play at that point. Well, he didn’t disappoint. Flynn has the heart of a 7-4 dude. Jonny never backed down while on the court during his short stint up in Syracuse and his performance in the 6-OT thriller will go down as one of the greatest single performances in NCAA history.

6. Demetris Nichols – What is there not to like about a 6-8 shooter? I’ve talked to Nichols on more than one occasion and he is one of the most soft spoken cats I know … but don’t let that fool you. Nichols got buckets all over the Big East. His last year he led the conference in scoring and was snubbed (yeah I said it Austin) when Jeff Green of Georgetown won POY honors. This mix makes me cry. I think it’s the song…

5. Hakim Warrick – Affectionately known as “Skinny,” Hakim Warrick made arguably the single greatest play in the history of Syracuse basketball. I remember watching the National Championship Game in my dorm room while all of my friends were out at some party. Hakim held it down during the rest of his Orange career, and is doing his thing in the L for the Chicago Bulls. Does anyone remember this…?

4. Andy Rautins – I don’t wanna say “I told you so,” but I TOLD YOU SO. Back when Andy first started out at Syracuse I knew he was going to be good. So good that on College Hoops 2K3 he was my go-to guy. I dubbed the Jamestown, N.Y. native “Andy Buckets.” People thought Rautins was just a shooter, but he’s shown that he not only has a ratchet but he is also a floor leader, has heart (coming back from that terrible knee injury), and can pass the hell out of the ball. I have been arguing for a minute with Pat about if he is a pro or not. I mean, the dude had 24 points in the destruction of Gonzaga. I’m just sayin…

3. Billy Edelin – How many of you guys remember Billy Edelin? Going into the 2002-2003 season I was the biggest Billy Edelin fan there was, and I hadn’t even see him play yet! Billy had some problems when he first got up to Syracuse and had to sit out a few games, but I knew about his big time rep coming out of Oak Hill. I think I liked him because we had similar styles of play: EVERYTHING TO THE BASKET NO MATTER WHAT.

2. Carmelo Anthony – No he isn’t number one for me, but ‘Melo is still that dude. I saw Melo play in the Garden against Memphis early in his first and only year at Syracuse, and while the Orange lost I was in awe of the kid’s ability. I saw him play against LeBron on TV in his senior year at Oak Hill and thought, “OK, Coach Boeheim got just another athletic 6-8 wing.” Well I was wrong. Melo’s game even at a young age was so smooth, he killed that year at ‘Cuse and was unstoppable in the NCAA Tournament. He gave Texas the business, who had National Player of the Year TJ Ford on their roster, on the way to the NCAA Championship. I wonder what ‘Melo is doing now, anyone heard from him or seen him…?

1. Gerry McNamara – It hurts my heart every day that I wake up and I don’t see G-Mac in an NBA jersey. The kid from Scranton came into his college career with little to no hype and left a legend. He, in my opinion is one of the greatest performers in college basketball history. Oh, you don’t agree? He tied the record for threes made in a National Championship Game as a freshman and won a title and he has a slew of buzzer beaters under his belt. Oh, and he won the Big East Tournament BY HIMSELF! Jim Boeheim said it best… we love you Gerry!!

(NOTE: With these lists, there’s a difference between “best” and “favorite.”)

Honorable Mention: Josh Pace, Preston Shumpert, Damone Brown, Kueth Duany, and Terrance Roberts

Check out these other Sweet 16 Favorite Articles:

My Top 10 Favorite Michigan State Spartans of the Past 25 Years

My Top 10 Favorite Duke Blue Devils of the Past 25 Years

My Top 10 Favorite Washington Huskies of the Past 25 Years

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  • Kermit The Washington

    I was just thinking about that dude…what ever happened to Gary McNamara? Dude’s name was on everyone’s lips for like 5 minutes and then disappeared.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    LOL CGF dude made my morning with that Demetris Nichols clip. “I think it’s the song…” haha miss seeing your writing on here! Are you writing for another site or publication, or are you off doing your TV star thing?

  • RC

    Carmelo Anthony is my favorite NBA player to come from Syracuse.

    Andy Rautins is my favorite player currently playing for Syracuse.

    Warrick and McNamara are good too.

  • Tbest

    I loved Billy Owens back in the day. The old squads with Owens, Seikaly, douglas, etc.

  • http://www.Nike.com Christian Grant-Fields

    @Dagwaller,
    Whats good man? ‘Preciate the love bro. I’ve been chillin man, I don’t write too much anymore so I jumped at the chance to bless dimemag.com. I recently took a gig at Nike so I am still involved with basketball heavily. As far as the ‘TV Star’ stuff goes…you might see me on the idiot box again, who knows!?

    -CGF

  • http://dimemag.com bullet380

    No Lawrence Moten? Dude wasn’t the fastest, didn’t jump the highest, but knew how to get BUCKETS!

  • CV

    When are you guys going to do the U of Arizona Wildcats?! Show some love to the Pac

  • http://housethatglanvillebuilt.blogspot.com Reverend Paul Revere

    Boehmeim wasn’t a player in the past 25 years, but I get ya. Hakim is my man.

  • http://www.Nike.com Christian Grant-Fields

    I know but I had to throw him on there!!! LOL

  • sweetv0mit

    G-Macs in the D-League

  • Nyeme

    Lawrence Moten? John Wallace?

  • Taj

    CGF… Where you been homie?? Nice list.. but no love for John Wallace?? Dude was killa back in tha day.. Started every game of his career.. Avg 22 & 8 as a senior…

    Is there a new season for your show?

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Being a G’town fan, I watched enough Syracuse teams to at least respect what they do. I was even rooting for them to beat Kentucky in the ’96 title game.

    My Top-5 ‘Cuse guys would be: John Wallace, Lawrence Moten, Carmelo, Hakim Warrick and Flynn. Shout-out to Lazarous Sims.

    And you’re wrong, CGF: Jeff Green was absolutely the best player in the Big East that year.

  • weng santos

    Yeah I was crushed too when Andy Rautins tore up his knee. I’m happy for him that he’s made it all the way back.

    The 96 Orange squad featured one more player who will always be a favorite of mine: Lazarus Sims. Averaged about 4 points a game (not sure, but yeah he wasn’t a scorer), but for me it was his leadership that counted. I don’t know, maybe I’m just a sucker for unheralded, marginally talented guys with big fighting hearts.

  • Thunder Dan

    G-Mac is an assistant coach for Syracuse- I go to Cuse and go to every game and he’s on the bench with his wife in the front row at every game…Chucks tonight for the massacre of Butler

  • weng santos

    ^ I love it when non-superstars lead their teams. Sims led by example, and he always put the team first.

  • ORANGEMAN73

    I had the opportunity to live in Syracuse NY during the early 80’s to the late 90’s, I grow up on Syracuse basketball. I understand you are entitled to your opinion,but you cannot leave out, Pearl Washington- Derrick Coleman – Sherman Douglas – Billy Owens — Lazarus Sims (hometown boy)– Rony Seikaly — Conrad Mcrae — Lawrence Motten — Dave Bing — Leo Rautins — Steven Thompson — Herman Harried — Leron Ellis — Dave Johnson– Jason Hart– Howard Triche (Hometown Boy)so many players Syracuse Basketball has produced. Some great and Some not so great. Go Cuse!

  • http://www.Nike.com Christian Grant-Fields

    @Taj,
    Believe it or not, I wasn’t too big on John Wallace. I’m good homie, just taking care of business! Lol. New season…I highly doubt it, I’ve been hearing stuff here and there though. I’ll keep y’all posted.

  • mules

    His style of play wasn’t my favorite but Marius Janulis was at ‘Cuse the same years I was and his girlfriend was bonkers!! J.B. Reafsnyder always seemed to get clowned on but he a real cool dude. Moten’s gotta make the list for the socks alone.

  • jmg

    where’s Derrick Coleman?

  • russ

    I too am surprised at no lawrence moten..and a little john wallace as well. no love for sherm either.

  • http://vvcsports.com sanchez

    what’s good with you christian it’s good to see you back!!..yo no john wallace who basically carried that 96′ team to the national championship, and lawrence moten too. sherman douglas. but i can’t believe that you put billy edelin in the top ten. dude is always in some trouble either it’s on the court and off the court.

  • that dude e

    This list is about as bs as the Duke list.

    No DC, Sherman Douglas, Billy Owens, John Wallace, or Poetry in Moten.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Why do we have to keep explaining that “favorite” is different from “best”? No one’s saying Coleman, Moten, Wallace, etc., weren’t great at Syracuse, but this is CGF’s list of his FAVORITE players. If Wallace isn’t one of his favorites, that’s his opinion.

    Michael Jordan is probably the greatest player of all-time, but he’s probably not in my Top-10 favorites.

  • http://dimemag.com bullet380

    @ Austin Burton:

    No one is asking you to “keep explaining” that favorite is different from best. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I was personally looking for a response from CGF as to why a certain player (in my case, Lawrence Moten) might not be on HIS list. You’re not the only college educated person on this site you know. Some of us have a great understanding and command of the English language as well.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @bullet380 — I wasn’t so much replying to you but to the guy directly above my comment. Asking how come somebody didn’t include a certain player is one thing (like you did), but saying a “favorites” list is B.S. (like he did) is different. If I made a list of my 10 favorite NBA players and Jordan wasn’t on it, I’d fully expect people to ask me why. But to say my list was dumb because MJ wasn’t on it, that’s the annoying part.

  • MoxWestCoastRep

    uh oh, Cat fight!

  • http://dimemag.com bullet380

    @ Austin:

    You’re right. I agree with you on that 100%.

  • J

    what Preston Shumpart?

  • Marvin

    @Christian Grant-Fields

    You don’t like DC?

  • weng santos

    Lazarus Sims was- to me- Jason Kidd Extra Lite in 96.

    Not as potent, but same kind of playmaker essence.

  • lon

    i think it would be cool if you did the terrapins

  • luke

    Gotta love Ron Seikaly! If for no other reason than his ex wife Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Elsa Benitez!! Damn!

  • Seven Duece

    another writer who’s articles i’m gonna have to avoid in the future; fuck outta here!