In honor of the return of arguably the best/most famous Syracuse basketball alumni, Carmelo Anthony, to the Carrier Dome this week, we took a trip down memory lane and thought about the top SU players of the past decade. We picked out the ten best Orange basketball players starting from the 2002-2003 season (the NCAA Championship Season) up until this past season. We focused on STATISTICS, CAREER LENGTH (very few one year wonders made the countdown; sorry Donte Green) and FAN LEGACY. Keep in mind we did not focus on overall talent. This list had very little to do with the overall success the players went on to have professionally (or lack thereof). This is a SYRACUSE COUNTDOWN. Bust out the ‘One Shining Moment’ Montage and let’s begin.
10. Scoop Jardine (2007-2012)
Scoooooooop!!! Do we need to say more? The 5-year fan favorite had solid averages of 9ppg/4.5ast over his tenure, and was NCAA 6th man of the year his redshirt sophomore season. Jardine had numerous big shots for Syracuse his last 2 years on campus that helped land him on list. Not to mention he is 6th on the all-time assists list at Syracuse.
9. Demetris Nichols (2003-2007)
Scoring just under 19 ppg on his way to 1st team All Big East and Honorable Mention All American his senior year, Nichols was a deadly outside shooter who had a stellar senior year and a solid four-year career. He was also 5th all-time in SU history in three pointers made.
8.Keith Duany (1999-2003)
The lone senior on the Championship team during the 2002-2003 season, Duany was the anchor and leader of the perimeter defense in the 2-3 zone. One of the most likable Orange players of all-time, Duany played the game unselfishly and still averaged over 11 ppg in his junior and senior seasons.
7.Eric Devendorf (2005-2009)
Either you love him or hate him (even we are split); Devendorf’s impact was undeniable. Devo was a key player all 3 years he played and left Syracuse with a 14.5 ppg average for his career. Devendorf will be remembered for a variety things (good and bad), one being the big moments like the UConn 6OT Big East Tourney game his junior year.
6. Kris Joseph (2008-2012)
Last year’s leading scorer comes in at number 6 on our list. A 4-year contributor who showed continual growth over his 4 years on campus, Kris was Big East 6th man of the Year his sophomore year, and finished his career as an Honorable Mention All American and All Big East 1st team player. A quiet leader, Joseph can only be described as consistent.
5. Andy Rautins (2005-2010)
Son of former SU player, Leo Rautins, Andy was a clutch three point shooter for five years at SU (redshirted due to an injury). Rautins was an AP All American Honorable Mention while averaging 12.1ppg/4.9ast his senior year. Rautins always put in the extra effort and was a scrappy player. His three point shooting ranks amongst the greats in SU history, as he is 2nd all time.
4. Jonny Flynn (2007-2009)
One game could put Jonny Flynn on this list: SU vs. UConn March 12, 2009 Big East Tournament Semi-Finals. 6 overtimes. 34 points, 11 assists, 6 steals, 67 minutes. On top of that, Flynn led SU to a Sweet Sixteen appearance and averaged 16.6ppg/6ast in his two years. Flynn entered the draft early and is still an SU legend. He had success in his first year in the NBA, making the all-rookie 2nd team, but has battled injuries since then.
3. Hakim Warrick (2001-2005)
Hakim is remembered for the game saving blocked shot to seal the championship game win against Kansas, but Warrick did much more during his 4 years. A 3 time All Big East Team (2 first teams, one third) and a senior year 1st team All American, Hakim finished his senior year with 22ppg and was known for some of the best dunks. Hakim has had a solid NBA career as a role player averaging 9.5ppg in his career.
2. Carmelo Anthony (2002-2003)
This is not a typo. Carmelo Anthony is number 2. It hurts me as much as it hurts you, I swear. Carmelo averaged 22ppg and 10reb on his way to being named Second Team All American and the NCAA Most Outstanding Player on the championship team of 2002-2003 before leaving to be the 3rd pick in the NBA draft. He was simply unstoppable his one year at Syracuse. He’s also by far having the best NBA career of any Orange. While being our only “one year wonder” exception on the list, Carmelo did bring home a National Championship. But, he also had the help of another player who was the heart and soul of Syracuse basketball for four years instead of one…
1.GERRY MCNAMARA (2002-2006)
GERRY! GERRY! GERRY! The epitome of the ideal college basketball player… and we all know “we wouldn’t have won ten #$%*ing games without Gerry McNamara,” as quoted by Jim Boeheim, not us… Gerry’s career and impact shouldn’t be measured just on his stats, which can make a case for themselves. Did we mention Gerry is 4th all-time at SU in scoring, 3rd in assists, and 1st in three pointers with 400 three pointers made? In Gerry’s senior year he single handedly carried the Orange to their second straight Big East Tournament Championship Title while winning four games in four days and becoming the lowest seeded team to EVER win the tournament. Gerry had more big moments than anyone else; some of our personal favorites include the Vermont Double Clutch and the Cincinnati Floater.
Dion Waiters, Arinze Onuaku, Brandon Triche, Wesley Johnson, Darryl Watkins, Josh Pace
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-Ian Flickinger & John Matthews