2009-’10 Result: 30-5 (15-3 Big East) lost to Butler 63-59 in the West Region semi-final.
Coach: Jim Boeheim 829-293 (34 seasons on “The Hill”).
Thirty-four SU alums have laced them up in the N.B.A. including current players Carmelo Anthony, Jonny Flynn, Donte Green, Jason Hart, Wes Johnson, Eton Thomas, Hakim Warrick and Darryl Watkins.
The Orange have made 33 NCAA Tournament appearances including back-to-back Sweet Sixteen appearances in the past two campaig. Boeheim has guided his alma mater to “The Dance” on 27 occasions including 11 regional semi-finals, one Elite Eight, two runner-ups and the 2003 title.
Kris Joseph 27.8 mpg, 10.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 74.8 FT percent
Rick Jackson 26.3 mpg, 9.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg
Scoop Jardine 22.2 mpg, 9.1 ppg, 2.3:1 A/TO
Brandon Triche 21.3 mpg, 8.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.8 apg
Notable non-conference tilts: 11/26 vs. Michigan (Legends Classic Championship) 11/27 Georgia Tech or UTEP, 11/30 Cornell, 12/4 North Carolina State, 12/7 vs. Michigan State at New York
Stat of Identity: 19.2 assists per game 2nd in the country, leading to a field goal percentage of 51.6 percent, number one in the country.
By Paul Casey Gotham
The Orange started last year as an after-thought. Few media outlets put Jim Boeheim’s crew in pre-season rankings. By the time they won their 13th tilt out of the gate, SU climbed into the top five.
The team that played with infectious enthusiasm fell victim to late-season expectations, and left fans wondering if the program could rebound after the losses of Wes Johnson, Andy Rautins and Arinze Onuaku.
If the Orange re-capture their mid-season momentum of a year ago, it will be the result of the selfless play established by the ’09-’10 squad.
Kris Joseph started just four games a year ago (all with Onuaku sidelined because of injury), yet the power forward finished third in minutes and scoring. Now, the 6’7″ junior will need to contribute those numbers when he is being counted upon to do so.
Rick Jackson will provide a sizable complement in the paint. The 6’9″ 240 pound Jackson requires opponents to keep a body on him thus opening space for teammates.
Jackson and Joseph thrived in transition last year because of Brandon Triche.
As a freshman, Triche made plenty of mistakes. That was to be expected. But Triche’s single biggest contribution to the ’09-’10 Orange was his court vision. If nothing else, the Jamesville, New York native gets the Orange moving. Triche is at his best from foul line to foul line as he looks up the floor for open teammates. The effect was to motivate the front court to run knowing that Triche would feed them for easy baskets. As last season developed, so, too, did Triche’s ability to get into the lane and finish in traffic. Can Triche do this without Rautins and Johnson spreading out opposing defenses?
While Triche thrived in the full court, Scoop Jardine got in done in the half court. Jardine regularly broke down defenses and found open teammates for points. Jardine will need to learn from the calm provided by Rautins. Jardine was able to take chances because Rautins was there to pick up the pieces. Now, Jardine must walk the high wire without the safety net.
Triche and Jardine rarely played at the same time last year. Look for the Orange to use a two-point-guard system this year.
Last season was arguably Boeheim’s best coaching job in his career. He took a team with little pre-season expectations and made them a team to beat by tournament time. The group reflected their coach’s enthusiasm for the game. Can that enthusiasm carry over to this year?
The names of freshmen, Fab Melo and Dion Waiters, will be frequently be muttered along Marshall Street.