Sunday, December 16, 2007

Capping off a great year in sports...

Last night, Syracuse's Eric Devendorf tore his ACL in a blowout of East Tennessee State University. The junior shooting guard (and by far the most experienced player that actually sees minutes on the team) injured his left knee on a fast break early in the second half of Saturday’s win.

Well "who cares?" one may say. Injuries are injuries right? I can't accept that.

This is an unprecedented run of bad luck. This is the second guard to tear his ACL this year as junior Andy Rautins tore his in a game for the Canadian national team. Right there, two scholarship guards and arguably the two best shooters on the team are lost. Well, two gone, still eight contributors left or so, right? Nope.

With senior Josh Wright apparently leaving the team, the backcourt is completely crippled. Wright, despite not seeing much playing time, may have provided some valuable experience as a backup to the point guard position. So with these injuries and Wright leaving the team, Syracuse is left with seven, yes seven, scholarship players that actually play. This is what the roster looks like now, with scholarship players marked with an asterisk:

PG – Jonny Flynn* (Freshman), Justin Thomas (Junior)
SG – Scoop Jardine* (Fr.), Jake Presutti** (Sr.)
SF – Paul Harris* (So.), Mike Williams
PF – Donte Greene* (Fr.), Kristof Ongenaet* (Jr. – juco transfer)
C – Arinze Onuaku* (So. – redshirt), Rick Jackson* (Fr.), Devin Brennan-McBride* (So.), Sean Williams* (Fr.)
** - Presutti, a former walk-on, was awarded a scholarship this season.

Let’s dissect this roster, which left out a few walk-ons but included Thomas and Presutti, because well, there are only two scholarship guards. The center position appears deep, but Brennan-McBride has been hurt and has seen and will see no time this season. Sean Williams will likely redshirt this season as he hasn’t played at all. Ongenaet is a junior college transfer that has averaged seven minutes per game (most of which came against the early year poor competition).

So this is what Syracuse basketball is left with: Six scholarship players that actually contribute. Four of those six are freshman. Six deep and 2/3 of your players being greatly inexperienced is not the formula needed to succeed in the Big East. With two non-conference losses already, Syracuse needs to win the rest of its out-of-conference slate. Then, the team would likely have to win nine or ten games in Big East play to be considered for the NCAA tournament (last year Syracuse won ten conference games and missed out on the tourney). This is a tall task for six players. Foul trouble, illness, academic problems, another injury, or some other Daryl Gross curse occurrence, and this team has absolutely no bench, literally.
I'm briefly going to try to look at the bright side. Devendorf's injury opens up a great opportunity for both Jackson and Jardine. The two have seen limited playing time, but have shown some promise, and are now tossed right into the fray. The two played together in high school and hopefully will bring some good chemistry to the court. Also, this experience will be very valuable come next season. Devendorf, if healthy, will rejoin the team for his senior season. Greene might go pro. But bringing back all of the young talent with a full season's experience under their belt will be beneficial. And also, at least freak athlete Mike Williams, who is a talented WR on the football team, joined SU’s basketball squad Saturday.

But it's bad news regardless. As I’ve said before, in recent years, Syracuse basketball has provided therapy after the horrendous fall football seasons. But the hardwood squad has not seen great success despite winning the Big East Tournament in 2005 and 2006. Those seasons each ended with first round NCAA tournament losses. Last year the Orange remarkably was snubbed. This season will be trying again. All of this after a 2-10 football season for the ‘Cuse.

Thus wraps up a terrible year of sports. No one wants to hear my whining, but I’m going to go ahead anyway.

- SU Bball: Snubbed from NCAA tournament despite 10 Big East wins and 22 overall.
- Jets: 3-11, disastrous. Could have salvaged season by beating Patriots today, but blew many opportunities.
- SU Football: 2-10. Seven wins in the past 3 years. Administration still heads on to that head coach of those three years, two of which were the worst seasons in Syracuse football history (which stretches over a century). Two best recruits in the past two years suffer possible career threatening injuries. Running joke of college football.
- NY Yankees: Lost in ALDS. At least they made the playoffs. Can’t really complain about them, except for maybe the bugs that attacked the Yanks in Cleveland.
- All the teams I hate - - Celtics, Red Sox, Patriots, Boston College: Celtics one of the best teams in the NBA. Red Sox won some playoff challenge. Patriots charging towards 19-0. BC seeing unheralded success before finally falling apart (sorry Superfans).

I don’t ask you to feel bad for me, I just wanted to vent. But hey, there’s always next season (that doesn’t mean I’m giving up on SU basketball just yet).
Photo credit:


Pat's brother said...

Is this blog called "Giving 111 Percent" or "Whaaaa Whaaaa, I need a tissue for the sand that got in my vagina?"

a disgruntled yankee fan said...

'Bullshit Wars: Attack of the Midges'. Hey umps, it's called a delay. (alds)