Rakeem Christmas to Visit Syracuse Friday

Friday’s preseason NBA tilt between the Pistons and the Timberwolves lost some of its luster when Jonny Flynn was ruled out because of a hip injury. However, Minnesota carries two other Orange: Wes Johnson returns to campus for the first time since his magical season last year and another SU point guard great, Jason Hart will dish at the Dome.

On the flip side, the Pistons essentially carry the Big East’s All-Decade team. Try three Huskies (Rip Hamilton, Charlie Villanueva, Ben Gordon), two Hoyas (Greg Monroe, DeJaun Summers) and a Bearcat (Jason Maxiell).

The most intriguing player to Orange Nation though, may be on the sidelines instead of the court. Fizz sources have uncovered that the big fish in SU’s ’11 recruiting class, Rakeem Christmas, will be on hand to take in the game. He’ll spend the day on campus and sit courtside at the Dome. Christmas, as you all know, is the beast of a center who surprisingly committed to the Orange in August.

Other notes: Anyone in CNY has drawn tired of the radio promo advertising this event. It’s that faux-radio announcer who calls a “Wes to Jonny alley-oop!” and then finishes with a call of “unbelievable!” Of course it’s unbelievable. You’re acting!

As mentioned, it’s unfortunate Jonny can’t play in the game because of that hip injury. Damn shame indeed. What the Orange faithful can expect is plenty of minutes for Wes Johnson, the envy of everyone’s hearts.

This could be one of those “show up midway through the first and maybe leave after the third-quarter” type of games. ‘Cuse fans are avid basketball-ballers, but there’s only so much Rodney Stuckey vs. Luke Ridnour we can all stomach.

It’ll be a pretty great atmosphere on campus. Plenty of legends will be back in the Dome to commemorate Jim Boeheim’s Sporting News Coach of The Year Award (Pearl Washington, Dave Bing, etc.) and past football stars for homecoming. Floyd Little will be in town (does he ever really leave?) along with some other heroes of yore. The 36 hours of sporting weekend at the Carrier Dome is gonna be a fun one at that.

It also means that Pete Sala, the Carrier Dome’s upkeep and assistant athletic director, is gonna have his hands full with turning the floor from basketball to football. He’ll have only nine hours between the end of the basketball game and the start of football warm-ups. God speed, Pete.

Posted: Ted Conroy


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