A Decade Later: How Carmelo Anthony Changed Syracuse Hoops Forever

His return trip to the Dome was a reminder at how much SU has been impacted by that season.

Ten years ago, can you believe it? The ’02-’03 season ended with Syracuse cutting down the nets in New Orleans, site of so much horror for the program before that. The kid that erased all those ghosts was back in the Dome this week.

The critics can howl until their orange-and-blue in the face about Carmelo Anthony. You’ve heard it all before: He doesn’t make his teammates better. He doesn’t play any defense. The offense stops when the ball touches his hands. He’ll never win a ring.

There are plenty of very valid criticisms of Melo as an NBA player (although many are breathlessly overblown because of the type of star he has become, and the city he plays in).

Some even point back to his college career and take potshots at being a one-and-done player. Did he even bother showing up on campus his spring semester? Was he at Syracuse for an education or an eight-month vocational program?

But one thing was made certain this week: Melo (and his merry band of underclassmen) made Syracuse basketball better. Forever. That was once again hammered home as the Knicks came to the Carrier Dome to play the Sixers in an exhibition game Sunday.

Scroll through KnicksNow.com Jonah Ballow’s Instagrams from the trip. That look of respect Melo is giving Boeheim on the stationary bikes is just priceless. There’s a general joy that Anthony has for his college experience. An earnest give back to the campus and the community. A bond that has deepened over the years.

There are plenty of reasons to wonder if Darryl Gross is the right man for the job. There’s always rumblings about how clumsy he is socially, how administrators in athletics don’t really trust him. He’s led us down the primrose path with Nike, allowing a sneaker company to have their way with SU’s jerseys and colors and swoosh-tastic-ness. (I mean, freaking Otto has a swoosh on him, now? Argh.)

But Gross’ ability to engineer Melo’s name on the front of the basketball practice facility is an enormous difference maker (although maybe we should give Boeheim the assist on this). How often does a program have a current professional athlete (not to mention super-duper star) donating $3M to his alma mater?

Eighteen-year-old recruits who view Melo as their idol are walking into his facility and looking at his history of just nine years ago. Amazing. And its working. Before Anthony, Syracuse was in a decade-long era of recruiting projects, instead of elite national talent. The classes before Melo included guys like Todd Burgan, Ryan Blackwell, Etan Thomas and Jason Hart. There were some stars (like Lawrence Moten and John Wallace), but SU wasn’t an NBA factory.

Look at what’s happened since Carmelo left for the league. Regular lottery picks (Flynn, Wes, Dion). First rounders (Hakim, Dont’e, Fab). SU is constantly fishing for McDonald’s All-Americans.

The three words are trite, but Melo changed everything. He took the monkey off Boehiem’s back. Now, The Per’fesser is viewed much more Peyton Manning than Dan Marino (he can win it all). His natural defense mechanisms softened, and Boeheim became a favorite for the national media (the local ones still seem to have their run-ins).

SU’s recruiting has only sped up, the Orange pluck from the nation’s best every year. Syracuse is a preseason top-10 program annually, looked at in the same regard as UNC, Duke, Kentucky and Kansas (albeit with less titles).

Now a decade gone by, Carmelo’s affect on the program is arguably getting more impactful every season. Say what you want about his NBA career. Throw all the grenades you want. Orange Nation knows the truth. The game changed when he stepped on campus. For good.

Posted: D.A.

72 Comments on this Post

  1. I have read so many articles regarding the blogger lovers but this paragraph is in fact
    a good piece of writing, keep it up.

  2. Very nice article, totally what I wanted to find.

  3. I just like the helpful info you provide on your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and check again right here
    regularly. I am somewhat certain I will be informed a lot
    of new stuff proper here! Best of luck for the following!

  4. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I
    come across a blog that’s both equally educative and engaging,
    and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head.
    The problem is something that not enough men and women are
    speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I found this during my
    search for something regarding this.

  5. Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is important and everything. But just imagine if you added some
    great photos or video clips to give your posts
    more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and video clips, this website could definitely be one of the
    best in its field. Excellent blog!

  6. I like it when folks get together and share thoughts. Great site, continue
    the good work!

  7. Hello, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just
    curious if you get a lot of spam remarks? If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can suggest?

    I get so much lately it’s driving me mad so any help is very much appreciated.

  8. Hello there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if
    you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment
    form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours
    and I’m having difficulty finding one? Thanks a lot!

  9. An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this
    onto a co-worker who was doing a little homework on this.

    And he in fact bought me dinner due to the fact that I discovered it for him…
    lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to discuss this subject here
    on your web page.

  10. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post
    was great. I do not know who you are but certainly
    you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

  11. It is the best time to make some plans for the long run and it’s time to be happy.
    I’ve learn this put up and if I could I desire to recommend you some attention-grabbing issues or advice.
    Maybe you could write subsequent articles regarding this article.
    I desire to learn even more things approximately it!

  12. This is really attention-grabbing, You are an overly skilled blogger.
    I have joined your feed and look forward to in the hunt for extra of your excellent post.

    Also, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks

  13. Good day! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my
    comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having trouble finding one?

    Thanks a lot!

  14. This blog was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found
    something which helped me. Thanks!

  15. I think that is among the most vital information for me.
    And i am happy studying your article. However wanna remark on few common issues,
    The web site style is perfect, the articles is in reality
    great : D. Just right job, cheers

  16. Hi, just wanted to tell you, I loved this article. It was practical.
    Keep on posting!

  17. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an incredibly long comment
    but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyhow,
    just wanted to say fantastic blog!

  18. Astounding, this is usually quality item of document which i’ve face operating in prolonged extended period of time. Carry out simultaneously take a look at a web pages.

  19. Your blog emerged in my research and i am taken with what you have written during this topic. I will be presently extending my enquiry and thus cannot contribute further, nonetheless, I’ve bookmarked your internet world post and are returning to get caught up with any next updates. Just Now like it and thank you for tolerating my remark.

  20. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site so i came to “return the favor”.I am attempting to
    find things to enhance my website!I suppose its ok to use some
    of your ideas!!

  21. I think this is one of the most significant information for me.
    And i’m glad reading your article. But wanna remark on few general things, The web site style is
    ideal, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

  22. I every time emailed this blog post page to all my
    associates, since if like to read it then my contacts will too.

Comments have been disabled.