The basketball world let out collective groan of disapproval this week after the Warriors signed All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins for pennies on the dollar. With the former Pelican now on the roster, the defending champs have a multi-time All-NBA selection at every position.
The super team getting even more super all but guarantees a third straight championship for the Warriors and their fourth in five years. But fear not college basketball purists, your game is far from tainted by super teams (even if they do bring FBI allegations). Duke and Kentucky have owned the top recruiting class every year since 2008, yet have combined for just three championships in that eleven year span.
While Syracuse has never really had a super team in a single season (and few programs really ever do), historically the Orange could put together one that goes toe-to-toe with anyone’s all-time team in the country.
PG – Dave Bing
Jim Boeheim’s old roommate may not resonate with new-age SU fans since he’s the only guy on this list to not actually play for a Boeheim-coached team. But Bing is arguably the greatest to ever put on an Orange uniform. I guess it’s technically an Orangemen uniform in his case. He averaged better than 22 points per game in each of his three seasons before going second overall in the 1966 NBA Draft. Although he ranks ninth on the Orange’s all-time points list, he would have surely owned the SU scoring crown had he stayed for his senior year.
SG – Lawrence Moten
The man whose mark Bing would have to surpass is Moten’s. The Orange’s all-time leading scorer was a force every year he was in central New York. His accolades are also up there with anyone in Orange history. He was the Big East Rookie of the Year his freshman season. Along with that, Moten is one of just a dozen players in the history of the conference to be named to three All-Big East First teams. He also notched three All-American honors in his final three seasons at SU.
SF – Carmelo Anthony
This may seem controversial to some since Melo only played one season with the Orange, but what more could you ask from the kid? Anthony put together arguably the greatest freshman season in college basketball history. He averaged 22.2 points per game, continued that scoring dominance on the biggest stage in the NCAA Tournament and took home the crown on a team that didn’t have much experience. He was the best player on a championship team as a freshman. That’s pure dominance. All of that resulted in him being named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player. Without Melo, there’s no banner in the rafters, which would have made Syracuse the most prolific program without a championship.
PF – John Wallace
This was a toss-up between Wallace and Hakim Warrick and easily the toughest decision. Their numbers are pretty similar. They had the same type of impact in terms of their roles. But Wallace carried a team to a national championship game. That’s not to take away anything from Warrick’s efforts in the Orange’s title run. After all, Warrick is the one with the ring and the block that may have won the game. But Wallace dominated every step of the way en route to the 1996 championship game and put up the best stat line of anyone on the floor in the final against a loaded Kentucky team that had NBA players coming off the bench. Wallace’s 29 point, 10 rebound effort in that contest wasn’t even his best game of the tournament. He posted 30 points and 15 rebounds against Georgia in the Sweet 16 matchup.
C – Derrick Coleman
Big D.C. was one of the baddest to play in the Big East. In fact, he somewhat resembles the Warriors’ newest addition Cousins. Both hail from Mobile, Alabama and dominate with their bodies both on the block and on the boards. He left SU as the program’s all-time leading scorer which was later broken by Moten. Like Moten, he was also named to three All-Big East First Teams. All of this led to Coleman getting picked number one overall in the 1990 NBA Draft. The only thing that would have topped off his resume would have been a national championship, which he came oh so close to doing in 1987 as just a freshman.
6th Man – Pearl Washington
You can’t create an SU super team and not bring up The Pearl. While other players’ stats may be better than Washington’s, nobody had the same type of impact. Along with Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin, Pearl helped shift the paradigm of the Big East from a no-name conference to one of college basketball’s elite. He was an electrifying guard who could score, facilitate and had a knack for the remarkable. Washington was an All-American in all three of his seasons before turning pro. Without Pearl, who knows where Syracuse’s brand would be today? He created the allure that surely helped draw future players after watching his select games that aired on TV back in the day.
So how about that. A super team created that does NOT feature Hakim Warrick or Gerry McNamara. I guess this team won’t win 10 f***king games.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know by leaving a comment or Tweet your all-time Syracuse super team to @OrangeFizz.