Boeheim’s Army opens up its run in this year’s edition of The Basketball Tournament as the No. 1 seed in the Syracuse region this Friday at 7:00 p.m. against We Are D3 at Onondaga Community College’s SRC Arena.
With some late additions to the roster, BA is set to be one of the most talented teams in the $2 million, winner-take-all tournament. We already introduced you to everyone who is going to be taking the floor, but because this is a Syracuse alumni team (for the most part), let’s take a look back at each member’s greatest moment(s) in an SU uniform.
Head Coach Ryan Blackwell
1998 Big East Tournament
After one year at Illinois as a true freshman, Blackwell transferred to Syracuse in 1996 and became a key cog in the SU machine for the next three seasons. The current Liverpool High School head coach’s standout moment(s) came in a pair of Big East Tournament games in his sophomore year in 1998. The 6-foot-7, 220-pounder grabbed a ridiculous 16 rebounds in a first-round win over Villanova before nailing a last-second shot in OT vs St. John’s in the semifinals (SU would fall to UConn in the championship game), helping to solidify his Orange legacy.
G Eric Devendorf
2009 Big East Tournament Run
The heart and soul of Boeheim’s Army was a fan favorite in his four-year run at SU and still is to this day. Like Blackwell, his marquee moments also came within the confines of a magical Big East Tournament run in 2009. After putting up 19 points in an opening round win over Seton Hall, Devo put together three straight 20-point performances against UConn (22 in 6 OT – his best moment would be a lot different if THAT shot had counted), West Virginia (23) and Louisville (20) in a title game loss. Those 84 points were the most ever in a four-game stretch in a four-game stretch in the BET and that coupled with Devo’s leadership in helping SU make the improbable run to the title game that season, make those four the games the defining moments of his Orange career.
G/F Mike Gbinije
2016 Final Four
One of the newest additions to the Boeheim’s Army roster, Gbinije’s three seasons with SU after transferring from Duke were awesome. Although he’s likely to play forward with BA, Silent G was the starting point guard on SU’s 2016 Final Four team. Far and away the Orange’s best and most consistent player entering the NCAA Tournament (led the team in scoring and assists and was the best defender on the team), Gbinije was slightly overshadowed by the heroics of Malachi Richardson in the Final Four run. He still averaged over 15 points (including two 20-point outings) and nearly 4 assists per game, making him a key piece of one of the most improbable Final Four runs in recent memory, cementing his spot as one of SU’s most loved players of the last five years.
G John Gillon
Duke Buzzer Beater
It was the shot heard ’round the world. In case you forgot or you want to reminisce, here’s your chance:
Gillon spent just one season at SU after transferring from Colorado State, but hitting a half-court buzzer beater in the Dome to beat one of the blue bloods of college basketball and Syracuse’s biggest current “rival” has allowed him to etch his name in the record books. At this point, he can just let the shot do the talking for him.
G B.J. Johnson
Career High 19 Points in Upset Win Over No. 9 Notre Dame
Johnson transferred to LaSalle after just two seasons with SU and went on to have a very successful career with the Explorers. As you can probably guess, he didn’t get much playing time to have a memorable moment at SU, but the one game where he did show out was a big one. The southpaw dropped a career-high 19 points as a sophomore in 2015 to lead the Orange to an upset win over No. 9 Notre Dame in South Bend.
F Chris McCullough
Double-Double in Collegiate Debut
Another guy that didn’t get a chance to make a huge impact in his time at Syracuse, former five-star recruit McCullough played just 16 games as a true freshman before tearing his ACL against Florida State and leaving for the NBA after the season. When he did get a chance to play, the athletic power forward from the Bronx came to CNY with a lot of hype and showed SU fans why when he dropped 13 points and 11 rebounds in his collegiate debut against Kennesaw State. Had he not gotten hurt or if he returned for another season, McCullough could have produced a few more impressive moments, but maybe he’ll get the chance in TBT (although he won’t play on Friday as he finishes up his pro season in the Philippines).
F Arinze Onuaku
Senior Day vs St. John’s
Some Syracuse fans still insist that the Orange would have won the national championship in 2010 if it weren’t for Onuaku going down with a season-ending knee injury in the Big East Tournament that year. A national title would have been the defensive stopper’s all-time career moment if it had happened, but instead his greatest career moment came in his final game in the Carrier Dome. After being a fan favorite throughout his career while he did all of the dirty work in the shadows, AO got his chance to shine on Senior Day against St. John’s when he shot 10-for-13 from the floor, pouring in 21 points and snagging 13 boards, giving himself and the SU fans a proper Carrier Dome sendoff in the process.
G Brandon Triche
Team-High 23 Points in Upset win over No. 1 Louisville
The all-time winningest player in SU basketball history, Triche was one of the most consistent players the program has ever seen in his time with the Orange. That consistency, however, didn’t lead to many all-time great moments, but that changed in February 2013 when then No. 6 Syracuse visited No. 1 Louisville. Triche was unstoppable in the first half, parlaying a perfect 7-for-7 shooting performance into 18 first-half points. He’d add another five in the final 20 minutes to guide SU to a massive upset win over the top-ranked Cardinals.
F Hakim Warrick
The Dunk & The Block
who still has some ridiculous athleticismThe oldest member of the Boeheim’s Army roster at 37-years-old, Warrick is also the only member of the 2003 National Championship team on the squad and the dude was a huge part of that title run. As Gill Gross called him, “the Robin to Carmelo Anthony’s Batman,” Hak provided two of the most memorable plays of the 2003 NCAA Tournament. First, in the semifinal matchup against Texas, he uncorked one of the most ludicrous dunks in March Madness history over the Longhorns’ Royal Ivey:
He’d go on to score 18 points in that game to help SU advance to the final against Kansas where he’d make a play on the defensive end that sealed the title game for SU:
Warrick is still a ridiculous athlete and you can’t help but smile when you see those two plays the then-sophomore made to create a Syracuse legacy unlike many others.
C Darryl Watkins
Block Party as a Senior
One of the most intimidating and effective rim protectors in Syracuse history, Watkins is ranked fifth all-time with 263 blocks in his career at SU and his senior campaign was a huge reason why. His 112 swats in 2007 are the most ever by a senior and it’s the fourth-best single season mark in program history. His ridiculous final campaign was highlighted by a career-high eight block outing against Cincinnati and of the 32 games he played in the 2006-07 season, he had at least one block in all but one and multiple blocks in 27 of 32 outings.
G/F Andrew White III
Senior Night vs Georgia Tech
Similarly to Gillon, White had just one season to etch his name into Syracuse lore as a grad transfer from Nebraska in 2016-17 and he did so very effectively, leading the team in scoring (18.5 ppg) and finishing second on in three-point shooting (40.3%) behind only Gillon. All of his outstanding efforts culminated on Senior Night, when, in his final regular season at the game in the Dome, he thrashed Georgia Tech for a career-high 40 points on 8-for-9 shooting from beyond the arc in a dominant 90-61 victory. Those 40 points are the 9th most ever for a Syracuse player. White would follow by pouring in 34 in a first-round NIT win over UNC Greensboro just a few weeks later.
G Jordan Crawford
The lone member of the BA roster to never play at SU, Crawford will look to mark his name into the Syracuse record books when Boeheim’s Army opens TBT play on Friday night at 7 p.m. against We Are D3