Former Fizz is a new interview series where we talk with previous Orange Fizz staff writers about Syracuse sports from when they were on campus. Topics include specific players and games, special memories and of course Jim Boeheim throughout the years. You can listen to all of the episodes on the Orange Fizz SoundCloud or orangefizz.net.
On this episode, Connor Morrissette joins the program to take a trip down memory lane. Connor is currently a reporter for SBLive Sports in California, but he called Syracuse University home from 2013-2017. He remembers Syracuse Football starting 3-0 but then losing the next eight and Syracuse Basketball starting 20-0 but then losing early in the tournament. The interview is below, followed by an abbreviated Q&A from the discussion. We hope you enjoy!
QUESTION: Did you enjoy following SU football or basketball more while you were a student?
ANSWER: By nature I am more of a football-guy. Even though the basketball team was better and the football program wasn’t doing too well, I still liked covering the team and the recruits it brought in.
QUESTION: Who were some of the big recruits Syracuse Football brought in while you were at SU?
ANSWER: Sterling Hofrichter was a big recruit as a punter/kicker. I was also able to interview Kendall Coleman, but I never got to talk to Eric Dungey, which is disappointing.
QUESTION: What was the most impressive performance from an individual football player you remember while you were on the hill?
ANSWER: I remember Amba Etta-Tawo, a transfer from Maryland, and how great he was during his one year at SU. Specifically, he caught a hail mary touchdown against Florida State when I was calling the game, which stands out as an amazing play from him. Even though the team wasn’t great when he was there, Etta-Tawo was a player that brought fans out to watch.
QUESTION: What was Scott Shafer like as a coach and what were your opinions when he was fired?
ANSWER: In 2015 there were a lot of discussions among students if Shafer should be fired or not. He started that season 3-0, but then lost the next eight games, which made me want him to leave.
QUESTION: How was Scott Shafer as a person, outside of football?
ANSWER: He was definitely a guy you would want to get a beer with, but because they lost so much, he was so mad in many of his press conferences.
QUESTION: As an incoming freshman, what were your opinions on Syracuse changing from the ACC to the Big East?
ANSWER: I really liked Big East basketball when I was growing up, but I didn’t really mind that Syracuse was changing over. As a freshman, I really enjoyed ACC basketball, especially during the first time Duke came to the Carrier Dome.
QUESTION: Of the four rosters Syracuse basketball put together while you were a student, which team was the best?
ANSWER: The best team was definitely from my freshman year in 2013-2014. They started 20-0, but then the wheels came off at the end. Still, though, they had so much talent like Tyler Ennis and CJ Fair.
QUESTION: If you could put together a starting five of Syracuse basketball players that played while you were a student, who would be in it?
ANSWER: Tyler Ennis, Malachi Richardson, CJ Fair, Tyler Lydon, Rakeem Christmas
QUESTION: When was the loudest you heard the Dome for a basketball game?
ANSWER: The Duke games were always the loudest, especially during my freshman year when Duke came to the Dome for the first time ever. It was also really loud when John Gillon hit that buzzer beater.
QUESTION: Do you have any classic Jim Boeheim stories from when you were a student at SU?
ANSWER: I don’t have much because I was a little afraid to ask him questions. However, my favorite Syracuse Basketball memory was when I got to call Tyus Battle’s buzzer beater against Clemson during my senior year. After the game Jim Boeheim said even though Tyus was feeling sick he had to hit that shot since he was so wide open and everyone chuckled.