We dive into the top 40 of our SU Top 100 list with one of the most electric players to ever step foot on the Carrier Dome floor. Niagara Falls’ own Jonny Flynn was one of the most prolific players in Orange history, especially in a long line of great point guards. Whether it was his iconic headband, the million dollar smile or his Sports Illustrated cover, Flynn captured the hearts of Orange fans in his brief stint at SU.
Prior to arriving at SU, Flynn had an impeccable high school career at Niagara Falls High School, where he was named New York’s Mr. Basketball and a McDonald’s All-American.
Flynn’s Orange career began with a bang when he dropped 28 points in his debut against Siena, an SU record for most points in a players first game that still stands today. He made the Big East All-Freshman team after starting all 35 games for Syracuse and averaging 15.7 points and 5.3 assists.
Flynn improved his already impressive numbers heading into his sophomore season. He was an iron man on the floor with his 37.3 minutes per game and bumped his scoring and assist figures to 17.6 and 6.7.
You cannot glimpse through Flynn’s career without perusing through the most iconic box score in Orange history. Flynn was the Orange’s most important player on the Madison Square Garden hardwood during the 6 OT thriller over UConn. Not just because he dropped a double-double with 34 points and 11 assists, but he was the only significant contributor to not sniff foul trouble. Despite playing an Orange record 67 minutes (out of 70 possible) he recorded only two fouls. On top of that, he made all 16 of his free throws. Can you imagine if he missed one? He was named MVP of the Big East Tournament for his efforts.
Flynn capped his Orange career with a trip to the NCAA Tournament as a 3 seed, featuring battles against some of his fellow future top draft picks. After beating the always pesky Stephen F. Austin in the first round, Flynn and company cruised past James Harden’s Arizona State Sun Devils in the Round of 32 before being eliminated by Blake Griffin and the Oklahoma Sooners in the Sweet 16.
After leaving Syracuse, Flynn entered the 2009 NBA Draft and was made one of the Orange’s highest NBA Draft picks ever when the Minnesota Timberwolves called his name sixth overall. In a draft stocked full with point guards, Flynn was selected ahead of Stephen Curry, Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague and Patty Mills. He even made some time after he was drafted to talk with the Fizz about his NBA journey.
While his NBA career did not pan out to the level of his draft selection, his career got off to a great start. Flynn averaged 13.5 points and started nearly every single game as a rookie, but a major hip injury essentially ended his NBA career. His numbers tumbled and he was out of the league after just three seasons. He had bounced around international leagues in Australia and Italy and hasn’t played professionally since 2004.