Back in the mid-’70s the nation was consumed by Watergate fallout, polyester suits, and a new style of basketball. The ABA has made its mark embracing a run and gun vibe, encouraging wide open offense and a flair for nicknamed personalities. It was at this time Syracuse basketball found itself in the thick of a revolution as well. A young assistant named Jim Boeheim took over the program, and with it came a fresh attitude and eye on the way SU played.
While Boeheim would never be a disciple of the Dr. J, Connie Hawkins, and George Gervin school of high-flying dunks and defense option, he did need tent poles for his program. Ones that could put butts in the seats and give the Orange an identity. It was there he found the Louie and Bouie Show.
Louie Orr (named #98 on our list of greatest SU athletes ever) was Boehiem’s first big fish. Roosevelt Bouie was his next. Together they formed perhaps the most famous duo in program history. In four seasons the Louis n’ Bouie Show (sometimes referred to as Bouie n’ Louie depending on your rhyming stylings) would go an incredible 100-18 in four years on campus. They made SU basketball a hot commodity, and planted the roots that still grow 45 years later. Syracuse basketball is THE show in Central New York.
“On the day of assistant Rick Pitino’s wedding,” writes Yahoo Sports (in a retelling of one of SU’s greatest legends) Boeheim drove from Syracuse to New York City to try to convince the future star coach to accept an assistant coaching position for the Orangemen. Boeheim kept Pitino out of his hotel room for four hours until Pitino agreed. But there was one caveat: Pitino had to delay his honeymoon, which was scheduled for the next day, so he could hit the recruiting trail immediately. The next day, Boeheim went to Kendall to secure Bouie’s commitment, while Pitino went to Cincinnati to try to secure top guard recruit Louis Orr.”
“His size removed the legacy of Roy’s Runts from Syracuse,” historical record Orange Hoops states. “Bouie was a big man, but also a very athletic player, able to run the court well, and quick to block shots. His skills fit perfectly into coach Boeheim’s plans to run the ball.”
By his senior season Bouie had increased his averages to 16 points and 8 rebounds per game, often taking over the offensive responsibilities. He would earn All-American honors and be named first team All-Big East. The Orange(men) would make the NCAA Tournament every one of his four years, including three Sweet Sixteens. The duo of Louie n’ Bouie would help usher SU into the Big East era. By the time he graduated he was the program’s second all-time leading scorer, third all-time rebounder, the all time leader in field goal percentage, and first in blocked shots. He had left campus as a living legend.
Bouie was named to Syracuse’s All-Century Team and his number was retired (appropriately) with Orr. You can’t tell the illustrious history of SU basketball without Roosevelt Bouie.