Jim Boeheim has dedicated his life to the university. Boeheim began his career at Syracuse in 1963 as a guard for the basketball team and went into coaching just six years later. Not the coach, nor anyone else, would have realized at the time that Boeheim would spend a half century as part of Syracuse basketball. During his time at the school, Syracuse became one of the top programs in America, producing top-notch players to go onto the NBA. But who is the best player to develop under Boeheim’s watchful eye? That’s especially intriguing after The Fizz’s ambitious Top 100 list unveiled last month.
Here is a look at the top 5 players to play under Boeheim before moving onto the NBA. The NBA season is nearing the Conference Finals and Finals
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5) John Wallace – 1992-96
Wallace is remembered as a strong power forward that bullied defenders down low throughout the early to mid-1990s. At 6ft 8in tall, Wallace was a strong fighter in the low post. His size helped him pull down 1,065 career rebounds while scoring 2,119 career points. Wallace led Syracuse to the 1996 Final Four, which was only the third time the Orange had reached the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament.
4) Rony Seikaly – 1984-88
Some of Boeheim’s best teams were in the mid- to late-1980s. Future NBA stars came through Syracuse and made major impacts on the Orange. Rony Seikaly was one of them and partnered in the paint with Derrick Coleman to lead the team to the 1987 NCAA Final. The 1987 game was Syracuse’s first-ever final and unfortunately, it wasn’t successful. The team fell to the Indiana Hoosiers 74-73. The 6ft 11in Seikaly collected 1,094 rebounds and swatted away 319 shots. He went on to play 11 seasons in the NBA as a
3) Sherman Douglas – 1985-89
Unfortunately, in 2020, former point guard Sherman Douglas is often forgotten about (although not in the Fizz’s SU 100) as one of the greats Boeheim developed at Syracuse. Douglas scored a career 2,060 points and collected 235 steals. He also set a then-record of 960 assists. He went No. 28 in the NBA Draft in 1989 to the Miami Heat beginning a pro career that lasted until 2001.
2) Carmelo Anthony – 2002-03
Carmelo Anthony had the potential to be No.1 on this list, however, he spent just one season at Syracuse before declaring for the NBA Draft. Orange fans were left disappointed when Anthony left but the guard did leave them with plenty of memories that are still fondly looked back on. He averaged 22.2 ppg and 10 rebounds in his one and done campaign. Anthony led the Orange to their only NCAA National title in 2003. Had he stayed at the school, there is no telling what Syracuse could have done.1) Derrick Coleman – 1986-90
Derrick Coleman (1986- 1990)
Derrick Coleman didn’t lead Syracuse to a National Title, but his numbers were brilliant and catapulted him to a solid career in the NBA. The power forward dominated the paint in the Big East and ranks as Syracuse’s all-time rebound king with 1,537 boards and No. 2 in career points with 2,143. He also snatched a single-season record for rebounds with 422 in 1988-89. After finishing off his collegiate career, Coleman was the No. 1 draft pick by the New Jersey Nets in 1990. He may be a surprise pick at #1 since Carmelo is such a legend at SU and will end up in the basketball Hall of Fame one day. But for the duration of his time on campus, D.C. could be called the best collegiate career Boeheim ever oversaw at SU.