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John Wallace calls Syracuse “Greatest Fans in the World”

John Wallace is one of the most legendary players in Syracuse history, having worn the iconic number 44 and leading the program to the ’96 national championship game. He has seen a lot through his basketball life, and has incredibly high praise for Syracuse fans, calling them the “greatest in the world.” His run through the tournament that season and play in the Final Four placed him in SU lore forever (he ranked #27 on the Fizz’s list of the greatest Orange athletes ever). And he remembers fondly what that felt like as a student.

“Honestly, there’s no better place to go to school from a social life standpoint,” Wallace told the “New York Accent” podcast. “And then you have the Final Four night, which is the greatest party night we ever had.”

Wallace hasn’t played on the Hill in nearly 30 years, but when he returns it’s just like the old days. He’s seen it all, the crazy crowds around the country, rowdy fans in the NBA, and the streetbrawls of the old Big East. But the best? That would be in Central New York.

“We honestly do have the greatest fans in the world,” says Wallace (audio version of the podcast here). “I get the type of love when I go back like I’m still playing. It’s like I just dropped 30 the night before. That’s the feeling the Syracuse fans give you.”

John Wallace on Knicks Tenure, ‘96 Syracuse Final Four | New York Accent

Wallace grew up in Rochester, so he knew the program well when he was choosing schools. He says Providence had recruited him hard, but ultimately he was never going to turn down SU. “There’s nothing like Syracuse people. That all started with Jim Brown… talking about things going on around the world. We all try to follow in his footsteps.”

Wallace says the bond runs deep through Jim Boeheim’s mentorship. He says Boeheim is “the ultimate player’s coach almost to a fault.” He says any players that return to campus are treated with love.

Whenever you go to the title game, the fans will remember it forever. But Wallace goes a step farther and says Syracuse has the “greatest fans in the world.” “The whole Final Four run. There’s nothing like it… it’s something that my friends and I talk about to this day.”

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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