Orange Fizz


Adrian Autry Found Success In Year One

While Syracuse awaits its fate after a disappointing 83-65 loss to NC State in the second round of the ACC Tournament, one thing is certain. Head coach Adrian Autry proved himself in his first year as head coach. Despite the ups and downs throughout the season, the Orange didn’t hang their hats, especially when the season was looking bleak three-fourths of the way in.

“We had some ups and downs,” said Autry after Wednesday’s second round dropout to NC State. “This team always bounced back. I had to be there for them. They were a competitive group and wanted to win everyday.”

There were several mysteries surrounding SU heading into the season. The roster personnel remained mostly the same, besides the additions of JJ Starling and Naheem McLeod, and obviously the departure of Joe Girard. Perhaps the major question was how Syracuse would feed off its first new head coach in 47 years.

So looking back after the first year, was Autry the right hire?

Yes, without a doubt. To take a squad that hasn’t made March Madness in three years, and give them an opportunity to fulfill that chance heading into the ACC Tournament is all you can ask for.

With all of the scrutiny, and deciphering of whether Autry was the right choice for the head spot of a prestigious program, he put that to rest pretty early on and grasped the attention of Syracuse fans.

SU went 5-1 in December with victories over Georgetown, Oregon, and Pitt. The one loss came at the hands of Virginia on the road. The win over the Hoyas caught everyone’s attention, and became a big momentum boost for Autry and the Orange heading into the start of ACC play.

Then another question arose, how could Syracuse battle against the premiere ACC teams such as Duke and North Carolina?

Well, it didn’t work out in SU’s favor resulting in two blowout losses.

Syracuse flip flopped wins and losses through the thick of conference play, for the most part. Their play remained stagnant with fans wondering what it would take to reach the NCAA Tournament.

But then, one win changed the rest of the season.

Syracuse upset North Carolina at home 86-79 in mid-February. This immediately turned out to be a big success in Autry’s early tenure. The Orange could’ve faltered after this win, but they didn’t.

SU went on to win four of its next five with a rising opportunity for consideration of a March Madness team.

In theory, the hopes came down to one game to end the year. That was a road matchup against Clemson that Syracuse ultimately fell short of with a 15-point loss.

Finally, Syracuse dropped its first ACC Tournament match to NC State to round out the season.

Besides the win over UNC, SU just couldn’t get over that hump it needed to get everyone on board for a postseason discussion.

“They battled. They left it out there all year long,” said Autry. “Did we play well? No. But the effort and battle was there all season long. We just haven’t crossed that bridge yet.”

All in all, Autry took the Orange down to the wire with hopes of March Madness. That can’t be overlooked.

One year down for Autry, and a lot to be proud of heading into the offseason.

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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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