This past Syracuse basketball season has largely been characterized as a disappointment. There was the postseason ban SU placed on itself, and the later NCAA sanctions taking away future scholarships and penalizing Jim Boeheim.
This past season was a wakeup call because the previous five seasons were five of the best seasons in SU basketball history. There were the No. 1 rankings and No. 1 seeds in 2009-2010 and 2011-2012. There was the record start in 2013-2014. A Final Four in 2012-2013.
I’m expecting a bounce back next year. But in the meantime, I’m curious as to where key players are from those five über-successful teams, the first four of which I was lucky enough to be a student. Here are some players from those years and what they’re doing now (year they left SU in parenthesis).
Wes Johnson (2010)
Plays for the Lakers, a team that was a mess this past year. I thought he was going to be a star. In his one year at Cuse, he was a star on both sides of the ball, and he energized the team. NBA stardom hasn’t come to fruition, but he’s still in the NBA, unlike…
Andy Rautins (2010)
Drafted in second round. Out of the league.
Dion Waiters (2012)
Solid in the NBA, but for a No. 4 pick, hasn’t lived up to expectations. Was traded from the Cavs to the Thunder this season. Still likes to shoot. I will always remember his role as a magnificent sixth man on that epic ’11-’12 team, though.
Kris Joseph & Fab Melo (2012)
See Rautins, Andy. In all fairness, though, Kris Joseph had a fantastic junior year (’11-‘12). That same year, Fab Melo was a defensive force. Just not in the NCAA tournament…
Michael Carter-Williams (2013)
Rookie of the Year. Has great potential in the league. Arguably has brightest future of bunch. There were few players I trusted and knew SU would have success with—Wes Johnson in ’09-’10 and MCW in the 2013 NCAA tournament.
Tyler Ennis (2014)
The jury is out. I hope he is able to show flashes of his skills from his incredible freshman campaign at Cuse. And speaking of players I trusted, Ennis was one, even as a freshman. He always had complete control of the game.
Jerami Grant (2014)
Similar to Ennis. Has great potential. Could be good role player. Grant would have been fantastic as a junior last year. Wish we could have seen more of him.
I only included drafted players. So sorry to Arinze Onuaku, Rick Jackson, Scoop Jardine, James Southerland, Brandon Triche, C.J. Fair. All were great college players with crucial roles on these great Cuse teams of recent memory. But in relation to the NBA, they’re fringe players. Always appreciated, though.
Anyway, I know the NCAA lax tourney is in full swing, and Cuse is looking good. There is a slow roll of basketball recruiting and summer football news coming in. Yet I’m still talking about basketball. It’s nearly summer, so why not look back on recent bright and sunny moments.
Because even though SU’s sanctions feel like a setback, one can hope it’s temporary and that those top rankings will return. If not, well… I won’t think that far ahead just yet!