This year’s Boeheim’s Army squad feels different than iterations of years past, and not simply for the reason that this team has made it farther than any of its predecessors.
As Syracuse fans, like sports fans in general, we talk about how our fandom stays with us, and how these teams or a nostalgic mix of former SU players.
But for someone like me, who attended Syracuse from 2009-2013, this year’s team is literally a mix of the teams I saw in my four years at Cuse. Of the team’s 10 players, only two (John Gillon, Eric Devendorf and Donte Greene) didn’t overlap with me at SU.
All three originals from my class of 2013 (Brandon Triche, James Southerland and DaShonte Riley) are on the roster.
C.J. Fair, Scoop Jardine, Rick Jackson and Trevor Cooney were also at Syracuse during my stretch there. This isn’t just a list of SU players who happened to be on campus when I was. This is a list of guys who were part of the winningest stretches in SU basketball history.
Triche, Southerland and Fair, statistically, experienced one of the greatest stretches of wins in Orange history.
These are the guys who didn’t necessarily stick in the NBA, but were just a crucial to SU’s recent success as Wes Johnson, Kris Joseph or Michael Carter-Williams. A lot of these players were four or five-year guys too.
Not many other schools have this kind of dedication. Ohio State has a team of alums that is also in the Final Four of the TBT, but there aren’t a ton of teams with the kind of loyalty Cuse embodies.
This run may not be a Final Four run of 2013 or 2016. It’s not nearly comparable to the national title from 2003. But it’s special in its own right, and a fun way to feel like we’re all back in college again, watching the players tear up the court. Sure, we’re not in the Carrier Dome and we now have adult responsibilities this time around, but at least there’s no homework.
Actually, here’s an assignment. Watch the Final Four of TBT on ESPN. It will make you hearken back to the good old days. But it will also make you appreciate your fandom for the Orange in 2017.