Syracuse basketball dominates competition for best player at current ACC schools

Carmelo Anthony
Nov. 6, 2019; Syracuse, NY, USA; Former Syracuse Orange forward Carmelo Anthony cheers from the sidelines as the Orange lost to Virginia, 48-34. Mandatory Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

In case you have been avoiding the Syracuse Twitter-verse in the last couple of weeks, there’s still plenty of fun going on. The official ACC men’s basketball Twitter feed had a competition for the Best Men’s Basketball Player of Current ACC Schools, and wouldn’t you know it, out of the field of 64, the Final Four was all former Syracuse players.

Suspend your belief for a moment, since zero of the competitors in the Final Four actually played a single game as a member of the ACC, and just take in the fact that when it comes to fan bases, none rival Orange Nation.

The final four consisted of a semifinal matchup between Carmelo Anthony and Pearl Washington, and on the other side, Derrick Coleman faced off against Billy Owens. The (Syracuse) fans voted, with Anthony and Coleman advancing to the title game.

Anthony ultimately prevailed with 80 percent of the vote in the final. I put in my vote here as a columnist at The Juice Online, and came up with the same conclusion. Here’s how I arrived at it.

» Related: Former Syracuse star Josh Pace is now coaching in New Mexico

I’ll get the easy one out of the way. Derrick Coleman easily gets past Billy Owens. Coleman averaged a double-double for his Syracuse career, ended his college days with one more 1st team All-Big East nod (three, to Owens’ two), was the best player on a team that made the national championship game and his accolades in college made him a No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft.

Now, for the tougher side of the draw: Carmelo Anthony vs. Pearl Washington. What do you value more? The one monster season that packed pretty much everything you could into it? Or the longevity of three years of excellence? The guy that I had a (almost literally, most games) front row seat to see all of his success or the guy I’ve only been able to watch on re-runs of games or in highlight reels because I was just a couple months old when his Syracuse career began?

In almost EVERY instance like this, I will pay reverence to the men before me, trusting that what the world has told me about someone I was not blessed to watch when they played is correct in what they say. It’s the same principle I would expect from the generations younger than me when I tell them Michael Jordan was, is and always will be better than LeBron James.

But, boy am I a sucker for the Season of Melo. Anthony came into the Salt City with a whole lot of hype. And, boy did he deliver. Every. Single. Time. He was an automatic 20 points and 10 rebounds. In his only season, he collected the following honors:

  • First team All-Big East
  • Big East Freshman of the Year
  • USBWA Freshman of the Year
  • Second Team consensus All-American
  • NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
  • National champion

Being able to watch Syracuse (the team I rooted for as a kid) win a national championship WHILE I WAS A STUDENT AT SYRACUSE is a story I never could have imagined being written. Since then, I’ve often said that, at that moment, I knew I could never have more than three kids in my life because I imagined my wedding day would be a Top 5 moment of my life. And, having the Orange(men) win the title my sophomore year of college at Syracuse was another Top 5 moment. So, if I had more than three kids, well…one of them wasn’t going to make the cut.

I don’t blame anyone who shouts “get off my lawn” to me, thinking that the guy who came first did it the best. I’m usually the one shouting that, in fact. But, in this one case, I take the new-age guy. To me, Carmelo Anthony wins over The Pearl and takes down Derrick Coleman in the finals.

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Matt Dagostino
About Matt Dagostino 86 Articles
Matt currently works as an on-air talent and producer for Turner Sports in Atlanta, where he is from. Among his responsibilities are voicing over highlights for NCAA.com, NBA.com, WNBA.com, and PGA.com. He has also served as an associate producer for TNT’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs and TBS’s coverage of the MLB Postseason. Matt also has experience as a minor league baseball play-by-play announcer and as a PA announcer in D-I college athletics. Matt graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @MattDags28.