It’s been more than three months since we’ve seen live basketball, and anticipation is building as Boeheim’s Army, a collection of Syracuse basketball alumni, battles for the grand prize of $2 million in The Basketball Tournament.
While Boeheim’s Army won’t have the luxury of home court advantage this year (the teams will play in a bubble in Columbus, OH), they will have a leg up in adding three NBA first round draft picks to their roster: Chris McCullough, Tyler Lydon and Malachi Richardson.
Six of the nine players Boeheim’s Army has on its roster have NBA experience, while the other three, John Gillon, Eric Devendorf and Brandon Triche, have had successful post-college careers.
As we count down to the July 4th start of The Tournament, let’s take a look at the top Syracuse highlights for each player.
Eric Devendorf: Devendorf is perhaps known best for a shot that didn’t count. During Syracuse’s 127-117 six-overtime victory over Connecticut in the 2009 Big East Tournament, the marathon extra sessions nearly didn’t happen. Devendorf hit what appeared to be a game-winning 3 as regulation expired and climbed on the desk on media row as the Orange faithful on hand went wild.
But after replays, it was clear that the ball was in Devendorf’s fingertips as the clock expired, leading to one of the most epic games of all time. For his part, Devendorf played 61 minutes and scored 22 points before fouling out.
John Gillon: Well, this is easy. There are few more iconic shots in Syracuse history than Gillon’s buzzer beating 3-pointer against then-No. 10 Duke in the 2017 season.
With the teams tied at 75 with five seconds remaining, Gillon raced up the court and shot over three Duke defenders as the clock expired. His shot banked in, Syracuse won 78-75, and the Carrier Dome crowd stormed the floor in jubilation.
Donte Greene: Greene was Syracuse’s highest ranked recruit (No. 7) since Carmelo Anthony. In his lone season at Syracuse, he averaged a team-high 17.7 points and 7.2 rebounds, while setting a school record for 3-pointers for a freshman. Though he struggled on defense and had more turnovers (91) than assists (71), he was still named to the All Big East Second Team.
Greene didn’t have a signature game in an Orange uniform, but two of his 16 points against Maryland in the 2008 NIT came on this nifty pass from Jonny Flynn:
Tyler Lydon: During Syracuse’s miracle run to the 2016 Final Four, Lydon and Malachi Richardson (more on him below) played critical roles. Lydon preserved Syracuse’s 63-60 win over Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 with this block of Josh Perkins in the waning moments:
Chris McCullough: McCullough’s Syracuse career was cut short by an ACL tear, leaving Orange fans to wonder what could’ve been had he stayed healthy. In the 2014 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden, McCullough’s 20 points and 10 rebounds led the Orange to a 66-63 win over Iowa.
McCullough was initially rostered for last year’s team before a commitment to his Philippines team, Anyang KGC, forced him to withdraw.
Demetris Nichols: Nichols was the Big East’s leading scorer (18.9) in 2007, and was named an Honorable Mention AP All-American and a First Team All Big East performer. Parts of his career-high 37 points he had in a 76-74 win over St. John’s in 2007 are in this highlight package:
Malachi Richardson: Richardson scored 21 of his 23 points in the second half of Syracuse’s 68-62 win over Virginia en route to SU’s improbable 2016 Final Four run. He rode that wave and season averages of 13.4 points and 4.3 rebounds to become a first round NBA Draft pick.
Brandon Triche: Triche played and started more games in his career (147) than anyone else in SU history by the time he graduated. His most lasting memory in an Orange uniform continues to be a topic of debate, as he was whistled for a charge in the closing moments of a loss against Michigan in the 2013 Final Four.
Instead, let’s remember Triche for his 23 points as he led then-No. 6 Syracuse to a 70-68 win over then-No. 1 Louisville on the road.
Andrew White III: White was a journeyman in his collegiate career, playing at two other schools (Kansas and Nebraska) before finding a home at Syracuse. In his graduate transfer season with the Orange, White set a Syracuse season record with 109 3-pointers and led the team in scoring (18.5) and minutes (37.2).
His signature Syracuse moment came with a career-high and Carrier Dome record 40 points in a 90-61 win over Georgia Tech.