Tag Archives: Jonny Flynn

Syracuse Orange Blogger Awards: Best Freshman

As one of the many first year blogs to join the Syracuse corner of the interwebs this past year, it is only fitting that a rookie present the SOB for “Best Freshman”. The winner of this year’s Best Freshman award will be following 2007 winner Paul Harris and 2008 winner Jonny Flynn (and by following, I don’t mean heading to the NBA Draft. I hope).

Here were this year’s nominees:

The 2008-09 Syracuse Orange Freshmen: Mookie Jones, Kris Joseph and Brandon Reese.

The 2008-09 Syracuse Orange Freshmen: Mookie Jones, Kris Joseph and Brandon Reese.

MOOKIE JONES: Mookie is a 6-6 small forward from Peekskill who didn’t get much playing time on a deep Syracuse team this season. Jones appeared in nine games, the last of which was the January 7th game against DePaul. His season was cut short by a hip injury that required surgery in February and will seek a medical redshirt for this past season (meaning he can become the first ever two-time S.O.B. nominee for Best Freshman!). He averaged 4.1 points in 9.9 minutes per contest, including season highs of 21 minutes and 9 points against Colgate.

KRIS JOSEPH: Joseph, or Kris-Jo as he calls himself, is a 6-7 forward who came to Syracuse from Montreal via Archbishop Carroll in Washington D.C. Joseph saw the most action of any freshman, appearing in 34 of Syracuse’s 38 games. Joseph’s best game was against Florida in the C.B.E. Classic in Kansas City- playing 26 minutes and finishing with 10 points and 5 rebounds against the Gators. He was also brought in as a center in the epic 6-OT game against UConn after sitting on the bench for nearly 3 hours.

BRANDON REESE: Reese is a 5-11 walk-on guard from Davie, FL who appeared in 16 games. His season highlight was playing in front of his family and friends in the first round of the NCAA tournament against Stephen F. Austin which was played in Miami.

With how the season played out there was very little debate. On to the results: Continue reading

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How To Lose/How To Win Against ASU

After reading Sean’s great interview with House of Sparky over at Nunes, I contacted Cory from H.O.S. and asked him how Syracuse can beat Arizona State, and how ASU can defeat the Orange. His responses are below. I provided the Syracuse versions to this question on his site as well. Enjoy.

Three Ways ASU Can Beat Syracuse

Arizona State plays a 2-3 matchup zone that tries to limit interior scoring at the expense of leaving a fair amount of threes open for the opposition. Against a Syracuse team that shoots 34.3% from beyond the arc, this is a tricky proposition.

1. Extend the zone, forcing Arinze Onuaku to make plays.

With Jeff Pendergraph playing solid defense in the paint, Onuaku will be hard-pressed to shoot 66% from the field, like he has been doing all year long. Andy Rautins and Eric Devendorf are far too dangerous to leave open from downtown, so the extended zone will look to force the ball inside.

2. Stay out of foul trouble, Jeff Pendergraph.

Leading us to our next point. Without Pendergraph in the game, our defense takes on a different dimension, with backup center Eric Boateng down low. He’s not very good. He has very little control of his body once he gets some positive momentum, and is prone to hard fouls. Boateng is not a scorer, either, limiting our options on the offensive end.

Let me make this very clear: without the impassioned play of Jeff Pendergraph for at least 35 minutes tomorrow, Arizona State is in huge trouble. Pendergraph takes pressure off of James Harden on the offensive end, and is a force on defense.

3. Revive James Harden’s ailing game.

Harden hasn’t looked like himself since the Pac-10 Semifinal matchup against Washington. Against USC in the Pac-10 title game and Temple on Friday, Harden was focused on finding the open man instead of looking for his own shot. Are defenders catching on to his subtle nuances and shutting him down? I certainly hope not.

When he’s on, Harden has the ability to singlehandedly beat any team in America. He lacks motivation at times, but there will be no shortage of enthuasism tomorrow morning. With a fiery player like Eric Devendorf on the court, Harden will undoubtedly step up his game.

Three Ways To Beat Arizona State

1. Get Pendergraph out of the Game

ASU can be beat when you play with the right mindset. The first step is getting Jeff Pendergraph into foul trouble, as I mentioned before. We are paper thin in terms of size. With Pendergraph on the bench, the zone can be attacked by Onuaku and the strong drives of Jonny Flynn.

2. Keep the defensive pressure on/allow no open looks

Once this objective is complete, Harden now feels the increased pressure of scoring the lion’s share of points for ASU. Give him no room to make anything happen. Force Jerren Shipp and Jamelle McMillan to shoot when they are in the game.

Pressure Derek Glasser in the backcourt, as he is prone to turnovers when the full court press is on. Defensive intensity will help you. Be careful not to give Rihards Kuksiks, Derek Glasser, or Ty Abbott open looks from three, as they will make you pay.

3. Work inside out on offense

Finally, break the zone from the inside. After the matchup zone sags to protect the basket, Devendorf, Flynn and Rautins will be able to find an open shot from outside the arc. From a percentage standpoint, playing Syracuse is a logistical nightmare for Arizona State. From three or from the paint, the high field goal percentage plays into the hands of the Orange.

Thanks to Cory for the insight. Check his blog later more great post-game analysis.

SFA- 1st Round Analysis

Syracuse defeats Stephen F. Austin 59-44 to advance to the second round. This wasn’t the greatest of efforts from Syracuse, but they were able to get by with their better size and skill. Here is some analysis and some interesting facts from this game:

Syracuse finished with 21 turnovers against SFA, who forced an average of 15 turnovers on the season. Syracuse was sloppy with the ball all game, something Jim Boeheim is sure to point out to his players. This was the seventh time the Orange had 20+ turnovers in a game this season. Amazingly, the Orange are 6-1 in those games (the loss at Providence being the only blemish).

Jonny Flynn had 7 turnovers, matching his season high (low?) in that department. Similarly to the team turnover note above, Syracuse has won all three of those games (home vs. Rutgers, UConn in B.E.T. and SFA today).

Paul Harris was a monster on the boards today, getting 16 rebounds. It was his 11th double-digit rebound game of the year, and was second only to his 22 rebound effort against UConn in the B.E.T. (in that game he only had 8 rebounds in regulation). His defensive rebound rate (a measure of how effective a player is at rebounding) was 25.1%, which means he grabbed a quarter of all of Syracuse’s defensive rebounds today. That would rank him 17th in the country if he had done that over the course of a season (his season percentage is 17.9%- 308th in the country).

Syracuse was great in the first half, shooting 62.5% of their shots. The second half was atrocious by comparison, as the Orange shot only 32.3%. Their effective FG% was 47.3% (down from 64.6% in the first half) compared to their season eFG% of 54.4.

Syracuse had their worst game of the season in terms of outside shooting, hitting only 2 of 16 (12.5%) from three. Their previous low was 3-14 (21.4%) vs. West Virginia in February. I don’t know if it was trying to shoot in a new arena or if they still didn’t have their legs after the B.E.T., but they will have to shoot better from behind the arc if they want to advance any further.

Syracuse was able to get inside on the smaller Lumberjacks:

FG-FGA Points
In Paint 18-33 36
Mid Range 5-6 10
Three Pointer 2-16 6
Free Throws 7-10 7

The biggest threat from SFA today was supposed to come from their back-to-back Southland Conference Players of the Year, Josh Alexander and Matt Kingsley. The Syracuse zone worked well against SFA today, but was especially effective against the big two:

FG FG % PTS
Alexander 4-20 20.0 8
Kingsley 1-8 12.5 2
Rest of team 13-45 28.9 34

As usual Nunes has post game links up (including a great “Dexter” shot) and Chuck has some thoughts on the game as well.

Cuse Making Some Lists

Jeff from CollegeHoopsNet.com’s March Madness All Season blog has some tournament previews up, and the Orange fair pretty well overall from where Jeff sits. Here is a look at the Syracuse players on the lists as well as some potential tourney opponents:

Top 30 Three-Point Shooters: Andy Rautins is 16th. Potential second round opponents Arizona State (Rihards Kuksis, #3) and Temple (Dionte Christmas, #26) are also represented on this list.

Top 12 Backcourts: Orange crack the top 5 in this one, behind UNC (#1 seed in the South regional), Gonzaga (#4 seed in the South), Memphis, and Washington. Fellow Big Easters Villanova (7th) and Marquette (9th) also make the cut.

Top 10 Trios: UNC (#1) and Gonzaga (#10) make the cut in this one as well, with the Orange trio of Jonny Flynn, Eric Devendorf and Paul Harris coming in at 9th. While Harris is the 3rd leading scorer on the club and the leading rebounder, he has been horribly inconsistant of late. In the UConn game he finished with 29 points and 22 boards, but if you look at the other games he’s played recently, you’ll notice a pattern of mediocrity:

  • Marquette: 9 pts, 5 reb
  • Seton Hall: 4 pts, 6 reb
  • West Viginia: 6 pts, 4 reb
  • Louisville: 5 pts, 4 reb

Granted, fatigue played a huge factor in the WVU and Louisville . But with Jim Boeheim yanking him in and out of the lineup lately because of his inconsistent play and the emergance of Kristoff at the 4, I think Paul has had a rough couple of weeks. I think any success Syracuse will have in the NCAA tourney will only come if Paul brings his “A-game” to the table.

Then again, Arinze Onuaku makes Paul Harris look like Mr. Consistency by comparison. What the hell happened to A.O.? I guess I’m glad our back court is playing as good as it is.

We’ll hopefully have a Q&A with Jeff this week, including some more info on SFA.

Big East Tournament- The Final Countdown

I’ll admit, titling this post “The Final Countdown” is just an excuse to run this video:

Long live Gob!

Now, onto the Big East Tourney Final. Just writing that sentence gets me pumped. In fact, I haven’t slept more than six hours combined the last two nights. This team has gotten me jacked up to the point where I probably shouldn’t operate heavy machinery and I’m ok with that.

On with the preview with a look at some stats for both teams:

Louisville Key Team Stats Syracuse
73.9 Points scored 81.5
61.5 Points allowed 72.2
.450 FG% own .489
.391 FG% opposition .411
.361 3PT% own .350
.305 3PT% opposition .291
408 Offensive Rebounds 438
815 Defensive Rebounds 911
1306 Total Rebounds 1476
1.2 Assist/Turnover Ratio 1.2
17.2 Fouls Per Game 15.4

Syracuse actually stacks up quite well to Louisville on paper. The Orange score more and shoot better from the field (except from 3), but the key to the Cards is their defense. They are 2nd in the Big East in opponent FG%, 2nd in blocks, and 1st in steals. They are also 2nd in the conference in scoring defense. Interesting note- if Syracuse wins they will have beaten the 1st, 2nd and 4th best scoring defenses in the conference in three straight days.

Syracuse will have to keep up their recent trend of taking care of the ball, something that gets harder to do when you’re tired and you’re facing an opponent who likes to press, both of which are factors in this game. I have a feeling Devendorf, Rautins and even Harris are going to have to chip in to take some of the pressure off of Flynn. He is gassed and Louisville knows this. They will be in his grill all night and would be stupid to lay off of him as he has proven time and time again to be the heart of this team.

The key for Syracuse will be how they can rebound defensively in the zone with their tired legs. Louisville features three very good rebounders in Earl Clark (8.8 rpg), Terrance Williams (8.5 rpg) and Samardo Samuels (4.7 rpg). While Samuels doesn’t have the gaudy numbers of his two teammates, he is averaging 2.5 offensive rebounds per game, good for 14th in the Big East. In the January loss to Louisville at the Carrier Dome, the Orange gave up 21 offensive rebounds to the Cards, the most they gave up all season to an opponent. If Syracuse wants to win they need keep the Cards away from the offensive glass.

Can they pull it off? I’m not sure. But then again I didn’t think they would handle West Virginia after 6 overtimes. Tonight I think it catches up to them and they go down after a valiant effort. But a four or five seed could await them if they keep it close.

Louisville 70 – Syracuse 59

Well, I Couldn’t Have Been More Wrong

After the six overtime marathon, I wrote that Syracuse had little to no chance to win in the semifinal against West Virginia. Actually, I wrote that the Orange had a 0.6% chance of winning. I’ve never been more happy to be wrong.

Syracuse survived another OT game against the Mountaineers, but luckily this one ended after just one extra session. Syracuse played very well in the first half, and when Eric Devendorf hit that 60 footer as the buzzer sounded, I thought they were going to come out guns blazing in the second half. West Virginia seemed to have other ideas, as they quickly erased their 7 point halftime deficit and forced Jim Boeheim to call a quick timeout to regroup his exhausted squad.

The second half was a battle, with each team going back and forth and nobody jumping too far ahead. Jonny Flynn looked completely gassed, and that might be the least shocking statement I’ve ever made. Dude played 67 of 70 minutes in the UConn game, and followed it up with a nice easy 45 minutes against WVU. That is ridiculous.

Luckily the Orange were able to somehow get it done again in the extra frame, setting up tonight’s final against number one seed Louisville. I don’t want to again predict that Syracuse is too exhausted to compete against the Cardinals, but how can they not be? I don’t think Jim Boeheim is going to change his strategy and suddenly give Kris Joseph more minutes to counter the fatigue of some of the other regulars. If he wanted to do that, last night was the game to do it in. So I guess I’d have to double our chances of winning tonight to 1.2% after this performance. I’ll keep it low since I don’t want to jink us.

Other random thoughts on the West Virginia victory:

-The Waffle was outstanding. 6 points on 3-4 shooting, 10 boards-including 7 off the offensive glass, as well as 4 steals. Not to mention a number of passes he got his hands on. The guy is instant energy off the bench and he seems to have responded well to Boeheim’s challenging of him earlier in the year.

-Interesting quote from Jonny Flynn in Dana O’Neil’s post game story:

“We knew nobody was giving us a chance,” Flynn said. “We like that. We’re all underdogs. None of us were really highly recruited. We’re all guys people have counted out and we like that feeling. We like when things are stacked against us.”

I like the sentiment, Jonny, and I’m sure the coaching staff is playing it up. But the fact is this is one of the most highly touted group of recruits that has worn the Orange in recent memory. Flynn wasn’t that heavily recruited, but he committed to the Orange before his junior season, the same time Paul Harris had committed (although it was Harris’ senior year). Flynn went on to be a McDonald’s All-American and surely had plenty of coaches from around the country trying to get him to renege on the Orange and go to their school.

And if you look at the other players on the roster, most of them were highly recruited as well:

  • Eric Devendorf was a McDonald’s All-American, so he had offers from a number of big-name schools, including Florida, Louisville and Michigan State.
  • Rick Jackson wasn’t as highly touted as hist 2007 classmates of Flynn, Donte Green and Scoop Jardine, but he was recruited by Villanova, Virginia, Virginia Tech and St. Joe’s amoung others.
  • Freshmen Kris Joseph and Mookie Jones (who, by the way, looks like an alien) were both recruited by big name schools. Joseph by Georgetown and Maryland and Jones by Marquette and Kansas.

So while I like the idea of the Orange thinking they are the forgotten ones, and granted, they were underdogs against WVU (although that had to do with the fact that they played 1.8 basketball games 24 hours earlier), they are hardly castoffs and rejects and Syracuse is far from The Island of Misfit Toys.

– Some interesting tidbits from the great website StatSheet.com:

  • Syracuse won while doing worse than it’s season averages for points, FG percentage, free throw percentage and rebounds (although West Virginia was noticeably worse in this category as well).
  • West Virginia (54.7) had a better effective FG percentage than Syracuse (50.0), which doesn’t happen often to the Orange. Syracuse ranks 1st in the Big East and 18th nationally in eFG% (more on that here).

The Greatest Game Ever Played?

Blogging really only requires three things: a basic knowledge of the subject you intend to write about, an internet connection, and an ability to get into some sort or rhythm so you can post more than twice a month. I have an unbelievable lack of the latter, seeing as how I never got into a rhythm posting on here and haven’t posted in three months. I was going to keep this blog dormant until I posted my football preview for next season, but after what I (and I’m assuming most Cuse fans) witnessed tonight, I knew I had to get some thoughts down.

Six overtimes...what else needs to be said?

Six overtimes...what else needs to be said?

Without hyperbole, this was the greatest basketball game I have ever watched. Seriously, try right now to think of five games better than this- on all levels, not just college but pro too- and if you can come up with one let me know. I know Kentucky-Duke was good, but it didn’t go six overtimes. This is by far the greatest Syracuse game I’ve ever seen, and maybe the best Big East game as well. This game was absolutely insane, and the fact that my favorite basketball team was involved only adds to the insanity.

How many words need to be said about this team? Before tonight, they might have gone down as the most frustrating Syracuse team of all-time. They are unbelievably talented, yet struggled to win games against any of the top Big East teams. Add in the fact that our center is shooting a whopping 12% from the free throw line in conference play, his backup was not much better from the line, Paul Harris has spent more time in Jim Boheim’s dog house the past 2 weeks than Jeremy McNeil did in his entire senior season, and this was quickly becoming another lost Syracuse season. Oh, and that is without mentioning the whole Eric Devendorf saga.

But tonight changed all of that. No matter what happens against West Virginia in the Big East semifinal, no matter how the Orange do in the NCAA tournament, this game is what this team will be remembered for. Even Boheim knows how special this was, saying he has never been as proud of a team as he was of this team on this night. And he coached a national championship team. What does that say about tonight?

The fact that Syracuse didn’t even have a lead in the game until the 6th overtime shows how impressive their victory was. After Onuaku, Jackson and The Waffle all fouled out, Kris Joseph, a 6-7 freshman played center. I don’t know if he’s ever played there in his life, but he did tonight. 8 total palyers fouled out of tonight’s game. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that. Jonny Flynn played 67 minutes! I sat in a chair for 3 hours and 45 mins watching this thing and I’m exhausted. How must Jonny feel? Flynn finished one point shy of his career high with 34 points. Harris ended with his own career high- 29 points. Syracuse as a team was shooting 64% from the free throw line this season. In the 35 mins of overtime, they shot 23-26 from the charity stripe. Look at that again: 23-26. If before this game I would have told you Syracuse would make 23 out of 26 free throw attempts, would you have believed me? Of course not. You probably would have yelled, spit or cursed at me. Oh, and don’t forget Devo’s unreal shot that didn’t count. It might not have been good, but how the hell did he get that thing over the defender? Syracuse only had 16 turnovers in 70 minutess of play! Pretty amazing for a team that was 15th in the Big East in turnovers per game in the regular season.

This game had too many stories to tell, but I’ll remember the greatest details for a long time. As Chris Chase pointed out, this is why we love college hoops. I couldn’t agree more.

I was going to go down to NYC on Friday if Syracuse beat UConn. Now, I don’t really see the point. Nothing I could witness in person would come close to tonight. I wouldn’t see basketball even a fraction as good , and, let’s face it, there is about a 0.6% chance we can win tomorrow. We just played 1.8 basketball games against a top 5 basketball team.

I work for a sports network, and was working tonight during the game. Since I was in a studio where a live broadcast was being produced, I had my cell phone off. When I left, I had 13 text messages waiting for me. They basically tell the story of the game:

  • My buddy Jay: The waffle is in already
  • My sister: Sweet!
  • Jay: When are you going to admit I was right about the Belgian? (editors note- I’ve never been against Kristoff, per say. And he has been playing out of his mind the last two weeks. All in all, I enjoyed the Kristoff era)
  • My sister: Holy shit I’m going nuts!
  • My buddy Ross: This is absolutely amazing!!!
  • “The” Trout: Shit, I’m gonna run outta beer if this keeps up.
  • Bob from work: One of these players is gonna die on the court.
  • Bob again: Honestly….someone will die.
  • Trout again: GaaAAAaaahhh! (editors note- that is the actual capitalization he used)
  • My UConn alumni-roomate: I’m not even mad to lose this one. Congrats.
  • Trout again: …!
  • Another UConn co-worker: I can’t sleep. I’m not mad. I don’t know what this emotion is. It’s like purgatory, but Jews don’t believe in that. (editors note-just so you know, he’s Jewish, I’m not racist)
  • Bob again: Wow…all I have to say.

Wow indeed.