Sunday, February 27, 2005

 

Senior Rule

A tradition started by Dean Smith was performed again yesterday at the Carrier Dome and what a Senior Day it was. A huge 91-66 romp by SU over Providence yesterday on a day when the Dome bid goodbye to maybe the most accomplished class in SU history. Craig Forth, Josh Pace, and Hakim Warrick took their final bows yesterday and did it in style. Instead of recapping the game I’ll just take a look at these 3 seniors. I was a senior at Syracuse when these players were freshmen.

Josh Pace
First opinion- I remember seeing him on the floor and saying “Why did Boeheim get this kid?” He can’t shoot, He’s not big and He’s not that quick.

Now- My favorite SU player ever. He gives the hope to many kids that you don’t have to have the best jump shot, you don’t have to be the quickest player, and you don’t have to be the tallest player to be successful in college basketball. He has a left handed push shot that will go down in Syracuse lore. He does everything well and plays hard every night. He gets lost in SU’s title run in 2003, but he had a huge second half in the title game and was intrical in the comeback against Oklahoma State.

Craig Forth
First Opinion- I saw Forth start and said “Finally, Syracuse had a player that is big and will score in the paint” He’s going to dominate like Etan Thomas.

Now- It didn’t quite turn out that way. For a player that has been maligned by the fans as much as Forth, he has started every game of his SU career. SU has gone 100-31 in games he starts. One of the unsung heroes of this team the past 4 years. He gets none of the credit and all of the blame. One of the truly unappreciated players in Syracuse history. He never complains when Boeheim takes him out after only playing for a minute. He sets great screens and plays tough. It felt good to see Craig Forth smile after his alley-oop yesterday. He deserved it. Two plays epitomized Forth. After getting thrown to the ground and no foul called Forth sprinted back on defense. He didn’t moan about no foul he just got up and got back in the play. The other one was when SU was up 18, Tukka Kotti had a breakaway lay-up and Forth hustled back and committed a foul. He could have let Kotti go, the two points would have meant nothing, but this kid gave it everything he had for 4 years.

Hakim Warrick
First opinion- I actually said these words “I think this kid has enough talent to become as good as Damone Brown”

Now- I think he was a little bit better than Damone. What can you say? The most electrifying player Syracuse has ever had. Top 5 scorer and Top 5 rebounder in Syracuse history. So instead of just praising Warrick even more, here is a list of my top 5 favorite Warrick dunks.
5. His array of dunks against Villanova this year. Every which way he dunked it and then gave a body builder pose to top it off.
4. The one over Randall Hanke yesterday where he hung on the rim and looked like he was sitting on Hanke’s shoulders. Welcome to the Big East, Hanke
3. His sky walker slam over Chris Quinn at the Dome this season. A steal and the high flying dunk catapulted SU to a comeback win over Notre Dame
2. The dunk from the block over Dennis Lattimore in Notre Dame. Also provided my two favorite quotes of the season. “Bring a Lunch!!” fro Bill Raftery. And “That’s where you are supposed to push him out to!!” From Jay Bilas talking about how coaches teach you to push a post player to the block
1. The dunk over Royal Ivey in the National Semifinal game. Ivey is standing there waiting for a charge and Warrick almost jumps over him. The referees call a ridiculous charge but are so awed by the dunk that they allow the basket.
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