As a sports fan generally starved of anything warranting happiness for the last 8 or so months, I naturally take tonight’s poorly executed 97- 89 victory over Siena with unbridled optimism. It comes down to the crucial difference between young players and veterans. If last year’s team had produced the same outcome, I’d feel pretty nervous. With a senior class like Mookie, Nichols, McCroskey, and TerrenceRoberts.com, the group had become a known quantity, and their shortcomings had burned in the spotlight enough that you knew reasonably what to expect from them. With these guys, it’s all upside. For all we know, Jonny Flynn will put up 28 points and 9 assists (ballpark) every single game this year, and we’ll shoot .524% as a team from 3 point range. And I refuse to admit otherwise.
Some random observations from tonight’s first look at the team:
1) Jonny Flynn is my ace. This became obvious by the end of the game, but since I decided to proclaim this about 5 minutes into the first half, I feel justified in stating the obvious. Did you know he was a member of the national honor society in high school? Real points from the nerd contingent over here. And he looks like somebody that I can’t quite place… call me crazy but it might be James Brown. Please post thoughts in the comments section.
2) Apparently we’ve decided to go with the “experimental” new Nike system of dress uniforms. I personally thought this was a 2007 NCAA tournament (or NIT) specific get-up, but only now did I realize that no, these are the real uniforms until further notice. From where I sit, there are two main drawbacks to this:
- First, as was devastatingly pointed out by the blog Uni Watch in a post last spring, the shorts have gotten so baggy as to risk possible visual confusion with the Yeshiva Women’s Basketball team.
- Second, the uniforms were created without the burden of input from television viewers, which means that in person they look generally fine, but on standard def TV, the color of the road uniforms freaks out the TV screen, and the silver/white contrast on the home uniforms becomes an indecipherable, numberless blob. Which lead to another problem:
3) Many new players + too many headbands = hard to tell guys apart. It used to be that the headband distinguished a player. Hakeem was the skinny headband guy without hair, Carmelo was the headband guy with corn rows. Now we’ve got four players with headbands on the floor at any given time, and without being able to see numbers (see point #2), they’re really difficult to tell apart.
4) Rick Jackson looks like a 14 year-old boy’s head sewn onto a man’s body. It’s easy to forget that most of the college freshman are a few months out of childhood, and may still visit pediatricians over summer vacation. Rick Jackson’s head serves as a reminder.
5) Paul Harris’s nickname is still “The Hustle.” I love this guy. I hope he never figures out his shooting touch, because he’s perfect just the way he is. An absolute beast on the boards, and a lockdown defender. Is there any way he doesn’t lead the Big East in rebounding this year? After watching the game and seeing later that he had 15 boards, my first reaction was “that’s it???” He’s always there.
6) Scoop Jardine leads my list of guys who will not make it to play next season in a Syracuse uniform. Okay, I don’t really know anything about this guy, and there’s no basis to pin this on him specifically. But think about it. We’ve got six new players coming in, and when was the last time there was a class anywhere near that big where one of the players didn’t transfer, drop out, have “an undisclosed medical issue,” or disappear from society completely? It’s inevitable. So if I’ve gotta pick, I’m picking him.