2005 Syracuse Orange Basketball Preview
2005 Syracuse Orange Team Preview
In a shocker last season Syracuse and long-time coach Jim Boeheim lost to Vermont in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. That was the final game for seniors Hakim Warrick, Craig Forth and Josh Pace. Together they had accounted for the lion’s share of the Orange offense combining for 49% of the club’s hoops and a shooting average of 55% from the field. They were also responsible for 55% of the team’s rebounding.
That means this season Boeheim has two seniors and three juniors starting, with guard Gerry McNamara being the new go-to-guy. McNamara averaged 15.8 PPG and 4.9 APG with 87.4 percent accuracy from the foul line. Those stats are offset by a player who was unable to perform consistently throughout the season last year. In the past McNamara did nothing to stay in shape during the summer; the good news is this summer he played in the World University Games for the United States. It’s hoped that this season he’ll be more physically and mentally durable.
Can McNamara makeup for guard Josh Pace, who always seemed to deliver whenever he was called upon and offered a dependable 10.8 PPG and 5.0 RPG? There’s a good possibility he can. But if Pace’s contributions can be compensated for, what about Hakim Warrick and his 21.4 PPG and 8.6 RPG? This year Warrick, who had played in 132 college games and helped lead the Orange to the 2003 NCAA title, was a first round NBA draft pick. Forward Matt Gorman, a 6’ 9”, 236-pound senior, was redshirted last season to make him eligible to play this year. Gorman has a fine shot and can take it to the basket. He may be a key element in making up for Warrick and in Syracuse’s season.
Finally there’s the dilemma of replacing seven-foot center Craig Forth. Forth was a solid, steady force on the court. It will be up to junior Darryl Watkins to raise the bar on his play. The 268-pound, 6’ 11” player will have to stay out of foul trouble and work hard to reach his full potential.
This may very well be a rebuilding year for the Syracuse Orange. If they are going to be contenders every one of their starters is going to have to rise to the occasion.
For more info on the 2005 Orange check out the official Syracuse athletic site.