This article originally appeared in the November 29, 2012 issue of The Arkansas Traveler.
Since their first official season in 1900-1901, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team has grown into a national power.
Their 1,844 wins at the end of last season is the fifth most in NCAA Division I history, behind Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas and Duke.
Syracuse enjoyed some success in their early history with future NBA Hall of Famer Dave Bing. Bing led the Orange to an Elite Eight appearance as a senior in 1966.
From 1973 to 1976, they appeared in four consecutive NCAA Tournaments including a Final Four in 1975, led by head coach Roy Danforth. Danforth’s success caught the attention of Tulane and he was eventually hired to be their head coach.
Following Danforth’s departure, the Orange hired a young assistant coach named Jim Boeheim. Since Boeheim’s first season in 1976-77, they have not had a losing record and have made 29 NCAA Tournaments.
They have failed to win 20 games in a season only twice during Boeheim’s tenure and five times they have won 30 or more games.
After falling short in the 1987 and 1996 National Championship games, losing to Indiana and Kentucky, respectively, Syracuse finally won a title in 2003. They were led by star freshmen Carmelo Anthony and Gerry McNamara and sophomore Hakim Warrick.
Now, Anthony is an All-Star in the NBA with the New York Knicks and Warrick is a member of the Charlotte Bobcats. McNamara is currently an assistant for the Orange.
Since their championship, Syracuse has continued to have success. They won their fourth and fifth Big East Tournament Championships in 2005 and 2006.
Last year, they finished the regular season with an impressive 30-1 overall record, but they fell to Cincinnati in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament. Entering the NCAA Tournament as the No. 2 overall seed, they won their first three games, before losing to Ohio State in the Elite Eight.
In this year’s draft, two Syracuse players were selected in the first round. Guard Dion Waiters was the fourth overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers and center Fab Melo was the 22nd overall pick by the Boston Celtics.
Forward Kris Joseph was also drafted by the Celtics in the second round as the 51st overall pick.
Despite losing nearly half of their scoring players from last year, the Orange came into the season as the No. 9 team in the AP Preseason poll. Their recruiting class was ranked No. 15 in the country by Scout.com and included five-star center DaJuan Coleman and four-star forward Jerami Grant.
So far this season, the Orange are 4-0, averaging 77.5 points per game. Senior Brandon Triche is tied for the team lead in scoring, with 15.3 points per game. He also averages 3.5 rebounds per game and three assists per game.
They will put their No. 6 ranking in the AP poll on the line tomorrow night against the Razorbacks at 7:30 p.m. in Bud Walton Arena.