Cuse Country

Home Away From Dome for Syracuse Orange Fans

The soft Syracuse big man

Posted by Tom on November 15, 2006

Ryan Blackwell’s feared rim attackSeeing Ryan Blackwell in Josh’s extended pro update just reminds me how frustrating he was as a player. He and I overlapped at Syracuse such that I’ve seen him play in person as much as any other SU player, and and he was nothing short of infuriating. The guy is 6-9, and honestly, without exaggeration, I did not ever see the man dunk in his 4 years at the cuse. He was often good for 10 points and 7 rebs, but he played like he was trying not to be noticed by anyone on the court other than the guy guarding him.

Which brings me to a wider criticism of a certain brand of Syracuse big man. LeRon Ellis was probably the founder of the club, but it went on to include Blackwell, Craig Forth, and possibly our own Demitris Nichols. The 6-7 plus player who never failed to attack a wide open path to the hoop with a soft, hesitant layup which ended up being blocked, rattling out with the influence of any sort of foul, or excusing its way through the hoop.

I think I speak for many normal height range basketball fans when I say that if I were 6-9, I would attempt to dunk ALL THE TIME. What’s holding these guys back?

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One Response to “The soft Syracuse big man”

  1. syracusan said

    In defense of D-Nic, I’ve seen him throw down enough vicious dunks on fast breaks to know he’s not afraid of the rim. He’s got ups, and he’s agressive around the basket. His problem is not that he doesn’t know what to do once he gets in the lane, his problem is that he so rarely _tries_ to get in the lane. He always prefers the jumpshot over driving to the hoop, so all that size and athleticism is wasted. That said, he may be too slow of foot to beat a lot of guys off the dribble, which isn’t a fixable problem.

    Regarding your list, I’d say you forgot Billy Celuck. 7 feet tall and played like he was 5’9″.

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