Cuse Country

Home Away From Dome for Syracuse Orange Fans

green light on Green, follows freshmen phenoms

Posted by syracusan on May 25, 2007

Life is tough at the top, as Georgetown is finding out. The “new sheriff in town” got knocked back to the pack just as quickly as they climbed the mountain, thanks to Jeff Green’s decision to go pro. This is a huge loss for the Hoyas, and a major gain for the rest of the Big East. Unfortunately, the other half of the Dynamic Hoya Duo, Roy Hibbert, made the smart decision and opted to stay in school. Good for him, bad for us. However, Hibbert has never excelled against SU, so it’s a much bigger deal that Green is gone. He was the legit MVP of the league, and if he had come back the Hoyas likely would have been preseason #1 in the country. Now they’ll be in the bottom half of the top ten, and, more importantly, much more vulnerable on the court. Success breeds defections in college basketball, as Georgetown fans now know. It’s not so easy to build a franchise anymore; you need to get your ring when you have your chance, because your big ticket players might not be around for more than one run. Carmelo did us up right.

Which brings me to Kevin Durant and Greg Oden. Was anyone else secretly grinning when Durant got knocked out of the NCAAs early last year, and when Oden failed in the end? I like the perch that Carmelo sits on right now, and I’m not to keen to have anyone else match his accomplishments. Every year there are going to be hot new freshmen that inevitably draw Carmelo comparisons, and some, like Durant, will blow him away statistically. But as long as they fail to bring home a ring in their one-and-done seasons, no one can say they really matched what Melo did. Carmelo not only was utterly dominant on the floor, but he also had a will to win unmatched by anyone in Syracuse history. He exerted his authority in crunch time in a way that these other hot shots simply haven’t done, and that, in my book, is what ultimately made him special. Durant may be a once in a generation talent, but he allowed his team to lose when it mattered most. Same with Oden. Carmelo brought home the trophy for us before he left for the NBA; something none of these other freshmen have done, nor Jeff Green either.

So my new hobby during NCAA tournaments is to root against the overhyped Freshmen du Jour. Not unlike the old ’72 Dolphins who pop a champagne bottle each NFL season when the last undefeated team loses, I’ll give a toast every time Carmelo’s legacy is preserved — or even improved — by the new kids failing to bring their teams a ring before bailing for the NBA.

Unless of course Donte Greene wants to do it, for which I’ll make an exception.

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