Cuse Country

Home Away From Dome for Syracuse Orange Fans

Archive for the ‘Mike Jones’ Category

We’re moving to

Posted by Tim on August 24, 2007

DC is Cuse Country

This is a photo of a sign blog contributor Josh made before a game against Georgetown in Washington. It became something of a running joke in our crew: Wherever we were, that was Cuse Country. When it came time to name this little project of ours, it seemed a natural fit. Holy crap, the Internet is Cuse Country!

Now, the time has come to move to nicer real estate. And with football season looming like an orange cloud of noxious gas, we’re moving to a new address that doesn’t have “hoops” in the URL.

So come visit us at Same great stuff, new great home.


Posted in ACC, Andy Rautins, Arinze Onuaku, Assists, Baylor, Bernie Fine, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, Big East Tournament, Blogroll, Bracketology, Canisius, Carmelo Anthony, Carrier Dome, Cincinnati, Clemson, Colgate, Conference Games, Craig Forth, Damone Brown, Daryl Gross, Defense, Demetris Nichols, DePaul, DeShaun Williams, Devin Brennan-McBride, Drexel, Elvir Ovcina, Eric Devendorf, Etan Thomas, Former Orangemen, Game Charts, Gas Face, Georgetown, Gerry McNamara, greg paulus, Hakim Warrick, Haters, Hofstra, Holy Cross, In the Media, Jason Hart, Jim Boeheim, Josh Pace, Josh Wright, kodiak bears, Kueth Duany, Lazarus Sims, Losses, Louisville, Marquette, Matt Gorman, Mike Hopkins, Mike Jones, Mookie Watkins, National Championship, NBA, NCAA Tournament, News of the Orange, NIT, Nonconference Games, Northeastern University, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Open Letter, Orange Blogosphere, Otis Hill, Pac 10, Paul Harris, Penn, Pitt, Preston Shumpert, Providence, Rankings, Rebounding, Recruits, Regular Season Games, Rob Murphy, RPI, Rutgers, Ryan Blackwell, San Diego State, SEC, South Alabama, South Florida, St. Bonaventure, St. Francis, St. John's, syracuse, Terrence Roberts, UConn, UNC-Charlotte, UTEP, Villanova, Virginia Tech, Walk-ons, West Virginia University, Wichita State, Wins, Zone defense | 2 Comments »

Orange Plus (or Minus)

Posted by andrewgp on March 5, 2007

I don’t take credit for this idea, it was fed to me by the Cuse Country brain trust. But I found it so interesting that I spent the better part of the week trying to make it happen.

The point is this: Hockey players are ranked by a simple statistic that counts up all the goals scored by their team while they were on the ice and subtracts all the goals scored against their team while they’re on the ice. This way you can get a picture of what they bring to the game — maybe they help you offensively, but they take chances and hurt you defensively. By simply looking at their Plus / Minus rating, you can see whether their risks are worth their rewards.

So why can’t we have that for basketball? Well, at Cuse Country, you can.

I calculated the Plus / Minus rating for each Syracuse player this season, in each game of the season. Here’s the summary:

Player Season total First 5 gms. Next 5 Next 5 Next 5 Next 5 Last 4
ROBERTS, Terrence +198 +65 +46 +21 +5 +32 +29
NICHOLS, Demetris +217 +86 +54 +15 +5 +24 +33
WATKINS, Darryl +116 +39 +16 +12 +21 +11 +17
HARRIS, Paul +116 +90 +19 +5 +4 -5 +3
WRIGHT, Josh +80 +31 +39 +2 +7 -2 +3
THOMAS, Justin -3 0 -3 0 0 0 0
RAUTINS, Andy +171 +40 +22 +22 +30 +17 +40
BURACH, Todd -9 0 -3 0 0 0 -6
DEVENDORF, Eric +116 +75 +1 -10 +1 +29 +20
GORMAN, Matt +83 +52 +34 -8 +4 +3 -2
BRENNAN-McBride 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PRESUTTI, Jake -3 0 -3 0 0 0 0
DiLIEGRO, Ross -3 0 0 0 0 0 -3
TEAM MARGIN +215 +99 +38 +34 +13 +6 +25

Even better is the game-by-game analysis (click here). Among the trends you might notice: a great second half by Andy Rautins and a signifcant drop-off for Paul Harris.

It’s interesting to compare it to the team’s margin of victory (or defeat). A player who stayed on the court for every minute would end up with that same rating. (A couple statistical caveats here, for the nerds: substitution data was not available for a handful of games, which may throw off this summary comparison a bit. In addition, in some games it was not possible to determine the second-half starters. Best approximations were made.)

Posted in Andy Rautins, Defense, Demetris Nichols, Eric Devendorf, Game Charts, Josh Wright, Matt Gorman, Mike Jones, Paul Harris, Terrence Roberts, Uncategorized | 11 Comments »

That was quick…

Posted by ech1 on January 4, 2007

Mike Jones is leaving…  guess the man couldn’t handle the cold and snow or something. Oh, yeah, and the Orange are short-handed for the Pitt game tonight. Lovely.

Posted in Mike Jones | 1 Comment »

Good and bad

Posted by Tim on December 29, 2006

If you don’t follow the link below to check out Orange 44’s St. Bonaventure preview, follow it to read Matt’s critique of the play of Mike Jones. Ooh, gas face!

Also, via TNIAAM, Eric Silver at College Hoops Net has nothing but love for Demetris Nichols, who he tabs as one of the most improved players in the Big East.

Posted in Demetris Nichols, Mike Jones | Leave a Comment »

mad love

Posted by syracusan on December 23, 2006

One quick note about the Hofstra game, which Josh covered well. When Preston Shumpert was announced by the PA, he received a warm but brief round of applause from an appreciative audience.  Later on, when Kueth Duany was announced, the place absolutely erupted and Kueth got a standing ovation from the 18,000.

Strictly speaking, Shumpert had a way better career and was a much more dominant player.  It’s funny what happens when you bring home a ring, eh?


Not much else to say about the game itself. We looked great in all facets. I lit a fire under Matt Gorman, and he came through with 10 and 5; but he still sucks. Mike Jones is shaky. Josh Wright needs to do some maturing. No complaints about anything else.

I’m out of here for the next three weeks, so I leave it to my Cuse Country compadres to pick up the analysis slack. If we lose any games while I’m overseas, I’m blaming it on you people.

Posted in Former Orangemen, Hofstra, Josh Wright, Matt Gorman, Mike Jones, Nonconference Games, Regular Season Games, Wins | Leave a Comment »

An eventful Saturday night

Posted by Josh on December 17, 2006

Before my thoughts on the Baylor game, in my unofficial capacity as SU-NBA chronicler I must mention the massive brawl between the Nuggets and the Knicks tonight, in which Carmelo was thoroughly involved (he punched Mardy Collins in the face). It’s likely he will get suspended for at least a few games. My assumption is that he was mad at Collins for snitching. More on the brawl and its aftermath in the next Pro Update in a day or so, once the dust settles.

I got to watch most of the Baylor game and overall I actually felt good about the team’s play (for the first time in a while). They appear to have used the week between games to legitimately address some of the areas in which they’d been struggling. They did a much better job rebounding on the defensive end (in fact gave up only 4 offensive rebounds). The offense looked a lot smoother. There was quite a bit of ball movement with purpose, not just tossing around the perimeter haphazardly. They worked it into the post. Watkins had several offensive sets go through him. Josh Wright had 9 assists, only took 2 shots, and generally played under control. There were a couple times he forced the issue but for the most part he was just what the team needs him to be. And they hit their free throws (Mookie 7-10!). Plus Nichols is looking more and more comfortable at being the offensive leader and getting his shot, while the rest of the team is looking to find him when he is feeling it. He also was showing a bit of spunk and emotion — even on such simple things as SU being awarded the ball out of bounds after a rebounding scuffle. He looks like he is on his way to being The Man. (With apologies to Eugene Levy.) I am anxious to see how he does against the more athletic defenders in the Big East — if he can keep his game up in conference play, the prospects for the season will suddenly be a lot brighter.

There were (of course) some warts. A few times you could tell that they were not focused or were being too casual with the game (for example, taking a 3-pointer with 10 minutes left and only a 10-pt lead). The defense particularly suffered at these times — Baylor even converted a Gerry-to-Hakim-esque alleyoop behind the back line of the zone. (Minus the rim-destroying dunk.)But this behavior was much more intermittent than it was in earlier games, when they were often listless for long stretches. Also, Paul Harris was not really on his game for the 2nd straight contest — though he scored 15, a lot of that was late when the outcome was not in question. And he and Devendorf did most of their damage from the foul line. On one hand this is a good sign — that these guys know to get to the line to create points. But it is questionable whether such an approach will be as successful in Big East play. I’d much rather see them score in the half-court.

More tidbits: Andy Rautins got his first career start, with Devendorf coming off the bench. This is the second straight game with Devo out of the starting lineup — although he has got to be over his illness by now, because he played starters’ minutes. I’m curious whether this is just a psychological thing to help Devo’s game, or if he is in the doghouse somewhat, or if it is just early-season lineup tinkering. Time will tell (I hope, because JB sure won’t). Mike Jones had a few good minutes, though he got the classic Boeheim Hook (and a bit of the gas face) for failing to hustle after a loose ball. He’ll learn. D-B-Mac got in at the end and did not look totally terrible. If he gets pressed into emergency duty sometime in a game that matters, well, it will still suck but I no longer think that I will have to turn away from the screen.

By the way, where is Rautins’ famed shooting stroke? He was only 2-8 on threes. A couple seemed rushed but others were the kind of shot that he is being paid to knock down. (Figuratively speaking of course.) His best looking shots were those where he took a dribble to get the defender to go by him — it helped his rhythm a lot. But that is a luxury he won’t have most of the time. Leo, run your boy in some catch-and-shoot drills eh!

And finally, this photo from the game shows Jim Boeheim bellowing an incantation and reaching deep into his soul to summon the Great Power as he prepares to do battle against the Dark Lords of Evil:

(Coach Murphy appears unconcerned.)

Posted in Andy Rautins, Baylor, Carmelo Anthony, Demetris Nichols, Devin Brennan-McBride, Eric Devendorf, Gas Face, Jim Boeheim, Josh Wright, Mike Jones, Mookie Watkins, Paul Harris, syracuse, Terrence Roberts, Wins | 1 Comment »

Someone tell me what to think

Posted by Josh on December 6, 2006

Finished watching the game about an hour ago (on tape since I was busy earlier) and I still can’t figure out how I feel about it. I can’t remember seeing a team in any sport that can go from outstanding to putrid, from sharp to shitty, and then back again with no discernible reason. It just seems to be a crapshoot every time down the floor.

Glass half full: nearly winning despite missing Devendorf with some sort of mystery disease; several successful offensive moves in or near the paint by Watkins & Roberts; not quitting on the game and nearly pulling off the comeback; Nichols finding his range (and also driving the lane a couple times); solid foul shooting; a few good minutes by Mike Jones; an effective press defense; that Harris dunk.

Glass half empty: probably a dozen turnovers where OK St. players knew where the pass was going to be and got a hand in the way, or just knocked the ball right out of the Syracuse player’s hands while he was dribbling (Harris was especially susceptible to these while handling the ball at the top of the offensive set); giving up 11 offensive rebounds and only getting 14 defensive rebounds; the 6 minute scoreless stretch; a couple missed golden opportunities on fast breaks; not continuing to feed the ball inside on offense against a smaller team, especially during the time that the offense was not clicking otherwise; not forcing the ball out of Curry’s hands with the game on the line; another loss to a team that we probably should have beaten, even though it is not a Bad Loss.

Glass simultaneously full and empty: Josh Wright. At times he was a sturdy floor general, making good passes, pushing the break with his speed when the opportunity was there, driving the lane for layups and even hitting a three off a set play. Other times he got stuck under the basket with nowhere to go, had some sloppy turnovers, and couldn’t get the ball to anybody who could score it on a 4-on-1 break late in the game. Also there was a stretch of the game where Harris looked totally flummoxed trying to start the offense — I was waiting for Wright to demand the ball and help out his teammate, but he disappeared when the team most needed him to step up and be the quarterback.

Also I give credit to the OK St. staff for a good scouting job — they had a good offensive game plan against the zone a lot of the time, and on defense they often had a good idea of what SU was planning to do, and forced a lot of turnovers by jumping the pass routes and cutting off player movement.

Now it’s back to Creampuffville (not exactly, but no super-serious threats) until the Pitt game, which will give them time to get better but will not tell us anything about their development (unless they lose to Drexel or something). It’ll be kind of like the first month of the season all over again — they will not play spectacularly, but will win games, and everyone will still be wondering “How good are these guys really?” until at least early January.

Ultimately I really want to give them a pass on this one because of Devendorf’s absence, but it was so frustrating to watch them fumble away the game when it could have turned into a feel-good, overcoming-adversity situation if only they’d executed a bit better (and boxed out a couple of times) that I’m not sure my gut will allow me to let them slide. (Which, I’m sure, bothers the players tremendously.)

Posted in Demetris Nichols, Eric Devendorf, Losses, Mike Jones, Mookie Watkins, Nonconference Games, Oklahoma State, Paul Harris, Regular Season Games, Terrence Roberts | 1 Comment »

I blame Craig Forth.

Posted by ech1 on December 3, 2006

Now, I may be batshit insane, but allow me to explain. While watching Mookie’s seemingly endless series of volleyball taps and “hot potato” chucks on the offensive glass I begun to wonder: why won’t he simply grab an offensive rebound and dunk it on someone’s face, like any normal 6’10”, 260ish lb guy would? And that’s where Craig Forth comes in… now, as we all know, Craigers had this problem with offensive rebounds: he simply had to bring the ball down to a level where anyone in possesion of a grasping limb could take it away from him (and I mean anyone, including the ballboys and Bonzo the chimp). Now, I’m speculating here, but I have to imagine that after watching that performance for two years, Mookie has nightmares about a personal hell where Jimmy screams “don’t bring the ball down!!!!” at him for all eternity. Thus, the aformentioned disasters of putback attempts against Wichita State last night. And if Mookie but flushes 2 of those, it’s a different ballgame folks.

In other news, someone needs to get Paul Harris some medicine, because that boy is ILL. People are talking about how sick that foul line-ish dunk was, but the scary part to me was how effortless it seemed. Most guys would need to gather themselves and have a few steps to setup their takeoff… Paul just took one step and soared. That sort of thing you don’t see in college ball much, and, not to get too hyperbolic, but it ain’t exactly common outside video games and MJ highlight reels. Oh, and his defense is not exactly shabby either.

Other things of note that I won’t go into details on:

1) You can question his shot selection, his fashion sense and his generally tenous grasp on reality, but one thing not in question about Terrence Roberts last night was his effort. If his 2-3 “no chance” wild shots are the price of 14 and 12, with good defense and no foul trouble, well, I’ll take it.

2) I’ve suggested this before, but I think Jimmy needs to think about playing more press. It looked good last night with Terrence on the ball, Mookie guarding the rim, and a bunch of fast and/or long guys putting the traps on. Even when Wichita broke it, they weren’t getting easy baskets. Plus, as was amply demonstrated, this SU team is not exactly deep in guys who can score out of the half-court set; it seems logical to push the pace and try to get as many transition baskets as you can.

3) Mike Jones is my official darkhorse candidate for “guy who will step up and make a difference later in the season” (non-Paul Harris division). I don’t what, if any, offensive skills he brings to the table, but he’s got Josh Pace’s number and if he can come off the bench and contribute a JP-like combination of defense, ball-handling, and general ability to contribute across the stat sheet… well, that’ll do.

4) Devendorf… ick. Has Harris ruined his confidence by shutting him down in practice or is it just a funk?

Posted in Eric Devendorf, Former Orangemen, Losses, Mike Jones, Mookie Watkins, Nonconference Games, Paul Harris, Terrence Roberts, Wichita State | 3 Comments »

atrocities in Western New York

Posted by syracusan on November 26, 2006

At first I was excited to see that the Met’s channel, SNY, was finally contributing something positive to society by televising tonight’s SU game vs. Canisius. But given the competitive product put out on the floor by my guys tonight, I think I’d be a happier person not to have witnessed it. Though Syracuse “won” the game 81-71, there’s no way to sugar coat how awful they were in almost all phases of the game.

They got annihilated on the boards by a scrubby MAAC team with no first tier talent. The zone was atrocious all night, the offense had no rhythm, they couldn’t hit a foul shot, Canisius penetrated and got open threes no matter which defense we were in, no one could hit a jumper, etc etc. Matt Gorman started and looked totally flummoxed by the Griffins’ speed and athleticism (yes, seriously); Devendorf was completely invisible for the first 30 minutes of the game; Mike Jones came in when Jimmy got fed up with the starters, then promptly got yanked after 30 seconds due to awfulness; Andy Rautins looked like he’s only interested in shooting threes, and that other facets of the game are mere inconveniences. Paul Harris was heading for the scorers table 90 seconds into the game. Just start him, Jimmy.

The only reason the team was in it at all in the first half was Harris’ scoring and rebounding, and Nichols’ steady play. The switch to man-to-man took Canisius out of their comfort zone, but the exorbitant turnovers created in the 2nd half were not to our credit. Canisius exerted so much effort in the first half that they had nothing left in the tank down the stretch. Their passing and dribbling got lazy, and our guys were in much better shape and able to take advantage of the sloppiness. But it wasn’t due to particularly sharp D. In fact, I think it’s about time to get Mookie back from his wierd nose injury so the team can get its defensive personality in order.

We did one thing genuinely well: consistent aggressive play on offense created massive foul problems for Canisius, which contributed to their exhaustion when their big guys started fouling out. Most of the whistles were drawn by Harris and J Wright, who played a good game as an individual offensive player, though still looked highly ineffective as a floor general. I know the stats show Wright with 8 dimes, but most of those came in fast break situations. Our half court sets were disjointed and hard to watch, and overall I think the team operates a little smoother with Harris at the top. For the record, Devo looked even worse than Wright at the point, and he didn’t pick up his game tonight until late in the 2nd half when he turned back into a pure scorer.

We pulled it out in the 2nd half thanks to the Griffins’ foul trouble, ball handling problems, and inability to handle our speed and athleticism in transition. Gorman had a nice sequence when he finally got back in, and Terrence was key in sticking the knife in with a series of vicious dunks down the stretch to go with his 2nd half block party. Devo more than anyone benefited from all the turnovers, getting several easy layups in a row to extend the lead to a safe distance and make his box score look better than it should have. Harris, proving he’s not perfect, mostly disappeared in the 2nd half, though he did valuable grunt work drawing fouls and keying breaks. Too bad he missed all his foul shots. I would’ve liked to see one more rebound to keep his double-double party going, but he ended up stuck to the bench in the final minutes. Boeheim gave him a breather down the stretch, and when Canisius kept it close and started fouling at the end, he wouldn’t send him back in because of the foul shooting problems. That’s something to watch out for going forward.

The MVP was obviously Nichols, the only guy to show up for both halves. He’s steady, and he’s good at hitting shots when the other team starts thinking about other guys. It would be great if he could show up on defense as well as he has on offense, but at least we have one veteran showing some consistency early in the season.

I’m watching the Gators and Jayhawks pound on each other right now on ESPN2, and I can assure everyone out there that we’d lose to either of these teams by about 75 points if we played them right now. Some serious works needs to be done or we’re going to get embarrassed by Wichita State on our home floor.


Dickie V is doing the game and he announced his top six Diaper Dandies for the year. Guess who isn’t on the list? I don’t know much about the other guys, though I did see Kevin Durant down at Texas once and he lit it up. But there’s no way all 6 of those guys are better than Harris. Yet another reason to slap some duct tape on Vitale’s mouth.

Posted in Andy Rautins, Canisius, Demetris Nichols, Eric Devendorf, Haters, Jim Boeheim, Josh Wright, Matt Gorman, Mike Jones, Mookie Watkins, Nonconference Games, Paul Harris, Regular Season Games, Terrence Roberts, Wichita State, Wins | Leave a Comment »

oral pleasure

Posted by syracusan on November 16, 2006

Gotta love college hoops. #3 Kansas lost at home tonight to Oral Roberts. Doesn’t it seem like Kansas does something like this every year, regardless of who’s coaching? More importantly, there’s no other sport in the world where underdogs can get the kind of wins that Vermont and Oral Roberts got over the last few days. #2 UNC tried to lose at home to Winthrop tonight too, but pulled it out by 7 after losing the whole first half. If Tim is feeling shaky about our 23 point win, imagine how Tar Heel fans feel. Or Jayhawks fans for that matter.

FYI, nice win for Georgetown tonight on the road in SEC territory. Vanderbilt isn’t great, but they’re decent. 17-12 last year and 7-9 in the conference. That’s a legit win for the Big East.


I found myself in Bobst Library this evening, getting ready to dig into some global poverty-reduction macroeconomic strategies, when a little bird fluttered into my inbox providing a miraculous link to a live-action view of the SU-Northeastern game on the internet. I won’t go into the details of how this amazing connection occurred, but needless to say the poor of the earth were forced to wait a couple hours for my attention. Suddenly the public computer in sub-level II was my own private TV, and I spent the rest of the night fending off weird looks from other students.

I also spent a lot of time feverishly text-messaging Tom about the amazing transformation in Paul Harris happening right in front of us. He was literally a different player at the end of that game than he was at the beginning. He made at least two moves tonight that no one has made for us in years. First, a rim rattling facial of a dunk over some poor fool on a solo fast break that was humiliating in a way only Hak knows about. Second, and more important, a little play on the baseline where he faced up his man in the half court set, made one crossover move, blew completely by him, challenged the larger help defenders, and laid it in with relative ease. That play, my friends, we haven’t seen since Carmelo.

Paul doesn’t look any taller than Devo when you see them next to each other, which means he was at best the 8th tallest player on the court most of the night while he was pulling down those 12 rebounds. You couldn’t even see him in the pile under the basket, yet he relentlessly came out with the ball. He reminded me of Ryan Gomes, only a hell of a lot quicker. At his height, I’m not sure if he’s going to be able to pull that kind of board work off against the UConns of the world, but the fact that he has two double-doubles in his four college games is starting to get impressive. Late in the game he demanded the ball half-way through a disorganized offensive set, dribbled to midcourt, calmed everyone down, and called out a play. He ended up driving and passing it off, but it was a great maturation moment. With two seniors and two sophomores on the court with him, he was the one who took charge. Josh Wright isn’t going to be happy. He’ll continue to start for a while, but he may find his importance reduced unless we’re playing a pressing team.

Some other random thoughts…Mike Jones looked great on offense and defense. He’s incredibly smooth for his size…SU’s new “small” lineup is the biggest small lineup I’ve ever seen. For a while Jimmy had Roberts at center, Devo at point, and Nichols, Harris, and Jones handling the rest of it. Interesting to note, Harris permanently played a frontline spot on defense in the zone, while Nichols and Jones rotated at the two. Nichols playing defense up top is insane, if it works that’ll be amazing. No one will get a blip of light to shoot from outside. But Jones did most of the work up there, and he’s pretty huge himself…When Devo’s outside shot is falling, and we have Rautins and Nichols on the court with him, that’s an impossible situation for other teams. Several possessions in a row towards the end of the first half Devo blew past tight coverage and set up one of those other guys for wide open threes, and there was nothing anyone could do to stop it…quote of the night from Tom: “It’s a good thing Paul Harris can’t shoot. Might keep him here longer.”

Posted in Andy Rautins, Big 12, Big East, Demetris Nichols, Eric Devendorf, Georgetown, Jim Boeheim, Josh Wright, Mike Jones, Nonconference Games, Northeastern University, Paul Harris, Regular Season Games, SEC, Wins | 2 Comments »