Syracuse Orange 2003 National Title Team: 10 Years Later, Where Are They Now?
The ball was tipped. There they were. They're running for their lives. They were shooting stars.
Ten years ago, the Syracuse Orange led by freshmen sensations Carmelo Anthony and Gerry McNamara defeated the Kansas Jayhawks 81-78 to capture head coach Jim Boeheim's first and only NCAA national championship.
While the freshmen stars, especially Anthony, stole all of the headlines, the team finished the year with 30 wins and only five losses.
It's been 10 years, what are each of the key players of the 2002-03 national championship team up to these days?
2003 National Championship Game Stats: 20 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists in 37 minutes.
Carmelo Anthony was a college basketball phenom, averaging 22.2 points and 10 rebounds per game in his one and only season as a college player. He was the unanimous 2003 Freshman of the Year and was named the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
After his only year as a member of the Orange, Anthony declared for the NBA draft and was selected third overall by the Denver Nuggets.
(TRIVIA: Who were the two players drafted before Anthony?).
Anthony has spent 10 years in the NBA. Eight seasons in Denver and two with his current team, the New York Knicks.
For his career, he averages 24.7 points per game in the regular season and 24.8 in the playoffs. He was named to three All-NBA teams and three All-Star teams.
He's led a team to the Western Conference Finals in 2009 and has won a gold and bronze medal in the Olympics and a gold and bronze medal in the FIBA World Championships.
Off the court, Anthony donated $3 million to Syracuse University to build the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center where both the men's and women's basketball teams practice.
Anthony is arguably the best player ever to play for the Orange and considering all of his basketball accomplishments, should eventually be inducted into The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
2003 National Championship Game Stats: 18 points, 1 assist in 34 minutes.
Gerry McNamara, nicknamed "The Pride of Scranton, Pennsylvania", played four years for the Orange. In his sophomore year, the season after cutting down the nets, he led the defending champs back to the Sweet 16, including a dominant performance against BYU in the opening round where he scored 43 points.
McNamara will probably be most remembered for his play in the Big East Tournament during his senior year. McNamara led the Orange to four victories in four days to claim the 2006 tournament title.
After trying his hand at professional basketball in the United States Basketball League, the NBA Developmental League and overseas in Greece and Latvia, McNamara ended his playing career in March 2009.
He is now an assistant coach for the Syracuse Orange.
2003 National Championship Game Stats: ONE BLOCK, 6 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 other block in 31 minutes.
The lanky forward was one of Syracuse's most exciting players to watch and he somehow always had just enough length to come up with huge plays. Case in point, "The Block."
With time winding down in the second half and the Kansas Jayhawks down 81-78, the ball swung around the perimeter and into the corner to Michael Lee to have what appeared to be a wide open look at the game-tying three-point shot. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, sophomore forward Hakim Warrick stretched out and blocked the shot attempt out of play. It was the play that sealed the national title for the Orange.
Warrick played four years for the Orange and was Big East Conference Player of the Year as a senior. He led Syracuse to a Big East Tournament Title in 2005 and was named tournament MVP, averaging 22.5 points and 12 rebounds in postseason play.
The Memphis Grizzlies selected Warrick with the 19th overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. He has played eight seasons in the NBA for four different teams including the Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls, and his current team, the Phoenix Suns.
In 2011-12, Warrick averaged 6.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game.
2003 National Championship Game Stats: 11 points, 4 rebounds in 13 minutes.
The captain and lone senior on the team, Kueth Duany provided length at the top of the 2-3 zone for the Orange. He averaged 11 points per game for the season and finished his career 42nd on the Syracuse all-time scoring list with 1,084 points.
After graduation, Duany was drafted by the NBDL's Fayetteville Patriots in the fifth round. He played for the NBDL as well as overseas in Finland and Germany.
What is he doing now? It is unknown; however, you can follow him on Twitter.
2003 National Championship Game Stats: 6 points, 3 rebounds, 3 blocks in 24 minutes.
The man in the middle, sophomore center Craig Forth had a love-hate relationship with Syracuse fans. He seemed to be uncoordinated and untalented as a player, but at 7'0" and 255 pounds, he was a space-eater in the middle of the 2-3 zone and he seemed to always make his defensive presence felt.
Forth started all 136 games of his college career and ended seventh in blocks on the all-time Syracuse list.
After his time at Syracuse, he played overseas in Slovakia. In 2007, he signed with the United States Basketball League's Albany Patroons.
2003 National Championship Game Stats: 5 rebounds, 2 blocks in 13 minutes.
Jeremy McNeil did not have a memorable play in the national title game. However, his role on the defensive side of the floor made him one of the unsung heroes who came off the bench to provide a boost for the Orange in 2003.
A tenacious shot-blocker, McNeil was used primarily to protect the rim when the Orange wanted to speed up the game with their defensive press. He averaged 2.9 blocks per game in 2003 and finished his Syracuse fifth on the career blocked shots list.
After college, McNeil bounced around the ABA and NBDL. Most recently, he averaged 1.4 points and 1.4 rebounds for the Fort Worth Flyers in 2007.
2003 National Championship Game Stats: 12 points, 3 steals, 2 assists, 2 rebounds in 27 minutes.
If Derrick Coleman is regarded as the Syracuse Orange player who never reached his potential in the Pros, guard Billy Edelin is arguably the player who never reached his potential in college.
Edelin joined the Orange midseason after serving an NCAA suspension for playing in a YMCA league during the offseason. Edelin was a high-impact player off the bench. He didn't really have a perimeter game, but he was a slashing guard who could get into the paint and get his shot at will. In 2003, he averaged nine points per game.
After 2003, it was expected for Edelin to join his fellow classmate McNamara in the Orange backcourt for the next three years. However, it didn't happen. While he did average 14.4 points per game, he also had some academic and personal issues during the 2004 season causing him to miss the beginning of the season and some games during conference play.
In 2005, he left Syracuse University.
It is rumored he declared for the 2007 NBA draft, but obviously, he was not selected.
2003 National Championship Game Stats: 8 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists in 21 minutes.
Sophomore Josh Pace, like Edelin and McNeil, was a spark off the bench for the 2003 national title team. He averaged 4.3 points per game for the Orange. However, he saved his best performances for the NCAA Tournament. In the Sweet 16 against Auburn, Pace scored 16 points. In the Final Four against Texas, he dropped 12.
Pace continued to see his minutes expand and his role increase on the Orange during his final two years on the team. In his senior year, when Pace scored in double figures, the team was 20-4.
After college, Pace was not offered a contract for an NBA team, so he went to New Zealand to play for the Nelson Giants. Since then, his desire to play basketball has brought him back to the United States' Continental Basketball League and American Basketball Association, as well as a short tenure in Estonia where he won a Estonian National Championship in 2008-09.
He currently plays in New Zealand for the Manawatu Jets. He is listed at 1.98 meters.
The third time was a charm for Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. He led the Orange to the national title game in 1987 and 1996 only to fall short. In 2003, it was his time.
Boeheim has not made it back to the Final Four since cutting down the nets in New Orleans. However, he has collected some hardware including a pair of Big East regular season titles and two conference tournament titles.
The Orange have earned No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament twice and have reached the Sweet 16 three of the past four seasons.
Boeheim was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005 and the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
He currently ranks third all-time in Division I wins with 890 and should surpass Bob Knight (902) sometime next season.
That is, of course, if the Orange can win more than 10 (bleeping) games...
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