Syracuse Basketball: Ranking the 5 Best Scorers in Orange History
The fundamental rule of sport is you have to score more than your opponent, unless you're a golfer, that is.
As one of the top collegiate programs, the Syracuse basketball team has had its fair share of outstanding scorers. Guys like Dion Waiters, John Wallace, Wes Johnson, Sherman Douglas and Preston Shumpert all could light up the scoresheet on any given night.
All of those guys were standouts, and none of them could crack our top five. With the college basketball season still way off in the distance, let's take a look back and count down the five best scorers in Orange history.
We'll judge these players on their statistical output as well has their versatility and ability to hit shots in the clutch. It's one thing to just score a lot a points, but it's another to score consistently from all over the floor and hit shots when it matters most.
5. Dave Bing
A lot of people overlook him because he played so long ago, but Dave Bing is not only one of the greatest scorers ever for the Orange, but one of the best players as well.
At 1,883 points, Jim Boeheim's teammate in ninth on the Orange's all-time scoring list, but he only played for three seasons. In addition, Bing only played 76 games, compared to over 120 by all of the top scorers on this list.
Bing was the model of consistency. He holds the program record for most consecutive games scoring in double figures with 66. He also made the fifth-most free throws in school history with 438. Consistently getting it done at the charity stripe is the mark of any good scorer.
Bing's productivity in limited playing time is what gets him on this list. He played in an era when they played fewer games each season, yet Bing averaged 24.8 points a game. If he had the opportunity to play in as many games as some of his contemporaries, there's no telling what kind of numbers he would have put up.
4. Derrick Coleman
Syracuse is known for its many talented perimeter players, but there have been a few dominant inside forces as well.
Perhaps the best low-post player to come through Syracuse is Derrick Coleman, who played from 1987 to 1990. Coleman is second on the Orange's all-time scoring list, and his name is all over the program's record book. He's sixth in field-goal percentage (.568), first in free throws made (587) and attempted (858) and first in double-figure scoring games (121).
Coleman was an athletic specimen in his day, as evidenced by dunks like this he would throw down. He makes it look easy. When Coleman caught it in the paint it was hard to stop him, as he had an array of low-post moves to score over defenders.
Coleman could also dribble pretty reliably for a big man. He could step out and hit mid-range jumpers, and he wasn't totally lost if he had to face the basket and handle the rock. They don't make low-post players like Coleman very often anymore. DC was one of the best ever for Syracuse, and his name is synonymous with Syracuse hoops.
3. Gerry McNamara
A lights-out three-point shooter is going to be able to fill it up with ease, and there have been few better three-point bombers for Syracuse than Gerry McNamara.
Most of McNamara's highlight tapes will feature him hitting from deep, but he had a complete offensive game by the time his college career was over. He could get into the paint and score off the dribble, and he pushed the ball quickly in transition. And if he got to the foul line, he was pretty much automatic.
McNamara is fourth on Syracuse's all-time scoring list, and he attempted the second-most field goals in program history. He leads the program in career field-goal percentage (.887), and he has the top two positions for free-throw percentage in a season with .909 in 2002-03 and .902 in 2005-06.
McNamara was the definition of a volume three-point shooter. He has the top spots for three-pointers made in a season and three out of the top four for treys attempted in a year. He had such a quick release, and if he was able to set his feet, you always expected it to go in.
And McNamara could get it done in the clutch. Orange fans will never forget his heroics in the 2006 Big East tournament, when he hit huge three-pointers night after night to carry his squad, a No. 9 seed, to the Big East title.
Overrated? I don't think so.
2. Lawrence Moten
It would be hard to leave the program's all-time leading scorer off this list.
Thus, here we find Lawrence Moten, whose 2,334 points are the most any player has scored for the Orange. He got buckets consistently too, averaging 19.3 points in his 121 games played. That scoring average is good for fifth-best in school history.
It's nigh impossible to miss Moten's name in the Orange record books. Most field goals made in school history? Moten leads the way with 838. Most attempted? Also Moten with 1,736. Like all the great scorers, Moten also got made his freebies, sinking 461 of his 644 career attempts. Those totals are fourth and fifth, respectively, in school history.
Moten's scoring ability came from his ability to understand how to play the game. He was always ready to hit a big shot, and his ability to attack off the dribble made it difficult for defenders to stay with him.
Moten rarely made flashy, aggressive plays, though. You wouldn't think he was going off, but when the game ended, there was Moten with 18 or 20 points. He was, indeed, Poetry in Moten.
1. Carmelo Anthony
In just his one year on campus, Carmelo Anthony established himself as one of Syracuse's all-time greats. Helping to win the program's only national title definitely helps that cause.
Anthony played in 35 games in his lone collegiate year, but he poured in 22.2 points a night, scoring 778 points total. Let's say he played four years. If he stayed near that pace, he would have scored over 3,000 points, which would be the most ever by an Orange player by far.
What set 'Melo apart was that he could score from anywhere on the floor. The 6'8" forward could post up smaller defenders and shoot over them or bring bigger guys out and abuse them off the dribble. Let's be real: He could beat just about anyone off the dribble.
Anthony could also get it done from the three-point line. Anthony shot 38 percent from downtown during his freshman year. With that kind of versatility, it was hard to stop him. And few were able to.
When the stakes were the highest, Anthony played his best. He dropped 33, the most he scored all season, in the Final Four against Texas in 2003, and he followed it up with a 20-point outing in the title game victory against Kansas. His brilliance led to him being named the Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four.
Because of his impressive play and success in such a short period of time, Anthony is easily the program's most outstanding scorer as well.