Orangeyes Daily Articles for Wednesday - for Basketball |

Orangeyes Daily Articles for Wednesday for Basketball


No recent Cali or Iggy awards; Mr Irrelevant
Aug 15, 2011

Welcome to National Letter of Intent Signing Day!

One of the most exciting moments for a student-athlete is receiving a verbal scholarship offer. Years of hard work have led to this moment. However, nothing is official until you sign the National Letter of Intent (NLI.) Not every school uses the NLI—about 650 NCAA D1 and D2 schools. It’s not mandatory to sign, but every year more than 48,000 student-athletes do. The National Letter of Intent is not affiliated directly with the NCAA; it was created by the Collegiate Commissioners Association to protect both the college and student from either party backing out. February 7th marks the start of the second signing period for football.

SU News

Opponent Preview: What to know ahead of Louisville (DO; Schiff)

Syracuse head coach Adrian Autry didn’t mince words postgame after his team’s 99-70 away loss to Wake Forest on Feb. 3 — its second consecutive defeat. SU shot just 40.3% from the field while the Demon Deacons hit 63.2% of their 3s.

When asked about the result Monday during his weekly Atlantic Coast Conference coaches call, Autry said he preaches a brand of basketball revolving around effort. Autry added that he isn’t afraid to play walk-ons “to get you to play the way I need you to play.”

Then Tuesday, the program announced on social media that it dismissed junior forward Benny Williams due to undisclosed reasons. Williams’ departure leaves SU thin in the front court heading into a home showdown against Louisville Wednesday.

The Cardinals come off of a surprise 101-92 victory over Florida State. Louisville point guard Ty-Laur Johnson starred with a 27-point, 11-assist double-double — a performance that earned him ACC Rookie of the Week honors.

Here’s everything you need to know before Syracuse (14-8, 5-6 ACC) takes on Louisville (7-15, 2-9 ACC):

All-time series

Louisville leads 19-12.

KenPom odds

Syracuse has an 85% chance of winning, with a projected score of 81-69.

Last time they played…

Syracuse eked by Louisville on the road 70-69 on Jan. 3, 2023. The Orange were led by now-Clemson guard Joe Girard III’s 28 points while Judah Mintz added 16.

Though SU collected 25 points off of 21 Cardinals turnovers, Louisville held a 67-66 advantage with 1:04 left to play. However, a pair of free throws each from Girard III and Mintz secured a victory for Syracuse.

Spellbound by how close the contest was despite Louisville’s many cough-ups, Kenny Payne said he believed his team should have won: “That goes to show that we gave it away. We gave it away. My heart goes out to my team because they deserved to win.”

Beat writers split on Syracuse’s chances against Louisville (DO; Staff)

Syracuse lost at Wake Forest 99-70 last time out, marking its fourth 20-plus point defeat this season. Lackluster SU defense allowed the Demon Deacons to shoot 66% from the field and 63.2% from 3. The Orange trailed 42-28 at halftime and were outscored by 15 in the second half.

Though four Syracuse players finished with double-digit scoring, J.J. Starling’s 15 led the team. The visitors mustered a 25.9% 3-point clip and never led. During his postgame press conference, a furious Adrian Autry apologized to Syracuse University and its fans for his team’s performance.

“Unacceptable, (it) won’t be tolerated, (it) won’t be allowed,” Autry said.

The nightmarish weekend extended to late Tuesday morning, though, when SU announced the dismissal of junior guard Benny Williams on X. Amid the recent chaos, Syracuse hosts Louisville — who currently sit tied at last place with Notre Dame in the Atlantic Coast Conference — on Wednesday.

Here’s how our beat writers think Syracuse (14-8, 5-6 ACC) fares against the visiting Cardinals (7-15, 2-9 ACC):

Cole Bambini (18-4)
Avoiding rock bottom
Syracuse 78, Louisville 72

This will be the ultimate test of bouncing back for this Syracuse team. Right now, the NCAA Tournament seems out of the picture, but there’s still plenty of opportunity for the NIT and for things to get back on track. Syracuse is fortunate that Louisville, the second-worst team in the conference, is up next on the schedule.

Losing to Wake Forest by 29 was unexpected, and it showed in Autry’s frustration at his postgame press conference. With back-to-back losses against winnable teams complemented with the dismissal of Benny Williams, there’s a lot of negative buzz around the team, but now’s the chance to restore the season.

Before defeating Florida State, the Cardinals had lost six games in a row, and had just won one game away from their home floor. Losing Williams only means the Orange’s frontcourt gets thinner, but his impact was minimal throughout the season. And a game against Louisville will show how Judah Mintz and Starling can lead Syracuse back into the win column and avoid rock bottom.

Henry O’Brien (18-4)
A defining moment in the Autry era
Louisville 75, Syracuse 73

Let’s face it. Syracuse is not making the NCAA tournament. At this point, that’s not what matters. With how the Orange played against Wake Forest on Saturday and Williams’ dismissal from the team, they can show that they can bounce back from significant adversity. It can also give credence to players buying into a new coach’s system and standard.

Autry made it very clear in the postgame presser and the ACC Coaches call on Monday that he has a standard for his players. Now, he faces his first real challenge in what could be an early defining moment in his coaching tenure. Can he get his players to win even after these setbacks?

I believe this team will put up a valiant effort and play hard. Autry even said on Monday that his team can lose games, but not like the way his players did on Saturday. It will help that the Orange are playing one of the worst teams in the ACC. But without Williams’ abilities and size, SU will struggle to stop Louisville. The Cardinals, who have won a conference game on the road, will do just enough in a hard-fought game to pull out a victory.

But if Syracuse loses, could you really blame them?

Tyler Schiff (17-5)
Down but not out
Syracuse 80, Louisville 68

The collective events over these last four days have nearly eliminated my usual optimism for this team. Saturday’s 29-point loss was an unforgivable setback and Williams’ dismissal means Autry has lost a valuable frontcourt option and, arguably, SU’s quintessential glue guy.

But there’s still hope and Louisville should pose as a gimme to get back in the win column. Yes, the Cardinals are coming off of a surprise 101-92 victory over Florida State, but they still give up the most points (78) and the highest opponent field goal percentage (46.5%).

It’ll be interesting to see how Autry gameplans for a lackluster side, yet one that features 6-foot-10 Brandon Huntley-Hatfield — a former Tennessee signee. If Maliq Brown gets into foul trouble quickly, the task will still, somehow, be too tall for Peter Carey. And Autry has yet to show any indication that he will play 6-foot-11 Mounir Hima.

As for how Louisville’s backcourt matches up with Mintz and Starling, freshman Ty-Laur Johnson is the reigning ACC Rookie of the Week after posting a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double against FSU. But star guard Skyy Clark hasn’t played since suffering a head injury during a loss to Clemson in late January.

Syracuse can handily win against one of the ACC’s worst teams. Maybe this will generate a positive trend for Saturday’s matchup with Clemson. But likely not.

How does the dismissal of Williams impact SU basketball? (PS; $; Waters)

The Syracuse basketball team has nine regular season games remaining on the schedule along with the ACC tournament.

The Orange will complete its 2023-24 slate without Benny Williams. The 6-foot-9 junior forward was dismissed from the team on Tuesday.

Syracuse coach Adrian Autry’s decision to part ways with the mercurial Williams was announced on the SU basketball program’s Instagram account.

Syracuse basketball player Benny Williams dismissed from team

Even though Williams had been filling a reduced role this season compared to his sophomore year when he started 24 games, his departure could still have a significant impact on the Orange for the rest of the season.

COMING HOME: Donovan Freeman is slated to be SU's newest star forward (DO; Schiff)

The framework for Syracuse’s marquee forward position has undergone steady reconfiguration. Some qualities are evergreen. Others are obsolete. Keep the tall stature, freakish wingspan and savvy court vision, but embrace the gradual development from basic inside presence to crafty three-level scorer.

A stroll through the program’s crowded room of frontcourt stars illustrates this well. The sharpshooting Louis Orr and Leo Rautins were soon followed by a wave of bullish yet athletic post players in Rony Seikaly, Derrick Coleman and John Wallace. Then, the arrival of versatile point-forwards — a unique archetype equipped to set up a team’s offense while being skilled enough to have one structured around them. Wesley Johnson, Jerami Grant and Oshae Brissett come to mind. Go ahead and loop Carmelo Anthony in there, too.

This latest mold encapsulates Donovan Freeman, a top-20 recruit in the 2024 class, perfectly. He enrolls at Syracuse next season as a McDonald’s All-American and Nike EYBL Peach Jam champion, becoming the Orange’s highest-ranked incoming freshman since DaJuan Coleman in 2012. The 6-foot-9, five-star forward signed with SU because of an unwavering trust in head coach Adrian Autry and his staff to sculpt him into a program great.

One of high school basketball’s quickest risers, Freeman possesses unique two-way ability. His mid-range jumper is pure but the talent to guard every position could be even more impressive. His commitment presents an opportunity for Syracuse to erase an imminent three-year absence from the NCAA Tournament.

"I can do anything on the floor,” Freeman said. “Historically, that’s what Syracuse’s forwards do. I’ll come in and find any way to become a winning player.”

Freeman’s inconsistencies with the blueprint of a traditional, one-dimensional power forward excited Autry. Freeman’s wiry base and skinny arms seemed off-putting. So did his inconsistency in ball-handling and shooting range, but it could all be fine-tuned. Word of his potential traveled during the pandemic after he excelled playing up at open runs with Team Takeover — a regional AAU powerhouse based in his hometown of Washington, D.C.

O’Brien: Benny Williams’ dismissal is a disappointing end to a once-promising career (DO; O'Brien)
Benny Williams’ Syracuse men’s basketball career began with ample promise. Three years later, though, SU’s decision to dismiss him from the program marked the culmination of a disappointing tenure.

Williams first arrived at Syracuse in 2021 as a five-star prospect destined to lead the program once-staples like Cole Swider and Buddy Boeheim graduated. But Williams barely scratched out a spot in the starting lineup over his first two seasons, instead having a “combustible” relationship with Jim Boeheim. This season, under new head coach Adrian Autry, Williams was at the center of multiple contentious incidents, which eventually led to his dismissal.

This wasn’t Williams stepping away from the team. He was let go. Autry and his staff were clearly at a breaking point with the forward.

The move does not come lightly. The Orange now only have four forwards on the active roster — Maliq Brown, Chris Bell, Justin Taylor and Chaz Owens. The depth will be significantly hindered without his size. But when it came to Williams, Autry and his fellow decision makers didn’t hesitate to lay down the law.

Ninety minutes before SU’s second exhibition game against College of Saint Rose, SU Athletics announced Williams was suspended for a “violation of team rules.” The suspension lasted three games — one exhibition game and the first two regular games. When asked why Williams didn’t play a single minute against Cornell, Autry said he “wanted to play the guys that could help us.”

Following the Orange’s loss to Gonzaga in Hawaii, Autry didn’t offer a comment on why he didn’t give Williams any playing time. As he finished saying “no comment,” Autry looked down and slightly shook his head in disappointment.

Syracuse’s 99-70 loss to Wake Forest on Feb. 3 will go down as Williams’ final game with the program. He scored seven points and tallied eight rebounds, but also received a technical foul after a scrum with a Demon Deacons player near the end of the first half. Williams threw the ball away and immediately received the tech. He got subbed out, and as he walked back to the end of the bench, he bumped into Autry.

To further complicate matters, Williams declined to take part in the handshake line. Assistant coach Alan Griffin tried to grab Williams from going into the tunnel, but Williams was gone.

Postgame, Autry apologized to Syracuse fans and the university for his team’s performance and called the effort “unacceptable.” Autry didn’t specifically mention Williams — or anyone for that matter — in the press conference. But during the Atlantic Coast Conference Coaches Call on Feb. 5, Autry doubled down on his team playing together regardless of who was out there.

“You’re gonna fight. You’re gonna get back (on defense),” Autry said. “…I’m gonna continually watch that. So if I gotta play walk-ons, whoever I gotta play to play the way I need you to play, then that’s what’s gonna happen.”

Keeping Up With The 315 2-6-24 (ESPN; radio; The 315)
Guest host Tim Leonard ran things today in #The315 and starting the show out talking about the recent news that Benny Williams has been removed from the Syracuse Men’s Basketball roster as of today 2-6-24 @ 11A.M. Next, Tim took calls from listeners on their reactions. Finally, he wrapped things up by discussing what his means for the future of ‘Cuse basketball.
Newhouse after Noon 2-6-24 (ESPN; radio; Newhouse after Noon)

Jacob Kaye, Michael Ostrowski, and Jackson Holzer start the show reacting to the news that Benny Williams is no longer a member of the Syracuse men’s basketball team, looking back on his career, and discussing how it impacts the ongoing season. Then, Dylan Beyer, Connor McGahan, and Jackson Holzer share what they believe to be the Orange’s biggest issues in the team’s back-to-back losses and discuss who could potentially step up and save the season.
Axe: Why now? Instant reaction to Benny Williams dismissed from SU basketball (podcast) (PS; $; podcast; Axe)
Why now?

Why dismiss Syracuse forward Benny Williams from the Syracuse University men’s basketball team with nine games remaining in the season?

How do the Orange move on without Williams?’s Brent Axe and Mike Waters give their instant reaction to the news Williams has been dismissed by head coach Adrian Autry on Syracuse Sports presented by Crouse Health.

Brent and Mike also reacts to opinions and comments from Syracuse Sports Insiders about the dismissal of Benny Williams.

Where Do The Orange Go From Here? (; Horning)

Syracuse has turned into turmoil.

So, maybe March Madness is out of the equation. Despite that, there has to be a different, realistic goal for this team going forward – a reason to play hard and play with energy, with more than one month of the season remaining.

Don’t get me wrong. If the Orange win out, there’s still a legitimate shot at making the tournament. But let’s be real, folks. That remains to be a distant outcome with 3rd-ranked North Carolina on the horizon next week.

Before taking a look ahead, the past needs to be acknowledged. SU is coming off the two worst losses of the season. Head coach Adrian Autry is looking for any sort of spark to ignite the team for the next nine games.

Orange players should take to heart what Coach Autry said following the Wake Forest blowout.

“I’d like to apologize to our fans, our university, for that performance,” said Autry. “It’s unacceptable. Won’t be tolerated. Won’t be allowed. Won’t allow it.”

MBB: Results 2024 Feb 6 (RX; HM)

MBB: Results 2024 Feb 6
Here are the final scores for Tuesday, February 6, 2024
(Updated: added ACCDN highlights, ranked losers)

All the road teams won tonight in the ACC...

Clemson 80

#3 N Carolina 76

My son and I agreed: this was a great game! The Tigers got only their second win at UNC in a game they really, really needed. Now they have to make sure it doesn't go to waste as they travel to Syracuse on Saturday before finally returning home to host Miami and NC State. Here are highlights, courtesy of the ACCDN YouTube channel:

Clemson vs. N Carolina Highlights

2023-24 ACC Men's Basketball

Clemson vs. North Carolina Game Highlights | 2023-24 ACC Men's Basketball
From The ACC Digital Network: The Clemson Tigers improved to 2-60 all-time in Chapel Hill with an 80-76 win over the No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels. PJ Hall was outstanding in the game, leading the Tigers with 25 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists in the win. Joe Girard III and Ian Schieffelin were both outstanding as well, with Girard III scoring 21 points on 5-10 shooting from 3-point range and Schieffelin finishing with another double double with 14 points and 11 rebounds for Brad Brownell's club. Armando Bacot led the Heels with 24 points and 13 boards while RJ Davis scored 22 points for Hubert Davis' team. During the game, Davis passed Michael Jordan for the 15th spot in career points at UNC.

Wake Forest 80

Georgia Tech 51

This game was a total blowout. The Deacs led by 26 at halftime and extended it to 29 for the final margin. Wake Forest is red hot, but must make visits to both UVA and Duke in the coming weeks.

Florida State 63

Boston College 62

BC has been the more consistent of these two, but I get the sense FSU has a higher ceiling. That said, I doubt either one makes the NCAA Tournament field unless they somehow win the ACC Tournament.

Ranked Losers

Besides Clemson's upset of UNC, we also had...
#21 BYU lost at Oklahoma, 66-82
#23 Texas Tech lost at #13 Baylor, 73-79
#22 Utah State lost at home to Nevada, 63-77


Composite image, from left to right: the Buffalo skyline, by N. Scott Trimble | strimble@syracusecom; Cheektowaga by AP Photo/Frank Franklin II; downtown Syracuse skyline by Rick Moriarty |; downtown Rochester skyline by Michael Greenlar |; and the state Capitol in Albany by AP Photo/Mike Groll.Composite image

Syracuse named among best places to live in Northeast; 4 other Upstate NY places on list (PS; House)

If you’re looking for a new place to live on the East Coast, Upstate New York is calling.

Five communities in the Empire State have been named among the 25 best places to live in the Northeast by Livability, a website that aims to serve as a “go-to resource” for people looking to find the best places in America to live, work and explore.

The five New York communities on the list are all in Upstate:

The communities made the ranking alongside Bridgeport, Connecticut and Fall River, Massachusetts.

Here’s a look at the Upstate communities on Livability’s list and why each made the ranking:


One day is all it takes to fall in love with the Salt City.

That’s what Livability wrote in its ranking — arguing that a day spent exploring Central New York’s museums and waterfalls is all it takes to convince visitors to put down permanent roots in Syracuse.

Near the heart of Upstate and a short drive from the picturesque Finger Lakes, Syracuse is home to colleges, research companies, and a health care hub that employs many residents.

“Warm, friendly, and eager to drink up everything life offers, this city is home to various concerts, comedy shows, local shops, mouthwatering restaurants and outdoor amenities,” Livability wrote.


The 2024 ranking isn’t the first time Livability has highlighted Cheektowaga, a suburban town east of Buffalo: Last year, the website named Cheektowaga one of the top 100 best places to live in the United States.

Part of Cheektowaga’s pull is its location. The town that over 80,000 people call home is minutes from downtown Buffalo and about 30 minutes from Niagara Falls. It’s also home to Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

But what makes Cheektowaga such a great place to live is its heart — one made up of caring neighbors and a great park system.

“Cheektowaga is built on hardworking, blue-collar roots and offers a classically friendly suburb with affordable homes that make the sweet life accessible to most,” Livability wrote.


For a more than 400-year-old city, Albany is full of growth — home to a blossoming tech scene and an “entrepreneurial spirit”, Livability wrote.

Along with its proximity to Boston and New York City, Albany is home to a beloved tulip festival and a short drive from unforgettable outdoor adventures in the nearby Adirondack Mountains and Hudson Valley. The state’s capital is also home to an airport, colleges and relatively affordable neighborhoods.

“Albany’s mix of affordability, location and recreation make it a unique and fascinating city to call home,” Livability wrote.


The Flower City is no stranger to accolades.

Rochester has previously been named one of the 10 best places to live during winter in the United States. It’s home to award-winning museums, like the Strong National Museum of Play and the George Eastman Museum, and the original Garbage Plate and first Wegmans.

Livability lauded Rochester for being home to big employers, big outdoor recreation opportunities and fun festivals.

“The sense of deep roots and genuine community attract newcomers and inspire those born in the city to remain and raise their own families in the same place,” Livability wrote.

It’s no secret that Buffalo is having a big moment.

Zillow is predicting the City of Good Neighbors will be the hottest housing market in the United States in 2024. It has also been dubbed the No. 1 city in America by Clever Real Estate, the nicest city in America by Reader’s Digest and one of the best places to retire by U.S. News and World Report.

For Livability, Buffalo’s nearness to Canada and Niagara — along with being home to the Buffalo Bills, the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo wings — easily make up for the city’s fierce winter weather.

“The city has a relatively low cost of living compared to other northeastern cities, with affordable housing and lower taxes, making it a very attractive place for newcomers,” Livability wrote.

NY announces six free fishing days for 2024 (PS; Stuckey)

New York has six designated Free Fishing Days for 2024. That means during these days, the state’s fishing license requirement is waived for freshwater fishing.

The free days are spread out throughout the season and include:

  • Feb. 17 and 18 (Presidents Day weekend)
  • June 29-30
  • Sept. 28 (National Hunting and Fishing Day)
  • Nov. 11 (Veterans Day)
The Free Fishing Days program began in 1991 to give people the opportunity to fish at no cost. It encourages people to try a new hobby and potentially buy a New York State fishing license which supports conservation. Year-round licenses for most are $25. Licenses for some seniors and short-term passes cost less.

“The Free Fishing Days program provides a great opportunity for aspiring anglers to try freshwater fishing for the first time or former anglers to reconnect with one of America’s favorite pastimes,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a news release.

Although the requirement for a fishing license is waived on these days, all other fishing regulations remain in effect. For those who would like to try fishing but aren’t sure where to start, the Department of Environmental Conservation has several free training clinics available.

The DEC also has an app called HuntFishNY, which features “The Tackle Box.” Within the app, people can find fishing regulations, boating access and tracking information within a map-based interface. The DEC also has Places to Fish webpages where people can find numerous fishing spots around the state.

There are more than 7,500 lakes and ponds and 70,000 miles of rivers and streams to try freshwater fishing in New York, according to the DEC. Whether people are hoping to catch gamefish such as trout, salmon, bass, or panfish such as sunfish, perch or crappies, they can find it in New York waters.


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