The Syracuse University, which is in the central part of the state of New York, has a rich and excellent tradition in the sport of basketball. The university has a basketball program called the Syracuse Orange which has produced a dozen players who have also entered the National Basketball Association (NBA) and left their mark there. Since the university has provided NBA with top-tier players throughout the years, we can easily and rightfully so, say that Syracuse University is the nestle of basketball excellence.
There are obviously many interesting facts around NBA and its players, such as the fact that over 60 players from Syracuse University went to play to NBA, which could plausibly classify amongst the NBA facts that you never heard of. But who are some of the most prominent figures that have emerged from Syracuse University and left their mark in NBA? In this article we will have a look at these players and their contribution to basketball throughout the years. Let’s get into it!
- Carmelo Anthony
Who even had doubts that this list would start with anyone else but Carmelo Anthony? One cannot simply talk about Syracuse University and NBA without mentioning the name of one of the absolute standout players who started his career at Orange. When Carmelo was playing for Orange in 2003, the team reached the NCAA Championship. This must have been Carmelo’s golden moment because it was in this championship that he got the attention of the NBA agents with his impressive performance.
In the 2003 NBA Draft, he was listed as the third player in the overall list, and it is in the season of 2003/04 that he started playing for NBA. From that moment on, he won many All-Star selections and became one of the league’s premier scorers who is often regarded amongst the league’s greatest. After playing in NBA for 19 years, on May 2023 he released his retirement statement.
- Derrick Coleman
Another figure that emerged from Syracuse University all the way to NBA is Derrick Coleman. Initially, he played for Syracuse Orange from 1986 to 1990. During his time at Orange, he won many medals such as the Naismith College Player of the Year award during his senior season. He shortly caught the attention of NBA scouts and in the NBA Draft of 1990, he was the first pick out of all the other players. After that, he joined the NBA where his career started, and his performance excelled immediately a year after when he was selected as the NBA Rookie of the Year.
Coleman played for the NBA until 2005 and during this time he was part of various teams such as the New Jersey Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Charlotte Hornets, and Detroit Pistons. However, it should be noted that Coleman suffered many injuries during his career, which in one way or another impeded his performance. Nevertheless, his impact was significant, and he is even now regarded as one of the top NBA players of all time.
- Rony Seikaly
The third player on this list comes Rony Seikaly, another legend who played in Syracuse’s Orange for three seasons: from 1984 to 1987. His presence at Syracuse was immediately felt from the time he joined as he was particularly known for three things; his height which was 6’11’’, his ability to block shots and the position as a defendant. This performance of course couldn’t go unnoticed, as he got the 9th pick position in the NBA Draft of the year 1988. The importance of this Draft lies in the fact that it was the first draft of Miami Heat, a club where Seikaly spent most of his career in.
Seikaly played for NBA for 11 years, from 1988 to 1999. During this time, he was highly active and played head-to-head with some of the most prominent figures of NBA. It could be said that the combination of his strength and his size is what granted him the success during his career. In addition to that, Seikaly was also known for his durability as he played in over 700 NBA games during the time he was there.
The Syracuse University basketball program has proven to be one of the most successful basketball programs because of the talent it has brought the sport itself. In this article we covered three of the main players who went to NBA from Syracuse, from the skilled scorer Carmelo Anthony, the flexible Derrick Coleman, or the tough Rony Seikaly, we saw that these players have left a lasting impression on the NBA. Their abilities, successes, and contributions to the game have cemented their standing in the annals of basketball. However, basketball talent continues to be developed at Syracuse and with the latest news of Brenden Straughn named assistant coach, future Orange players are expected to leave their impact on the NBA in the years to come as well.