2002–03 Syracuse Orangemen basketball team
|2002–03 Syracuse Orangemen men's basketball|
NCAA National Champions
Big East Regular Season Co-Champions
National Championship vs. Kansas, W, 81–78
|Conference||Big East Conference (1979–2013)|
|2002–03 record||30–5 (13–3 Big East)|
|Head coach||Jim Boeheim|
|Assistant coach||Bernie Fine|
|Assistant coach||Mike Hopkins|
|Assistant coach||Troy Weaver|
|Home arena||Carrier Dome|
|2002–03 Big East men's basketball standings|
|#15 Notre Dame||10||–||6||.625||24||–||10||.706|
|† 2003 Big East Tournament winner
As of March 31, 2003; Rankings from Coaches' Poll
*Did not qualify for 2003 Big East Tournament
The 2002–03 Syracuse Orangemen basketball team represented Syracuse University in NCAA men's basketball competition in the 2002–03 Division I season. (At that time, "Orangemen" was exclusively used to refer to Syracuse men's teams; women's teams were known as "Orangewomen".) The Head Coach was Jim Boeheim, serving for his 27th year. The team played its home games at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York. The team finished with a 30–5 (13–3) record, while capturing its first modern-era NCAA Championship.
The team had just one senior, guard Kueth Duany. He was joined in the starting lineup by forwards Hakim Warrick (sophomore), Carmelo Anthony (freshman), center Craig Forth (sophomore), and guard Gerry McNamara (freshman). Other key contributors included guards Josh Pace (sophomore) and Billy Edelin (freshman), and center Jeremy McNeil (junior).
Things did not start well for Syracuse. Guards DeShaun Williams and James Thues both left the team. Williams transferred to Iona while Thues left for Detroit. Freshman point guard Billy Edelin was suspended for 12 games for participating in a non-sanctioned basketball league. Syracuse then started its season with a loss against Memphis, despite Carmelo Anthony's 27 points, a then-high for a Syracuse freshman debut.
But things turned around, as Syracuse went 13–3 in the Big East, with several memorable wins. McNamara would establish himself as a clutch player, nailing a game-winning 3-pointer as then-No. 17 Syracuse notched an 82–80 win over then-No. 10 Notre Dame in February. In an upset of then-No. 24 Syracuse over then-No. 2 Pittsburgh, McNeil, a career 49.1% free throw shooter, hit two key free throws, and added a game-winning tip in a 67–65 upset.
The Orangemen would play five Big 12 teams throughout the year, including games against Missouri in the regular season, and against Oklahoma (Elite Eight), Oklahoma State (second round), Texas (National Semifinal) and then Kansas (National Championship game).
In the championship game against Kansas, with Syracuse leading by three with under 15 seconds left, Warrick missed two free throws that would've sealed the game with Syracuse hanging on to a three-point lead, 81–78. With 1.5 seconds left and the score still the same, Kansas' Michael Lee was open on the baseline for a potential game-tying 3-pointer. But Warrick used his long arms to block Lee's attempt and Syracuse captured its first ever national championship.
|Hakim Warrick||1||F||6–9||219||Sophomore||Philadelphia, PA||14.8||1.6||8.5|
|Gerry McNamara||3||G||6–2||182||Freshman||Scranton, PA||13.3||4.4||2.3|
|Josh Pace||5||G/F||6–5||190||Sophomore||Griffin, GA||4.3||1.9||2.7|
|Kueth Duany||13||G/F||6–6||190||Senior||Sudan/Bloomington, IN||11.0||2.0||3.7|
|Billy Edelin||14||G||6–4||195||Freshman||Silver Spring, MD||9.0||2.5||3.4|
|Carmelo Anthony||15||F||6–8||230||Freshman||Baltimore, MD||22.2||2.2||10.0|
|Matt Gorman||24||F/C||6–9||235||Freshman||Watertown, NY||2.3||0.1||2.1|
|Jeremy McNeil||34||C||6–8||257||Junior||San Antonio, TX||3.3||0.2||4.2|
|Craig Forth||51||C||7-1||255||Sophomore||Albany, NY||3.8||0.9||3.3|
- Williams to leave Orangemen – News
- Thues transfers to Detroit Mercy – Sports
- Memphis Holds Off Syracuse, 70–63
- The Daily Orange
- USATODAY.com – Syracuse blocks Pittsburgh from first coronation at No. 1
- NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball – Missouri vs. Syracuse
- Fresh-squeezed orangeman: Carmelo Anthony carries Syracuse to its first NCAA championship and proves to have the juiciest game of any college freshman—ever | Sporting News, Th...
- The Daily Orange
- ESPN.com – ESPN 25 – 60: Smart's jumper wins NCAA title for Indiana