It took me a few days but I finally watched the exhibition game between the Orange and the Golden Bears. Not the California Golden Bears but the Kutztown University Golden Bears. Don't scoff. According to their website their football team went 9-0 and is the "BEST EVER!" So I'm sure their basketball team couldn't be all that bad. Alright, they're no Le Moyne. Syracuse crushed them 96-60. But before I get into the tiny bit of analysis this game warrants, I have to give some props to the fans. More specifically the students. The Dome had just over 7,000 in attendance, a far cry from 33,633 from last year's Villanova game but while the general stands were spotty, the student section was packed and loud. In fact, with about 6 minutes to go and the Orange up by about 30, the students were still yelling "airball" to a guard who had missed everything the possession before and the fans were screaming "ohhhhhhh!" when everyone else touched it. That's some strong work for an exhibition game. Now if only those fans came out for football.
The freshmen were the story of this game. Boeheim played his young guys a lot and we finally got to see this highly-touted recruiting class.
Fab Melo - Melo, a McDonald's All-American is the prize of this class and is going to contribute right away. My initial impression was how is this guy a freshman? He's 7 feet and over 250 lbs. He's a little slow but fairly nimble for his size and has some moves. He demonstrated his versatility in the first half when he stole the ball and went the length of the court for the jam. It wasn't the prettiest play but still impressive for his size. When Boeheim was asked about the play he said, "I just didn't want him to get hurt. Try not to fall down out there." High praise...
Dion Waiters - This guy would fit in perfectly at Pitt but I'm sure glad he decided to attend Syracuse. He's the prototypical Pitt guard - strong, tenacious on defense and can get to the rim.
C.J. Fair - He's supposed to be the less polished of the new guards but he looked really strong. He went 5 for 7 and equaled Kris Joseph with 14 points to lead the Orange. He's got a really quick first step and showed his athleticism on a putback dunk.
Baye Moussa Keita - Keita probably isn't going to play much this season but he seems like a capable backup if Melo gets in foul trouble. He also makes softens the loss of DaShonte Riley. Keita was a stat stuffer with 8 points, 6 rebounds and 4 blocks.