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Orange Crushed
Alexander Wolff
April 14, 2003
The hot-shooting Orangemen of Syracuse held off a late charge by Kansas to win the national title
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April 14, 2003

Orange Crushed

The hot-shooting Orangemen of Syracuse held off a late charge by Kansas to win the national title

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Not that the season passed without its dodgy moment. Credit Boeheim with a deft bit of peacemaking in January, shortly after the return of first-year guard Billy Edelin, who had been suspended for 12 games by the NCAA for playing in an unsanctioned summer league. Edelin feared that McNamara had claimed his minutes. Anthony didn't think McNamara was getting him the ball enough, and he was bugged that the press was making such a big deal over Edelin's arrival. Boeheim spoke with all three individually, then gathered them in his office to bring them together. "After that meeting our roles were clear," says Edelin.

Anthony and McNamara combined for 38 points and nine three-pointers against Kansas, including six three-pointers by McNamara in the first half. "We tried not to double off McNamara," Collison said after the title game, "but when Anthony gets the ball, everyone's got to give help."

"They make a mistake here and there," Boeheim said of his freshmen after they beat Texas, "but these kids are young enough to think they can do anything, and I'm not going to tell them differently."

McNamara will remain an Orangeman for three more years. The only question surrounding Anthony's future, after the NBA-style clear-outs with which he dominated both games last week to win the Most Outstanding Player award, is whether he may now be threatening LeBron James's status as the likely No. 1 pick in the June draft. For all the skills he showcased over the weekend—feathering jumpers, plucking rebounds, finding teammates and, yes, laying Temps-style spin moves on Kansas forward Keith Langford—the lasting image of Anthony may be one that captured his unburdened attitude. Late in the first half he stood in front of the scorer's table, waiting to check in, smiling and waving two towels as the Syracuse lead crested at 18. Coaches are from Earth; players are from Pluto.

As for the Mars-and-Venus Department, there's this to report from Monday night: Before One Shining Moment could be piped through the Superdome's PA. system, Boeheim turned to his wife, said "Let's go home" and tried to lead her into the tunnel. To which Juli replied, "This is my favorite part. We can't go yet." And he stayed.

In the end, even as Carmelo Anthony departs, isn't that the epitaph Jim Boeheim deserves? HE STAYED. Indeed, Syracuse's only unexpected phone call this season will be the call in which Boeheim phones in the score to the fates.

Syracuse 81, Kansas 78. Four seconds, freshly laundered. Ah, New Orleans: Syracuse in April.

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