Pleased to be joined now by one of the legends of Syracuse basketball, John Wallace.
John is, of course, a former forward for Syracuse, a dominant big men from back in the nineties.
And now you can catch them streaming power forward every Tuesday at 11 a.
Eastern on SportsCastr, go to SportsCastr dot com.
That's SportsCastr with no e slash.
You can catch each episode on Spotify and Apple podcast every Wednesday morning.
John Pleasure to be joined by you, dispersed before we get into everything.
How are you, your family and everyone in your life doing during these times? Everyone's good, Tyler, you know, as good as you could be during these times, Um, obviously the the worst times of our life in terms of what's going on in the world.
And hopefully, you know, everyone's staying safe and healthy.
And, uh, you know everyone's going to get through this, you know, with some patients with some patients and, uh, some resiliency and and And that and that indomitable will that you know, we that we all have Well, we'll get into your Syracuse career, of course, but it's not everyday.
Tala and I can relate to a Syracuse legend, and your fellow podcaster now is, Tai said.
How's how's the podcast been going so far? Oh, man with on SportsCastr has been great.
Um, you know, I've done some stuff with them in the past.
So Nick and Andrew and those guys are awesome or red SportsCastr Andi.
I'm looking forward to doing more stuff for them in the future.
Just started the podcast power forward.
It's going well, I'm getting some great feedback on and I got the easy parks.
I just come. I just show up and talk.
Um, Nick and one of my guys, Oliver, who's, uh, senior at Syracuse.
He's doing all the behind the scenes work and all that.
So shout out to them for all the leg work that they've done.
So of all the guests that not only you've already had on and I've seen a couple of them already, but what about some of the future guests you've got lined up? What's that line up looking like for you? We got Rob Konrad coming on with Mike Waters.
Got Julie Boeheim coming on.
We got a couple other Syracuse.
Um, you know Dr Michael Meyer at some point How fat Inner.
Just going into different, um, fields and spectrums.
And, um, in terms of construction.
Mike Myers, a dentist.
I'm have all walks of life.
Come on, try to talk to you.
Share things in tow.
What they do their field, how they do it.
Just in case you wanna.
If if you're interested in going that way, they can lead you.
And as you guys know, being Syracuse, people with Syracuse people we love to help other Syracuse.
Um, fellow alum.
So, um, that's what we're gonna be trying to do.
Open up our Syracuse network and trying to just help each other.
I listen to the Lawrence modem one and it was awesome.
So everyone go check that out.
But let's get into your your Syracuse career a little bit.
You're growing up in Rochester High School, kid, and you start getting recruited by Jim Boeheim.
What? What was the first moment that you met Jim Boeheim? Like what was incredible, man, it was that summer camp.
I remember my first letter I got from him my sop****re year.
Then I went to the summer basketball camp that Syracuse camp that summer and it was from that moment.
I knew I wanted to go there.
I've I've always loved Syracuse.
I will always love Syracuse, and I'm happy with my decision 100%.
And I have no regrets.
When I look back on it, I would do it 1000 times over.
I wouldn't change one thing, not one iota.
Besides, possibly, you know, I would change winning the national championship.
That's the only thing I would change.
But other than that, I wouldn't change one thing.
Man, I loved every second at Syracuse.
I'm so happy with my decision and it's still paying.
You know, I was paying it forward.
Now, you know, in terms of I'm doing work up at Syracuse, have a licensing deal selling my jersey up there, Um, shout out Thio Thio Kelly of up in Syracuse, whose, uh, keeping everyone safe for the sanitizing products.
My boy, my colleague in up there take care about the construction and everything else up there.
You know, Syracuse, Just such a tight knit community.
Um, you know that that we are pulled for each other.
We all look out for each other, so I just wanna make sure I shout out to people.
But behind the scenes been helping me.
Rachel Duffy Shout out to Rachel Dolphins on part of the Syracuse like seen department who kind of I did the deal with for my life seen Dale.
But, man, I'm as I'm as blessed as you could be during these times.
I have no complaints, just just hoping that we were all able to stay safe and healthy attorneys.
Uh, incredibly hard time.
So as a Rochester kid was Syracuse and maybe for you and some of your teammates.
Is that a dream school for you guys? Of course, man.
I grew up watching Syracuse love the Syracuse Georgetown battles.
Um, I never missed one Syracuse Georgetown game.
I vividly remember my favorite Syracuse Georgetown game.
The watch was Billy Owens hitting the free throws with no time on the clock and went in and over time.
And that was just incredible.
Uh, so I love I've always loved Syracuse.
I've always hated Georgetown, so I'm a true cues guy.
You missed the Georgetown rivalry at all.
Now that I mean, I know that they still play.
It's not the same.
Yeah, it's just not the same, you know.
So, yeah, I miss the really rivalry that we did have.
It was it was true.
The coaches had, ah, Adam a real disdain, but woven in that this stain was respect, just like, you know, the players we have.
We had through this thing for those players, but you know, you have to respect them too.
Because if you don't respect your opponent, then uh, then they'll beat you.
So, um, you know, we love those games, Miss Miss the rial robberies.
You know, as as do you know other, you know, other robberies that used to be like, really intense and almost a fight breaking out every possession.
Alright, this might make your blood boil a little bit.
So I'm with you.
I don't think the rivalry is nearly what it used to be.
In fact, I'm on the precipice of calling it a dead rivalry.
But I don't know if you saw this, because it has kind of gotten swept under the rug a little bit, but I believe when Tyus Battle was a freshman at Syracuse, he posted a picture of Jake and Mosley, who was a point guard at Georgetown at the time and just said, Everyone, go follow my bro like Jake and Mosley, one of the top point guards in the country and place for Georgetown.
Is that something that would ever happen when you guys were playing in the Syracuse Georgetown rivalry? I mean, the way we the way we showed love was the first couple of times Allen Iverson came to the whole.
We just elbowed him a couple times and knocked him on the floor politely.
That's the real.
That's the way you show Georgetown some love as it Syracuse guy.
You're not telling people to follow him and trying to up his social media presence count, whatever.
I know that, you know, But you know that they're in a different era.
The players today, they're wired different, and you've got to respect.
You know, the way they are.
But during my time, that would never happen.
We just weren't like that.
We didn't We didn't really like you enough to I want you thio up your social media account.
You know, that didn't exist when we when we were around.
But no, that would never happen, man.
And I had no idea about that because I'm not on social media, really? So when I had no idea that that even happened, he deleted it shortly after and said he got hat act.
So So That's how that went some of the former players when they talk about the Georgetown Syracuse rivalry, it seems like they even admit that Coach Boeheim was just in a different mindset in those games.
And you talked about how there was that disdain but respect, which is such an awesome balance, tohave in basketball games in a rivalry.
But did you notice when you were playing for Boeheim that, like on Georgetown days, he was just wired a little differently or was talking you guys a little bit differently? Well, you wanna win every game, right? Coach came in honestly, trying to win every game, but the Georgetown when I played the rivalry was so really and so intense.
Um, you know, we didn't like John, you know, rest in peace Jon Thompson and or his team at the time.
And you know Coach Boeheim and didn't like him.
They didn't like us, and it was like a you know that that war type mindset you're getting ready to go to war.
And you definitely wanted to be Georgetown 100%.
So, yeah, it was.
The stakes were a little higher, you know, in terms of what we wanted to accomplish.
So there's a little bit more attention to detail.
Probably a little bit more.
Ah, laser focus.
Because you want to make sure you came out with that victory.
You know, whenever you play Georgetown, who's the one dude on Georgetown? During your four years, it was like I had no cost.
Want to lose a battle in the paint toe? That guy I dominated Georgetown for four years.
E mean, uh, fellow Harrington and those guys I mean, Jerome Williams honestly was good, you know? But he only played two years, so he's only there my junior year.
My soft, uh, senior.
So my freshman sop****re year was just hotel a Harrington and there are other big guy just weren't like non existent.
Um, you know, so they they weren't as formidable.
Up up front, they were good, you know, in the backcourt.
And then they got a I.
So they changed their whole trajectory.
But a sfar as their front court on that was.
You know, that was that.
I gave it to him every single time.
What was it like, Plan against AI? Honestly, man, he was so fast and so quick.
I mean, you really can't Yeah, Describe it, z unfathomable how fast and how quick he moves around the court when you thought you could trap him and he's already by you.
He was electrifying, seriously, and one of the most athletic players ever playing in college and in n B a.
I mean, he was only like 5 11.
Guy was dunking on big guys Duncan off the vertical, amusing, incredible, incredibly insane athlete.
And I'm just happy that he was able to overcome everything and still make it to the end game.
That's how good he you know, most guys in this situation, if that happens to you during your life, you don't really recover, and you definitely don't recover and go to college and go to the NBA after that.
So it's a It's a true testament to his will and his desire and his intestinal fortitude as a man and, you know, But when it when it came to the to the basketball court, we wanted to test every every every accolade.
I just gave him every, you know, we tested that every single possession, you know? And you know, true to himself, he always got up.
We knocked him down, but he always got up.
You know, he's a tough, tough kid, tough kids.
Is he the best guy that you went against during your time? Like maybe there are other guys who put up at her stats went up, but in terms of pure basketball town, Was he the best that you went up against that Syracuse? Uh, yeah.
I mean, it's tough, though, because Ray Allen and Kerry Kittles they're both very good in college, especially Kerry Kittles, because he, Carrie kiddos, were We were all the same year Carry kills myself.
Hey, I came in, you know, later and then Ray Allen is, ah, year after us.
So in terms of just who hit their sailing first or who it was Carrie kiddos, he's Big East.
Played a year, like as a sop****re.
Uh, you know, you put up great numbers, you know? So definitely carry kiddos, um was was really good.
And then he had the knee injury and all that But it's hard to argue against Allen Iverson when you look at what he's able to do and bring to the table in college and change.
Um George, the Georgetown program around singlehandedly, almost so.
I you know Kerry Kittles.
It was really good, but I have to give denied Thio Allen Iverson.
So we'll get into that 1996 season, obviously.
But before that, there was some talks about you may be going to the MBA.
How close were you to not returning to Syracuse for that? That long run and Final Four run? Oh, man, I was really I was really you know, 90% committed Thio entering the draft.
And then as I started climbing up the draft boards, I had a You know, I had this revelation that basically, if I could move up the draft boards that quick from all these individual workouts, if I gave myself another year, uh, home, my skills work on my game, I could be possibly top five.
So that led to me, you know, wanting, you know, coming back toe to college.
And I'm so happy I did that.
That's what um, cemented my legacy up at Syracuse because if I would have left after my own junior year, I've just been another good Syracuse player.
But coming back, my senior, you know, it put me amongst the pantheon of the pantheon of the greats of Syracuse.
So, um, you know, Ah, I wanted to enter the draft when I'm I'm so happy.
I I ended up changing my mind and coming back to school.
Would you recommend that for other players? I'm sure you interact with a number of other players, but and then, of course, there's Syracuse players that you talk to.
But it's just such a different age now, where we see these one and done type of guys, and we don't always see the guy who gets to his junior year and has that decision and then goes to a senior year.
But what would you recommend? Thio the guys in this day and age? Because it seems like there's so much value in youth.
But at the same time, we do see guys who blossom in tow something special between their freshman and sop****re year or the sop****re and junior year.
Well, each individual is different, right? So Carmelo obviously was ready to go after his freshman year.
There is questioning whether, um, you know, Dante Green and other guys I went.
I think that Tyler and is one is interesting because I don't think he could have went any higher the kind of season he had.
He played so well, I think he I think he chose the right time to go.
You know, even though he didn't have a long NB career, he's still playing pro ball.
Dante Green one.
You know, maybe if you did say he could have developed a little bit more.
But you know, who knows? It's all about your temperament and what's what's what's inside you and what are you really, really built for the MBA, and it's all about your work.
I think there is 90% mental.
You gotta be willing and ready to get up every single day and get after it three times a day.
Given all you got every single workout and that's just sustained an MBA once you're there, you know? No adages is.
It is easy to make the MBA if you know honestly, once you get to like, but it's hard to stay in the NBA and the hardest thing to do is get back in once you're out of the MBA.
I did all three of those things, so I know.
And it takes a tremendous amount of dedication and family support to help you out and all that good stuff.
You gotta be willing to work every single day, put on your hard hat and just goto work every single day.
Alright? So that Georgetown game, You know, we gotta ask you about that.
The Georgia game.
Excuse May in the Sweet 16.
What? What sticks out when you look back on that game now, in 1996 and And think about the memories from that game, man.
Uh, what was six almost in that game? Honestly, is me subbing myself back in the game, You know, because we're they went on the run when I caught my when I when I got my fourth file and just to sit on the bench and watch our season kind of dwindled away.
Was was heart wrenching.
I just couldn't stand it anymore.
So I checked myself back in.
I just I promised myself I wasn't gonna even come close to a file because at that point, you gotta realize you're worth more than two points or anything else.
So anything even questionable, you gotta just back up and let him have it.
Andi, everything worked out.
I mean, I've that's that's that game is probably the game I get asked about more than any other game because obviously, the way it ended and come back and all that the dramatic finish.
But that that game, you know, that put us in the sweet 16, I think.
Or elite eight? Yeah, to put us in the elite eight.
Because, honestly, we thought we were gonna be playing Perdue.
Perdue lost to Georgia.
Georgia upset for do so.
We were kind of prepared for Purdue on then the Georgia game happening.
You know, they had Shannon Anderson.
Carlos Strong. Couple other throughout belt.
That's some good players.
Not just I just remember, because in high school we played against those guys, Um, we we own them in high school, so we own them in college, and the couple of times you ran across from the MBA, we own them in the NBA.
So, you know, uh oh, in Georgia, man, you know, and, uh, I'm happy that every time I see those guys are run into people in Georgia.
There are they still get upset and I just stick the knife even deeper, twisted around a little bit.
Um, you know, something interesting when I was looking back at your career is I want to rewind to the I guess, the summer before that season, because when I look at your three point numbers, you shot a handful of those first two years.
I think you shot like three in your first two years combined.
Then you shoot a little bit.
Maura's a junior, but then is a senior.
You're shooting 40% from three.
When did it kind of click in your brain that you wanted to? Or maybe it was a coach that told you or push you a certain way? But when did that transformation not necessarily into like a stretch for, but as a guy who could hit threes? When did that sort of settle into your mind? Well, I could always shoot right.
I mean, I was always a good shooter, because that's like one thing I've always worked on, you know, incessantly is my shooting.
So shooting, shooting was anything is my freshman and sop****re year in June years.
My team didn't need my shooting.
You know, Lawrence Moten, Agent Arch.
So I kind of feel the more of an inside role.
That's what was needed for us to win and help us to win my senior year.
I needed to do a lot more.
Everything's on my shoulders.
So that meant shooting more threes.
That meant scoring more.
That meant being more, you know, taking them or of ah ah, scoring, loading at the time.
Like you said, I was one of the first guys to be a true like stretch stretch for shooting the three hand on the ball, bring it up all that stuff and that that Coach Boeheim was able to help me nurture that part of my game.
And like you said, by the time I was a senior, like you said, I shot 47% from three, and it wasn't like I shot like, 10 of them.
You know, e like 90 of that year, You know what I mean? So are, you know, coach Coach really helped me, you know, get to the point where I had the confidence Thio shoot that three and shoot it at any given moment.
Alright, I gotta ask you one more Georgia question.
I know you talk about this all the time, probably, but the final shot.
We need a break down of that.
And was there ever a moment in your mind that you thought coach might call a time out there or you just so walked in? Just going to the basket.
No coach always stressed to us in the in those moments that if we can get the ball in our best player's hand before the defense gonna have a chance to set up in all that, then where we have the advantage, that's what happened.
You know that Z in a nutshell, that's exactly what happened.
I got the ball and let me trust me toe to go down and take the shot.
And I pulled up for for the three, which my foot was on the line.
But I pulled up for the three because just in case I didn't miss it, we had a chance to grab the rebound and possibly put it back in.
So that's why I shot the three.
Instead of trying to get all the way to the basket.
Um, when you and your teammates get back together and you and you reminisce on that game, what's the one little story that people don't know a lot about from that game that always gets brought up with you guys? That for for a second there it seemed like Todd Bergen was in a funk, and then they didn't realize he had to take the ball out because he was just like, standing around.
I'm yelling, Get the ball here we have getting to me.
He was like, E don't know.
It's just like this matrix moment, just like I don't know what's going on And then But then he finally came to.
He got me the ball, but that's that's we talked about that all the time.
That's funny, man.
He was, like, sort of walking around the back of the bands like, What are you doing? Grabbed the ball? Yeah, and maybe then you think Coach might his whole philosophy of we got to get it to you before the defense can get set up like you're kind of wasting time at that point.
But all right, so you you guys make it to the Final Four.
Um, well, we gotta ask about the accused is in the House celebration afterwards.
What, What was like, the origin of that? And when was the first time that you guys, as a team, started singing that? Well, I started it in Arizona when we beat Arizona, um, at their place, and snap their 55 game, non conference home game winning streak because everyone, you know, they were like top five or something like that.
No one gave us a chance to win that game, and right after the game, I was my guy.
Brubaker was interviewing me, and I've been, you know, kind of singing that song and and putting the accused part in it for a while already.
So when he interviewed me, I just said, because when accused in the House of my God and it just kind of took off from there, man, for really just literally started from that video I did after the Arizona game.
So when you're walking around campus, are you seeing some people wearing shirts that say, like the queues is in the house and stuff like that? Oh, man, it was Yeah, it was the final four was one of the most surreal fan experience type moments in my life.
You know, the whole getting back to campus.
How many people were, you know, being welcomed at the airport by 10,000 people, another 5000 people along the highway that you're driving back, another 5000 people waiting for you to get off the bus and Manley Fieldhouse and another 10,000 people down at Marshall Street ready to party? And I made sure everyone that night went out the party, even those Irish Simmons who never went out.
I drug everyone down the march because you had to embrace and enjoy this.
This is a once in a lifetime experience when I make sure everyone went down there and we all had a great time.
We kept the spot open till five in the morning, shouted My boy John.
She and Harry's.
We ran Harry's till about five something in the morning, pouring shots and everything else, man.
Just an incredible, incredible time.
I was gonna ask, What's the route? What's the route of stops along the party route? Well, the party route, literally like it was like a was like a rock and roll concert You had to get, like, get passed through the crowd.
Like like it was I'm telling you was crazy, man.
It was pure pandemonium.
It was It was It was craziest.
I've never seen anything like that.
Um, since no, it was It was just And all my friends who were at school basically said after we won that game, thousands of people just ran the Marshall Street and just started, you know? Then 1000 ran from the city.
So you had you had the whole city and the campus combining.
So it was It was It was It was insane.
Yeah, that's awesome.
So you get to the national title game and you joked earlier, if you could change, one thing would be that game.
Do you ever go back and and watch that game against Kentucky? And it's only I've never watched that game.
I've never watched.
I have no desire to ever watched that game.
Yeah, does it ever.
You think back like I wish I did something different there.
You guys know the only thing The only thing different that could have happened.
I told the Reps the reps the reps jerk me.
There were three questions or calls that game on, but but on my fifth file and Lazarus sins, that's probably the only time we weren't on the same page.
But I was asking for him to throw the live.
If he throws a live right there, I dunk the ball, we're down one.
And where we got the momentum.
Yeah, I could see it in their eyes.
But instead of throwing the live, he threw a chest fats that got deflected and trying to retreat the loose balls when they called the the Question of Fifth Found.
So yeah, that hurt, man, I'm going to get my father out to when you look back at, and you kind of brought it up when you're coming back from the airport and stuff like that and all all the love of Syracuse fans showed you, um, it's different being in Syracuse versus Okay, maybe you're at a Miami or Boston College where it's a big city.
You're just a small part of the pie there.
But in Syracuse, Syracuse basketball, you know, is everything there just the love that the spans showed you? How can you kind of summarize that when you're getting off the plane or when you're warming up in the Final Four and stuff like that.
Well, Syracuse fans know how I feel about Syracuse fans and how much I love them, and I've always tried to reciprocate the love that they've given me for the last 30 years or so.
I've always tried to reciprocate that, I mean, the most loyal fan based in existence.
They've never Buddha playoff, Syracuse player.
They they're always super supportive.
The coach Boeheim is able to raise MAWR charitable funds.
Then most big, all those Blue Blood University's coach behind Out earns them in terms of charitable contributions and donations almost every year.
What he's built up there is second to none in the country in terms of what he's given back in the philanthropically ways of himself and his wife, Julie.
They've They've been a tremendous, tremendous asset to the Syracuse community as a whole and the and the Syracuse basketball family, and we're all grateful and thankful for him.
Being up there for was 45th season coming up Man Z.
45 years, you know on DWI.
Love him for that.
What's it like being in a coach Boeheim practice.
And how does that compare Thio Other practices that you've been involved with with other coaches? Well, I'll tell you what the Coach Boeheim that I practice for the coach behind today come.
It's night and day.
Yeah, I think I think Julie made him much more mild.
Calm them down some, um, you know, he he was he used to get after it and practice with us sometimes.
Um, but for the most part, he's phlegmatic by nature, right? You know, So but, you know, he definitely would get after it.
You know, you know, some some guys definitely felt the wrath.
Sometimes I hardly, you know, ever felt that, but, you know, going to the practice now, he seems to be, like, just chilling, calm, relaxed, you know? And it's good to see, man, you know, maybe it's because he's a little older, too.
But definitely, um, I think Julian No, he's got more kids now, and he just just he's more common relaxing.
He's got that national championship, you know that? That that that that heals a lot of hills.
What's Ah, What was a moment where he just absolutely laid into you in practice.
Um, honestly, we never really had any, like, bad situations because, you know, I think my freshman year we got into it one time, and he understood basically, right then and there, how much I wanna win.
And we never really got had a situation after that.
You know, I got into it more of a burning.
You know, Bernie, Bernie was responsible for the big man.
And since I was a big man slash forward, sometimes I was with Bernie.
Sometimes I'd be with Wayne Morgan and the times I was were Bernie, they you know, we it was very contentious for for a little while there.
And But, like I told you guys before we started the show, I apologize to Bernie and, you know, because everything he was trying to teach me and show me it was only to help me, and I needed it.
And I realized that once I got to the MBA, so I did.
I definitely did apologize to him and thank him for everything, because he you know, he got to a point where he came up to me one day crying and, uh, Manley Fieldhouse.
And, you know, he's basically saying Because, you know, Coach Boeheim is, you know, getting on him a little bit to our guest. Maybe.
And, uh, basically, Bernie, like, you know, either we got to get a longer I gotta or he's gonna If I had to find another job and, uh, you know, it was you know, I didn't know it was I didn't know what they got to that point.
I'm I'm 19 years old.
I don't You know, I'm just, like living, you know, in college, living my life, not realizing that it's affecting him, that much are are contentious relationship.
And there was odd because actually, off the court, we were cool.
You know? Im his kids love me.
David, Sheila, Sarah, Sarah.
They used to call me, like, every day.
Son had my name shaved in his head for about a year, you know? So his kids love me, so it's like it was this weird dichotomy where on the court, when we were in practice, we like we were at each other's throats.
But off the court, I was hanging out with his kids and at his house all the time, because, you know, his kids loved me, you know? And so but eventually we were able to ah, amend everything, and, um and everything has been beautified.
Talked him all the time.
Stay in touch to this day.
Why do you think it was contentious? Was he just like a stickler for the little? I was young and dumb, and I was 19, and I thought I knew everything.
You know how that is, man, Um you know, when you're not receptive toe thio, coaching at first is gonna be contentious.
You know, I was I was, um you know, because at the time I was playing a lot, I was playing good, Uh, and all he was saying was you could actually playing better.
You know what I mean? That's literally all he was saying.
He's like, Yeah, I know you're going.
I know you're putting up numbers.
I know you this, that what he's like This is what you could be doing if you started doing this.
I'm just like, yeah, Bernie.
So, um, that's that's all it was.
He really just wanted.
He knew he wanted me to maximize my potential.
I want one more big old Big East question I got for you here because Tim and I mean the only way that we really experienced the old Big East is through, like the 30 for 30 that came out or YouTube clips and all that stuff.
But you always need Thio kind of take these things in with context to just what were those nights like? And you knew every single day it was going to be a dogfight out there.
What is that night like? And what? How does that weigh on you mentally knowing, like all right, Wednesday night, I'm doing this Saturday afternoon, back at it again.
It's just every single night.
It felt like a boxing match. Tyler.
It was fun because just like if you want to use the ****ogy of a boxing match when you're when you're the heavyweight champion, you're knocking everyone out.
It's fun, you know.
So in our mind, we were always the heavyweight champ, you know, we were perennially good, so it wasn't It wasn't anything for us to be like we weren't worried.
Like the game Wednesday, the game Saturday.
We were looking forward to it because there's another chance for us, toe, Knock someone out, you know, win a game Every game we went until we thought we were gonna win.
That's the way we were wired.
It was It was It was a blessing, man. It was.
It was no one of the things that you're you're fortunate to be in a position of of, of being able Thio compete a couple of times a week against the best players in the country.
When I was in college, the Big East was hands down.
The best conference in basketball wasn't even close.
My first team my senior year with Alan Iverson, Ray Allen, Kerry Kittles, myself and I think Danya Abrams and that five would've beat any five in the country, I'm telling you.
And when they even been closed, no matter what conference.
So every night you got a chance, toe really go against MBA type competition.
You know, every single night there was MBA type competition, you know, on Northern Dame teams, Providence teams, C hall, there was there was n b A guys on every level on every team in the Big East. And it was fun.
And if something you look forward to Big Monday and all that, man, we look, we live for big Monday you live to be to play your game on Big Mondays.
What was your reaction when they announced they were switching to the A C.
C? And so, just like, you know, Coach Boeheim hated it.
We all hated it.
It's so And they should possibly revisit putting their original Big East back together because what they're calling in Big East now it just It's not right.
It's almost an insult to the really Big East you got creating in their there in Nebraska.
I'm not. Yeah, we're creating.
I mean, could you imagine, have to go to Nebraska, you know, from Syracuse for for a conference game.
That just makes no sense.
Now we're gonna go fire.
We didn't mind going to Miami.
Well, Miami is in the biggest.
You don't mind? You don't mind that trip? You know what I mean? Born in Nebraska now I'm good.
I don't need to see any more corn fields or or any other wheat fields or anything like that.
So I hope they would consider ah, reconfiguring the Big East of the old way.
It Waas and getting back Thio the roots of the rial, the teams that were their original Big East.
I don't know if the finances will ever work out for it.
Eventually, get back. Thio.
But I've always said I think Tim is in agreement with me, too.
There needs to be some sort of pre season celebration of, like, pre season tournament that is a celebration of the old biggies you get Syracuse Georgetown.
Saint John's you Can you just get the band back together for a priest? You what? You exactly What's holding and why aren't we're seeing more people from the old Big East Be a little more vocal about getting something like that back together.
Maybe you guys gotta, uh, you know, trying to promote that.
Well, I think your voice is going away a little heavier than ours.
Well, no, but I mean, it's your idea.
I don't want to steal your idea.
You know what I mean? We'll give you a little cut of it works out.
You could be the face of it.
We'll be the masterminds, but you've got to be the face of it That but that's honestly a really great idea, man.
A preseason old Big East tournament.
That would be awesome.
I think it was set out the garden a millisecond.
That was That was the awesome.
Do you think Jim Boeheim a guy who he gets? He gets a lot of flak for not scheduling a tougher nonconference.
Do you think he would be down for something like that? Absolutely.
But you gotta remember, coach behind, you know, way played a lot of big teams.
You know, the Kansas and the, you know, Arizona's when I was there, like in the in the nonconference games, you know, home and home.
It is not about him wanting Thio play weak teams is actually giving those weak teams or, you know, mid mid majors for, you know, I don't want to call them weak, Um, given the mid majors a chance and it's a nice paycheck.
Forum has given them a chance to be on a big stage at Syracuse, so it's a good opportunity for them.
Plus, we didn't need, you know, a plethora of not a tough nonconference games.
Our conference was tough enough.
We we we had enough good games within our conference that we can give the corn, Els and the co Gates of the world the game at Syracuse for their fans, for their you know, whatever for recognition, all that stuff.
So I think he was able to help the smaller programs by giving them those games because we didn't need to fill our whole nonconference schedule with, um, the tougher, tougher teams because we had the toughest teams in our conference every year.
When you watch juice.
Now, what do you make of where the programs at and just I'm sure you watch a lot of the games and you see the guys that are on the team now what what do you make of where everything is that now that they are in the A C C? Well, it's Ah, the A C C starts, starts and stops with Duke and North Carolina, right? So that's it.
And the Big East started and stopped with Georgetown Syracuse.
Then Connecticut came on late, so we just gotta get to the point.
We're able to be added to that Frey of the North Carolina Duke in terms of of of recognition and you know, and you've got to give them the credit like over the years a c in a, C C.
Duke, North Carolina have been formidable and dominant for years.
I mean, it's a long range.
So for for Syracuse toe Thio, get that kind of recognition we're gonna You know, we haven't been there that long yet, but we gotta win the A C C cup times.
You know, do some do some things like they've they've done thio to get the same kind of recognition that that North Carolina and do.
Because when you think of a C.
C, you immediately think of North Carolina and do you know, and we wanna get it to the point where you think of Syracuse.
Also, when you look at the ever since they joined the A C.
Who's a guy that you watch Plant Syracuse and the A C C version of Syracuse that would have held up back in your day.
So no disrespect.
You know, different areas, different players, you know, you change your game or whatever, Right? So But from the a, C c Q Skies ties battle, you know he was tough, man.
65 64 can handle the handled shoot.
Ah, he's good Elijah Hughes.
You know, Shut off.
The logic got drafted, you know? Good luck to him, but larger Hughes could play.
He could really shoot it.
You know, they're calling them three and D guys now, and hopefully, you know, Elijah gets to the point where just a player, you know, I know some guys like that label, but I think he brings more to the table in the three and D guy, but right off the top of my head.
You know, I think those two guys, um um, definitely could have played in our era, you know, in some, you know, Dion waiters, even though he didn't play in the HTC.
When you think about Dion at Syracuse, you know, he was even though he came off the bench, he was, you know, one of better, better guards and probably could have played in our air. Also.
Just got to keep the social media out of ties his hands during during the season.
So he's not posting anything.
Well, if he's in our air, man, we wouldn't allow that.
Well, you're a former big, obviously.
And you know, I think one of The big talking points lately with Syracuse is they haven't developed the bigs like they used Thio.
They haven't recruited the bigs like they used to.
I think Coach Boeheim's even been honest about.
I got to get better recruiting Biggs lately when you watch the current crop that's come through the past couple years of Syracuse bigs like, Is that the biggest thing that's holding them back from getting to that North Carolina Duke here that you mentioned? Well, I don't know.
It's I think Coach Boeheim, you know, he recruits, you know, are aren't strengths and what we need.
And, um, you know, was was Craig fourth, the dominant big man.
But he won a national championship.
So just, uh I think he finds guys that fit the niche and what he needs them to do.
And, you know, just cause we're not winning national championships, it's not all on the big man.
No, it's It's a team effort and collectively, and I'm not gonna criticize, you know, talk bad about the big man unless I'm willing to go up there and help them, you know, and I haven't had the time to go up there and help the big man.
I would I would love to be able to help the guys a little bit more.
Especially now during Kobe.
You can't help him at all.
So, you know, just No, I would love to see some of the guys, you know, taking it the onus on themselves.
And, you know, the, you know, put the extra working.
It's not just all in the coaches, you know, as a player.
Do you want to get better? Well, if you do, you will work every day.
I was in the gym every day of Syracuse.
You know, when you have access to a gym every day, you should be in the gym every day.
When you're 18 1920 years old, you're too young to be tired.
So you should be in the gym every day.
There should be no days off, ever that you're literally never be a day off.
So that that helps you.
Your game developed, helps your confidence.
And I think you know, for all the talk of you know, you know, lack of big man the last couple of years, you know, we got a couple guys we're going to develop, and you know.
Let's let's see how they pan out for us, right? Has Coach Bay I'm ever had a conversation with you about coming up and being an assistant? No.
No, I don't I don't think Coach Coach knows That's just not me.
I don't really have the patience for that.
You know, I couldn't imagine dealing with me, You know, all of you know, at my age now, dealing with the 18 or 19 year old kid? Uh, no.
So, no, we've never had that conversation.
I've never had a inclination Thio go that route.
So no, it's never been discussed.
Well, you've gotten into broadcasting while we mentioned the podcast, but what's the experience of being a broadcaster been like? And was that something that when you're at cues, you thought about it, or did it just kind of come to be fell in my lap? My my guys at MSG, Dan Schoenberg, he, uh, you know, thought I'd be pretty good at it and gave me, you know, a couple of pointers and put me on this show called People Talking Sports.
And that show turned into the MSG 1 50.
What? Bill Paedo? Who's? Ah, Broadcast legend and Alan Hahn, who was a legend, and my man, Wally Szczerbiak, who's on his way to becoming one.
So And those guys make make my job easy.
They really do, because I don't You know, I'm still a novice when it comes to this, and they make it really easy for me.
I made, but, you know, learn, learn so much from them, and and there's no Eagles involved.
So they're they're always willing and trying to help me, because the better I do it, the easier my job is, the better the show does.
When you got your number retired into the rafters a couple years ago, you're lifting the jersey above your No, no, no, no, no.
Just past February.
It's just everything's out of whack.
You got everything? E Yeah.
Unc, right? Yeah.
So it feels like years ago, but was actually only like, nine months ago.
Um, when you're lifting that jersey above your head and you're standing on that carrier, don't floor.
What's the memory that's flashing and running on? Repeat, through your mind, I'm so happy I came to Syracuse like I'm That's the first.
I'm just so happy that I picked this school and these fans and I mean from the first time I walked on the Syracuse, um, at a game when I was 16 years old, until the last time I was there, getting my jersey retired pretty much the love is never wavered.
The amount of love when I walked on there is a 16 year old kid.
As a junior, they were like, We want you to come here and we need you yada, yada, yada that love has never wavered, man.
And that special, I mean that there's literally been 30 years.
I'm 46 years old, so it has been 30 years of nonstop love on.
Hopefully, they, they feel the love back when I whenever I come across a Syracuse fan or Syracuse people in general always trying to make sure how much, show them how much I love them because they've always shown me love.
So what's more nerve wracking running out on the Carrier Dome court, getting ready for the game or having that red light broadcasting Go on and you're at the desk getting ready to do your show.
Nerves never entered right when you're super prepared when you're ready.
When you know what, you're gonna talk like you're not nervous right now.
You know your questions.
You're talking to me.
So that's how it is for me, like it's not.
It's not nerve wracking.
I know what I'm gonna talk about.
It's not like it's not like is we go in there blindly like I do want showing them LG where we really just see the clips for the first time we speak about it, but I mean, it is more of a comedic feel, So it's not like, you know, you know, serious, serious talk.
But for the most part, you know, you kind of know what you're gonna kind of think about or say, and you're prepared.
And like I said, if if you do have a flub or something, mess up Bill Allen while he was stepping and, you know, make up for it immediately.
So there's never any pressure, Man, I never felt pressured the games, either.
Not even like national title game.
Hell, no kidding me.
I was ready to play when you when you're when you're ready and prepared, man, Just don't You're not nervous you.
I've never I don't get anxious.
I don't not have stuff.
Enters its just time to go toe goto work.
It's time to get it done.
So your resume, basketball player, broadcaster, podcaster actor.
And I think you're probably the first guest we've ever had on here with an IMDB page.
How and so I went back and I watched he got game last night because I had never seen it before.
What? Talk about getting prepared, Right? Know how did that experience come about Spike Lee, who's, ah, huge Nick fan.
He basically offered, uh, opened up the audition toe any Nick and so myself from Walter McCarty.
I think we're the only ones who auditioned, and we all read for the part of Jesus, Jesus Shuttlesworth, the Ray Allen's part.
Obviously, he picked the right guy.
But, you know, we all went in trying to get the Jesus part.
And then, by process of elimination, he fit us with, you know, different parts of the team, and I end up becoming lining dukes.
Spike Lee, you know, he told us, Give us everything you got on this on on.
Every scene in this movie will pay you the rest of your life.
True to his word, man, I get checks every month.
So from that for that movie, literally.
And ah, you know, it's they're not huge checks where the check is much better than a bill.
But it was It was fun and a lot of the n b A guys today.
They came up on that movie that's like, their favorite movie.
You know, when I when I ran into Dame Lillard a couple of years ago in the garden, he was talking about how he just watched the movie and, you know, give me love and shout out, You know what I mean? So it's Ah, I didn't realize there's gonna be a zbig as it turned out to be.
But, you know, that movie was huge for for for me, And it still is.
I can't believe that was your first time watching it tie.
Maybe you gave him a little bit of money last night.
Uh, but Okay, so on the set, who is the best Hooper That wasn't actually a basketball player.
My man d flight.
God, I'm pretty sure e think He died not too long after that movie or something.
But my man deep flight who pretty sure he went to tempo.
But he's from Brooklyn.
He's from those were the where, where we were filming the basketball seems right outside of the project, and he was from those projects.
And so he came out the film part of the movie with us and deflect.
He was like a great defender, a great defender.
And he was guard Ray Allen, and not that he was locking Ray up like, but he was making it very difficult for rain.
Like Ray wasn't able to get, you know, have his free flowing moves and all that.
So remember ****oli stopped the set a couple times.
You goes basically like, you know, this guy, right? That your guard, he's the star.
So you know, you I know you got your compete, but he's gotta look good, too.
So after stopping them a couple of times, he's like, Man, you got to guard somebody else to sit on the bench because we're trying to shoot a movie.
I heard Denzel on a podcast one time and he was talking about I think he was talking about the scene where they're playing one on one at the end for for the for him to sign the letter of intent.
And if I'm remembering it correctly, apparently they told him to go right one time. It was like early.
They tell him to go right one time and he goes left and he actually beats Ray Allen to his left.
Do you remember anything about that? Oh, yeah.
Because everyone kept talking about it, You know what I mean? It was It was I wasn't kind of caught off guard a little bit.
I wasn't on set that day, and Ray was anticipating.
And as the wait was leaning like he was going to go right and then Joe game a little and then went left and yea beat him to the beat him to the whole he put that feather in his cap forever. Exactly.
Um, I remember I think they were brought this up during the last dance.
How there was a space jam sort of bubble that they had where they would just on their off days from shooting.
They would all just go to this little bubble they built M.
J s actually a gym training.
Did they have something like that for you? And I'm sure you guys played a little bit.
That's what I'm trying to tell you.
That's why that that's why he got game is such a good movie.
None of that was scripted.
The basketball parts scenes outside was at the park outside that we played in right outside the project.
All the basketball seems is at a high school gym.
Uh, it wasn't linking those.
And there's another high school.
You're not too far, but is in Brooklyn.
So it wasn't like just some gym that, you know, was some makeshift Jim for the movie set.
It was It was a really Jim.
Okay, Um, and then I noticed Jim Brown's in this movie, too.
And did you have any part in getting either of those two in the movie? Oh, no, no, Spike Lee, that's all. Spike Lee.
Spike Lee loves Jim Brown.
As as you know, we all love Jim Brown.
He's the original Syracuse 44 God, you know, and a lot of people don't know the reason why where it's 44.
But it's because at the time when he came to Syracuse, he couldn't get a full scholarship during those times.
So 44 people donated money for him to come to Syracuse.
That's why they weren't numbers.
That's why the number of special I'm I'm you know, I hold that number.
So you know, so special than me.
Wow, That's awesome.
John, appreciate your time so much.
This has been awesome.
Really? Um, appreciate it. Really? Looking forward.
Toa watching what's next for you and checking you out.
You confined him the power forward podcast.
New episodes out every single Wednesday.
You can get it wherever you get your podcast.
So looking forward to that and also looking forward to this accused basketball season.
Peace, guys. Thank you.
Yeah, Thanks, man.