REPORT CARD: 2003 BASKETBALL

Put down your pens and pencils – the test is done. Class is over and the Orangemen are ready to get their grades.

Gerry McNamara: All year, McNamara was too small and too slow to keep with quicker and bigger guards. But he proved all doubters wrong with sterling performances on both ends of the floor in the tournament. McNamara hounded Hollis Price (3-for-17, 8 points), TJ Ford (3-for-8, 12) and Kirk Hinrich (6-for-20, 16) – all future NBA players – into subpar performances while McNamara averaged 15.3 in these games. Grade: A

Kueth Duany: Duany was solid throughout the year, providing timely shooting and good defense. Fans thanked Duany for his four years of dedication and leadership. Grade: B+

Carmelo Anthony: With no question, Syracuse wouldn't have won the championship without Anthony. Anthony not only had stellar numbers (22.2 points, 10.0 rebounds), but he also got opposing players in foul trouble, passed well out of the double-teams and was excellent defensively. No one expects Anthony back next year – but it was a great run nevertheless. Grade: A

Hakim Warrick: Warrick can make the case for the nation's most improved player. With an improved inside game and an incredible jumping ability, Warrick's even been rumored to be jumping to the NBA along with Anthony. He'll more than likely be around next year, and will be the lynchpin of the offense. Grade: A

Craig Forth: Forth struggled with his confidence throughout the year and his playing time and numbers dipped. But the championship game could've been the turning point for the sophomore. Forth's six points and three blocks will be something the Orangemen will need on a consistent basis next year. Grade: C+

Josh Pace: Pace's eight rebounds in the title game was one of the most underrated performances. He's a great finisher in traffic and an above-average defender. With Duany graduating, Pace figures to slide into the starting spot next year. Grade: A-

Jeremy McNeil: Though inept offensively, McNeil's defensive presence more than made up for it. "The eraser" not only intimidated would-be shooters but also made some memorable swats all year long. Grade: B

Billy Edelin: After being suspended for one year for sexual allegations and then another 12 games for participating in a recreational league, Edelin finally found his way to the court and proved why fans wore "Free Billy" shirts. Edelin's ability to finish in traffic is one the biggest assets Syracuse has. Grade: B+

Coaching: Boeheim's 2-3 zone came under criticism all year, but come tournament time, he silenced doubters as team-after-team couldn't figure out his vaunted zone. He fused Edelin into the rotation successfully and balanced the egos of his top scorers. Troy Weaver, Mike Hopkins and Bernie Fine did a great job in recruiting, signing Anthony, McNamara and Edelin. Grade: A

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