The Cutting Crew back in 96 with the Main Man in the middle, JB Reifsnyder!
I was listening to some Blackstreet when I looked up at the TV on a cool day down in North Carolina in late 1995 and I saw JB throw it down with medium force for an Orange double. from that day forward I knew JB would be the first of many uncoordinated, awkward, clumsy white centers that Syracuse would give scholarships to in the next decade or so.
Going into the championship season Syracuse lost three starters from the previous season, and almost lost a fourth. John Wallace had the option to go in the NBA draft as a junior, and may have been a mid-first round pick. He weighed his options, and decided to come back to Syracuse for his senior season, and it proved to be a great decision in the eyes of Syracuse fans.
Lazarus Sims took over the point guard position, and the fifth year senior showed tremendous poise and skill that would eventually take him to the city courts down on South Salina, despite it being his first season as a starter. Otis Hill and J.B. Reafsnyder formed a formidable center combination and a contrast in hairstyles and music taste (Otis being a big Method Man fan and JB lovin the Gin Blossoms), with that combining for 18.2 ppg, and 8.9 rebounds. Todd Burgan blossomed in the traditional Syracuse swingman role and would eventually sell cars for Billy Fuccillo, taking over for the departed Luke Jackson. Sweet shooting Marius Janulis (no, not the poster for Troy Nunes is an absolute Magician) and junior college transfer Jason Cipolla (Growin up Gotti stuntman) would provide a nice duo on the perimeter.
It was an unfortunate ending to a wonderful season for the Orangemen, who saw a senior put a team on his back and try to carry them through the playoffs, with some critical plays from his teammates at the right moments. Wallace would lead the Orangemen in scoring in all nine post season games, but Reifsnyder would make his mark averaging .02 ppg that season. The senior class that had started their careers at Syracuse when it was banned from post season activity, had almost won the national championship.