By Carly Stone and Sabina Hodzic
Syracuse University’s Men’s Basketball team is off to an impressive start. Ranked number 2 in the Associated Press poll, they have played 20 games, staying undefeated so far in their journey to the March Madness tournament. Undefeated also means that they are 7-0 in their first year in the Atlantic Coast Conference. As new players step up, Jamesville-DeWitt High School students and staff contemplate the season’s future.
The recent buzz is about freshman Tyler Ennis and redshirt sophomore Trevor Cooney. Sophomore Grayson Burns is impressed with Ennis’s role on the team. Ennis has stepped in and taken on a lot more than Burns thought he would have done. “Ennis has progressed a lot, (and) he keeps getting better,” said junior Jake Eich. “Ennis has proven to be mature,” says Sport Literature teacher Courtney Romeiser. Coach Jeff Ike has personally ranked Ennis as one of the top five point guards in the nation. “Pairing the skills of both Ennis and Cooney can create an unstoppable duo that can lead them to great places,” said Ike.
Freshman Kyle Cappelletti says Cooney is a “great shooter” and has contributed to the team greatly. Cooney has been a great player throughout injury and sickness agreed Romeiser. He has been dependable, and especially when he was needed to make big baskets, according to Romeiser. Although she is a Marquette alumni, she supports Syracuse because of all the J-D graduates that have gone through the program like DaJuan Coleman, Brandon Triche, and Andy Rautins.
Though Coach Ike struggles to watch majority of the games because of coaching and teaching commitments, he loves watching the games he can. He hopes to see the team improve more by the end of the season and looks forward to watching the team play well. “I'm very involved when I’m able to watch them play,” said Eich who can’t always watch because of his own basketball season. For Coach Jamie Archer, he thinks they are doing well this season and hopes they continue to prosper.
Feb 1 will be the first time the Duke Blue Devils will be hosted by the Carrier Dome. Even though they're ranked at number 17, Duke will bring a tough game for the Orange to play.
“It’ll be interesting since it’s the first time Duke is at the Dome,” said junior Caroline Kopp. Burns has high hopes for the Orange. He originally predicted Syracuse would lose to Pittsburgh but believes the Orange will easily beat Duke. “Duke’s overrated,” said Burns and Eich. Ike thinks Syracuse will beat Duke and that it will be a great game because it is “two hall-of-fame teams and two hall-of-fame coaches.” Romeiser believes the key to beating Duke will come from their zone defense that has supported them thus far. Two great teams playing each other could “make it interesting” said Romeiser.
Sophomore Ethan Palmer says the atmosphere of the game will be “crazy like always” and freshman Eli Williams will be in the crowd for Saturday’s game. Sophomore Alex Fontana and junior Julia Slisz will also be in attendance and are hoping that the Orange will come out on top, and make the game interesting.
The main goal is to go all the way, winning the 2014 NCAA Tournament. The road to the championship will be a long one, but fans think the Orange are ready. Both Eich and Ike think Syracuse will go far but Burns thinks they’ll lose somewhere before making to the championship. The tournament begins March 18 or 19.