There Used To Be Clocks Here

In Appreciation of John Desko

 

Happy trails to an absolute legend.
Syracuse made the official announcement, followed by Desko's statement, confirming that the 4th Head Coach of the Syracuse Lacrosse program has elected to retire. In the history of the Syracuse program, John was just the 4th head coach in over 100 years of playing lacrosse. And, like all of his predecessors, he too is in the Lacrosse Hall of Fame. So upon his retirement, we at Orange::44 need to celebrate the contributions and legacy of John Desko.
His accomplishments are almost unmatched. He finishes his career with a 258-86 record, with a win percentage of .750 in 22 years. He earned 5 National Championships as a Head Coach, and 6 as an assistant on the team. He's been involved with Syracuse University Lacrosse since stepping on the field as a freshman in 1976. Much like Jim Boeheim, he never left. He spend 19 years as an assistant to Roy Simmons, Jr. before being elevated to Head Coach. He's won 35 NCAA Tournament games, and from 2000-2009, Desko won half the NCAA title games played, playing in the title game six times. In 2020 he was elected to the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Only Bill Tierney of Denver has a better win percentage among active coaches. Only DIII coach Steve Colfer reached 250 wins faster than Desko, who did it in 22 seasons. Not to mention four Big East Conference Tournament titles, two ACC Tournament titles, Division 1 Coach of the Year honors in 2008, and ACC Coach of the Year four times from 2015-2018. He made the NCAA Tournament 21 out of his 22 seasons as Head Coach, ten Final Fours, three NCAA runner ups, and obviously the five titles. It's hard to believe that any coach could achieve all that Desko has done, let alone be only the fourth coach at a program and continue to win National Championships. But he did it better than almost everyone, and for a very long time.
I'm sad to see him go, but I'm glad that it's through retirement, and not because he was fired. People love the narrative he was shoved out, but there isn't any evidence of that. The anonymous source that leaked the news Gait was replacing him said "retirement", and an anonymous source doesn't need to lie to protect anyone's feelings. It's just a shame some athletic compliance member, or some clout chasing parent decided to spoil what should have been a grand celebration farewell to a legend. And I'm not using that word legend lightly. He is, and will be forever known as, a lacrosse coaching legend. Only 3 Division 1head coaches have more titles in the NCAA era than Desko, and one of them is Roy Simmons, Jr. He's tied with only one other. But in his entire coaching career, was part of 11 titles in the NCAA era, a feat unmatched by any other D1 coach. I look forward to seeing him sit besides Roy and Jim Boeheim in that famous box as next season tips off. Lord knows he's earned it. And hopefully he'll get a nice ceremony.
Next season it something to worry about in the future. Right now, we should thank John Desko for keeping Syracuse the best Division 1 Lacrosse Program in history. We'll likely never see another coach, and another run like that again. But here's hoping.

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Orange::44 Lawdogs: People v. Chase Scanlan

Chase Scanlan earlier this season.
Rumors about Chase Scanlan, wearer of the fabled #22 on the Syracuse Men's Lacrosse Team, have been swirling around social media in the last few weeks. We now have a pretty good handle on the allegations, and why the school suspended, then unsuspended, and now resuspended Scanlan. An investigation by the Syracuse Police Department and Onondaga County District Attorney culminated yesterday in the charging and arrest of Scanlan, as well as a release of the specific allegations which have landed the lacrosse player in legal jeopardy. Orange::44 used to do a lot of legal posts back in the day, when the major sports programs within Syracuse Athletics used to have regular legal drama. Thankfully, it's been a while. A long while. But here we are. As recounted in great detail in a very comprehensive article by Douglass Dowty on Syracuse.com, Scanlan is charged with Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree (a Class A misdemeanor) and Harassment in the Second Degree (a violation). On Friday, May 7, 2021, Scanlan was arrested, brought through the booking process, held for several hours in jail at the Onondaga Justice Center, arraigned by a judge, and released pending further proceedings. There's a lot there, so let's break it down. Scanlan was arrested because relevant witnesses came forward to give sworn statements to the police, which gave the police/DA the factual basis necessary to determine which charges were appropriate. Once those charges were filed, the police had a legal basis to arrest him. When someone is arrested, they are brought through the booking process -- the police gather pedigree information about the defendant, obtain fingerprints and a photograph, and all of that information is entered into a database along with information about the pending charges. For charges like this where the law does not allow for bail to be set, a defendant would typically be given an appearance ticket and simply sent home with direction to appear in court at a later date. However, given this was a domestic violence case, he needed to be held pending arraignment before a judge, so that the court could issue a temporary order of protection in favor of the complainant. Down here in Chemung County where I work, a judge would have been immediately available for an arraignment, but I guess Onondaga County does things a little differently, and Scanlan was held in custody for several hours before appearing before a judge for arraignment. At the arraignment, Scanlan would have been provided a copy of the charges against him, advised of his rights, served with that temporary order of protection, and then released on his own recognizance with a promise to appear at a later date. The two charges are Criminal Mischief and Harassment. Criminal Mischief is intentionally damaging property belonging to someone else with no permission to do so. Here, Scanlan is alleged to have damaged the complainant's iPhone by dropping it in a toilet, and later throwing it to the ground, breaking the glass face of the phone. Misdemeanor level Criminal Mischief is charged when the damages to the property are not specified in an amount; when damages exceed $250, then the charge could be bumped up to a felony. Most of us have experienced broken phones, so Scanlan got lucky that he wasn't charged with a felony. If convicted, this misdemeanor charge carries a jail term of up to 364 days, or probation up to three years, or simply a one-year conditional discharge. The Harassment charge is a violation (a non-criminal offense), where, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm, a person strikes, shoves, kicks or otherwise subjects such other person to physical contact, or attempts or threatens to do the same. The Syracuse.com article explains that the allegations involve Scanlan pushing a woman and, later, holding her down on his bed with a forceful squeeze which ultimately led to bruising her ribs. The police and District Attorney decided they did not have enough evidence to charge misdemeanor assault -- which would require proof of physical injury -- surmising that lingering pain and bruised ribs doesn't meet that legal standard (when, actually, I think probably does). It's not a slam dunk on physical injury, particularly if the victim didn't describe the pain as "substantial," so I guess the close call here went in favor of the accused -- and there's certainly ample evidence to charge Harassment. Harassment carries up to 15 days in jail, or a conditional discharge. Both charges here also carry mandatory surcharges and possible fines. A Criminal Mischief conviction will also result in Scanlan being required to submit his DNA for inclusion into the New York State DNA Databank, so it will be on file forever. When this incident was initially investigated by Syracuse Public Safety (essentially the university police), Scanlan was suspended by the school. However, when criminal charges were not immediately forthcoming, he was reinstated. We've seen much surmising by people that the reinstatement was due to potential liability the school had under Title IX -- essentially that Scanlan might be able to sue the school for lack of due process in his suspension. We won't know for sure because of the privacy protections under federal law, but this seems likely given what we know now -- and the fact that now that criminal charges are pending, Scanlan has been removed from athletic participation. It's frustrating as fans that we didn't quite know what was going on between the initial suspension and the reinstatement. To a large degree, the school's hands were tied, but the messaging probably could have been better. Nobody likes that head coach John Desko said the reinstatement was his call (it no doubt wasn't) but I think the school couldn't really say why there was a suspension in the first place, or why it had to reinstate him (Editor's Note: I believe the Syracuse Unviersity General Counsel was directing much of the advise during this part of the process to the Athletic Department and likely dictated what information to release and at what time to attempt to avoid any liability on the part of the school. Title IX protection is serious and due to the domestic nature of this incident, certain protections are built in for the accused.). But we know for sure now that he can't participate in athletics now that he's been charged. Over the next several weeks, the DA will have to turn over what's called discovery to Scanlan's defense attorney -- things like police reports, witness statements, pictures, video, medical records, basically anything of relevant evidentiary value. His attorney could file certain motions to challenge evidence or even the legal sufficiency of the charges themselves. No doubt there will also be discussions between the ADA and defense attorney about a resolution to the case -- either a plea bargain or possibly a deferred disposition through a diversion program which could ultimately lead to a dismissal. That could require something like community service, alcohol counseling, and/or domestic violence counseling. That's what I would push for if I was Scanlan's attorney, particularly if he has no criminal record and we want to preserve that. However, the ADA on the case will have to weigh that against the interests of the victim in protecting her and making it known to the community that domestic violence is serious and will be dealt with accordingly. Each case is different, and those involved will have to determine what meets the ends of justice. Scanlan is presumed innocent. There may appear to be a great deal of evidence against him, but that presumption of innocence exists unless and until either Scanlan pleads guilty, or a jury unanimously finds him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We should never lose sight of that cornerstone of our legal system. However, Syracuse University and the Athetics Department can and has taken action solely based upon the criminal charges pending, and my guess is that we'll never see Scanlan wearing #22 at Syracuse again.

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Syracuse - Houston NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Preview

 Syracuse students agree: I'm a fucking bucket.
The Syracuse Orange advanced "unexpectedly" after taking out the #6 seed San Diego State and the #3 West Virginia Mountaineers. The 2-3 Zone did exactly what you'd expect it would in March, confusing teams who don't regularly see it. Meanwhile Buddy Buckets kept dropping dimes from deep at a clip of 56%. Insane. Can the upset train keep rolling?
Syracuse takes on Houston out of the AAC. Yes, now that UConn is back in the Big East, several teams are vying for the top spot, with Houston looking the best. They are top 10 in offensive and defensive efficiency. But that being said, the AAC is a weaker league, Houston hasn't seen much Zone this year like WVU, and one of their best players, Guard DeJon Jarreau will likely only be at 75% at best. He has been hitting nearly 37% from distance and is good on defense. Syracuse will have to shut down the shooters like they have all Tournament so far, starting with Jarreau, but also Quentin Grimes, who's hitting 41.7%. If Syracuse can find them, and make Houston attempt to beat the Zone inside, meanwhile Syracuse is making buckets, things will go like last weekend. I can't wait. I think the stars are aligned for Syracuse to advance. And in the most decimated region, things can happen for Syracuse. However, if you've been following this Tournament, I'm still taking Houston by seven (but really Syracuse by 9).
This game is available at 9:55pm on TBS (very funny). Both John and I will be watching. Plenty of time to still get loose before the game tonight. LET'S GO ORANGE!

Syracuse students agree: Winning an NCAA Tournament game is the best win of the year. 
Finally March Madness is back. And Syracuse made the Big Dance. Apparently fairly easily as they avoided a play in game unlike Michigan State. Syracuse takes on SDSU, who has won a huge streak of games and their conference tournament. Can Syracuse survive and advance?
Syracuse needs to do one thing above all to win the game. That is play good defense. Jordan Schakel shoots 46.7% from three. Syracuse must contest and basically never leave him open to force others to make plays, but they need to contest threes overall. SDSU doesn't get much production from the post, so if Syracuse can force the Aztec Frontcourt to have to score, they should be able to contest well and get some steals in the paint as well. If they allow SDSU to run free and make and take open shots, Buddy Boeheim can make 40 points, but they aren't likely to win. Syracuse either plays good defense, or they lose the game. It's as simple as that. The good news is, own the stretch in their last 4 games, Syracuse has played pretty good defense. Even against Virginia, they allowed the worst shooting player to take the last 3 of the game. He just happened to make it. Additionally, SDSU hasn't faced a Zone all season basically. That gives Syracuse an advantage because as we all know it's tough to simulate that Zone in practice. I want to make it clear, I picked Syracuse in this game. However, I'm now the most superstitious I am all year. Which means I'm taking SDSU by 5. But I think Syracuse is winning.
This game is available on CBS at 9:40pm. Both John and I will be watching. We'll see you out there. LET'S GO ORANGE!

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The 2021 Orange::44 NCAA Tournament Bracket Bonanza!

Let's see how many we can get wrong this time!
Since this went so swimmingly with the ACC Tournament (and COVID forfeits), JBren and I are back. This time with the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse a solid 11 seed in the "Midwest" first takes on SDSU. John has them going a little farther than I do, but that's par for the course. Meanwhile we each have a different champ. See who will cut down the nets, and see who is replaced by Louisville (if anyone). Good luck out there, enjoy the games, and GO ORANGE! 


 

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Syracuse students agree: Win, and the mystery on Selection Sunday is gone.
The premise is simple. Beat Virginia and there is no doubt Syracuse is in the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse is still on the bubble, but looking pretty good even if they don't win. But it's always nicer to find out where you're in and not if you're in. Either way, Syracuse has to play Virginia so let's get to it.
Syracuse got shredded inside by Sam Hauser in the last matchup. He would catch the ball in the paint, and then either drill a shot over Dolezaj, or make a pass for Jay Huff to make a three. Syracuse has obviously been better at both offense and defense lately. But Virginia is a very good team. Syracuse can win this, just like yesterday. But I'll keep the reverse jinx working and pick Virginia by 13.
This game is available on ESPN 2 at 12:00pm. Both  John and I are in the away office so LET'S GO ORANGE!

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Syracuse students agree: Beating a team three times in a season is fun.
It's Tournament Time again. And Syracuse is facing NC State, a team they have beaten twice already this year. Will Syracuse blow it in that shithole Greensboro again, or can Syracuse advance to take on Virginia for a chance cement their likelihood to dance?
Buddy Boeheim has come alive in the last few weeks, averaging an even 21 points in his last five games. His shooting has helped spark Syracuse in their last two games. We talk a lot about having a go to guy on the team, and lately it has been either Buddy or Allen Griffin. The good news is Quincy Guerrier is 100% after knocking knees in a previous game. Additionally, the week of rest has seemed to do everyone some good as it sounds like the entire team is back at 100%. Syracuse did two things well against NC State in their two meetings. Shoot the 3 well, and get steals. Syracuse racked up 20 turnovers on NC State in their last meeting. They need to do that again. If Syracuse can get steals and keep pace with 3s in this one, this will be another win, close or not. If NC State gets Jericole Hellems going again, who torched Syracuse in Syracuse, and played well at home, Syracuse could be in for a long day. It's Tournament Time, so anything can happen. I do think Syracuse wins this one, but I'm more superstitious during March than any other time of the year. Therefore, I'm taking NC State by 5, but this is not real.
This game is available on The ACC Network at 12:00pm. John will be taking a long lunch. I'll have it on somewhere I'm sure. Hopefully we'll see you tomorrow and GO ORANGE!

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The 2021 Orange::44 ACC Tournament Bracket Extravaganza!

 

It's time for brackets again!

Syracuse starts the ACC Tournament on Wednesday. But tomorrow the tournament in Greensboro (gross!) gets going. So John and I got to filling out some brackets. John is more optimistic than me about the ultimate fate of Syracuse, but we both have a team from the Commonwealth of Virginia hoisting the trophy. We both call the first round the same, then we diverge wildly. Who's right? We'll find out right after this. For the record I'm hoping John is more right. But we could both end up jackasses. We'll see. GO ORANGE and enjoy! Just try not to be overrated this week.



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