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Thursday, September 22, 2005
The Overhyped Club Is Now Seeking Members
You know what really grinds my gears, America? Players and teams that get way more hype than they deserve. Any discussion of that topic usually centers on Red Sox and Yankees coverage, but college basketball is certainly not immune. Dick Vitale's passion for the ACC is borderline obsessive, and Duke is always a lock to have an ESPN game every week.

My current target for the Overhyped Club is Syracuse's Gerry McNamara. This otherwise cool photo series by SI.com that listed him as the country's #4 point guard probably set me off, but it's been building for a while. Remember the big debate last year about whether Duke's J.J. Redick or Arizona's Salim Stoudamire was the better shooter, and how Dickie V kept trying to include McNamara in the discussion? I was as baffled as anyone.

Don't get me wrong, McNamara is good, and he's certainly had his moments. He really made a name for himself when he hit the six threes to help Syracuse win the NCAA title his freshman year, and that 40+ point tournament game as a sophomore didn't hurt his reputation, either. He's just not great, or at least not as great as so many people seem to think.

Yoni Cohen, whose site is the center of the college basketball blogging universe and whose writing now appears at Fox Sports, recently called McNamara "as a good a shooter as you'll find north of Durham, North Carolina." Dickie V thought he was one of the three best shooters in the country last year. And SI tells us he's the fourth best PG in college basketball? I'm not buying it.

First off, here's a quick comparison of Redick, Stoudamire, and McNamara from last season.

Player O Rtg %Poss 3 pt% 3A / FGA eFG%
J.J. Redick 124 24.8 40.3 0.606 53.0
Salim Stoudamire 129 21.9 50.4 0.571 64.7
Gerry McNamara 114 23.7 34.0 0.727 49.3

There's a little unfairness in comparing McNamara to Redick, since Gerry handled the ball a lot more, and the resulting TOs brought down his Offensive Rating, but I think the shooting numbers speak for themselves. His effective FG% (traditional FG% adjusted for the extra points from threes) is very pedestrian. Redick's was pretty plain, too, but his knack for drawing a ton of fouls (and shooting 94% at the line) created a very nice offensive rating. For my money, Stoudamire was the best shooter anywhere last year, and one of the most exciting players to watch, too.

So what justification does SI have for ranking McNamara at number 4 in their point guard list? They say
"McNamara started all 34 games a year ago and all 100 in his career. He averaged
15.8 points per game last season and had 168 assists, by far the most on the
team. He's the Orange's all-time leader in 3-point attempts with 823 and
3-pointers made with 297."
They also mention that he was all-Big East, but that's subjective anyway so I'll toss that aside for now.

Can you think of a shooting point guard who (1) started all of his team's games last year, (2) had a decent scoring average, (3) led his team in assists, and (4) will soon break his school's records for threes made and attempted?

Hmmmmmmm. *Deep thinking...........*

Jeff Horner
1 - started 33 of 33 games 32 of 33 games last year (almost forgot the post-Northwestern debacle)
2 - 14.0 ppg on the season, but he averaged 14.8 in the 13 games after Pierce left
3 - passed his way to 180 assists
4 - is not far from breaking Chris Kingsbury's old shooting records

I'm not going to suggest that Horner is better than McNamara, or even that he's quite on the same level. But I don't think they're that far apart. Consider this........

Gerry McNamara
Season %Min O Rtg %Poss Pass TO% Reb% FT/FG eFG% 3pt%
2002-03 88% 115 18.7 20.8 20.8 3.9 0.272 51.8 35.7
2003-04 90% 117 22.8 14.1 18.5 3.8 0.355 51.8 38.9
2004-05 88% 114 23.7 19.5 20.9 3.7 0.293 49.3 34.0

Jeff Horner
Season %Min O Rtg %Poss Pass TO% Reb% FT/FG eFG% 3pt%
2002-03 88% 96 17.0 22.4 24.9 6.5 0.307 41.8 27.7
2003-04 92% 117 17.5 19.7 23.3 8.0 0.469 57.4 42.5
2004-05 91% 114 20.9 23.6 19.6 7.0 0.301 52.6 40.8

Some quick notes - that "Pass" rating is a very rough estimate of a player's points produced through assists, per 100 possessions. It can fluctuate considerably when players are put in different roles, but Horner and McNamara played similar roles for their teams, so I threw it in. "FT/FG" is actually free throw attempts per field goal attempt, which is one way of measuring how often a player gets to the line.

I find it quite interesting that McNamara has never broken 40% from downtown, despite his reputation as a sharp shooter. His eFG% has been very normal, too. The national average is something around 50%. If there's one thing you can say for him, though, he has been very consistent. He had a very good year for a freshman, but he hasn't progressed much since then. He's more or less replicated the same production each year.

Horner, like McNamara, has played a ton of minutes ever since his freshmen year (90% would be 36 min in a regulation game). He had a rough going his freshman year, but since then he's found his shooting touch and cut down his turnovers each season. He also grabs considerably more rebounds than McNamara, both offensively and defensively.

One big difference you might have noticed is McNamara's edge in possession usage. Horner has been as low as Iowa's fourth scoring option, with Pierce, Brunner, and Haluska all available to take shots, while McNamara has been Syracuse's second-leading scorer behind Hakim Warrick for the past two years. It's generally considered tougher to maintain a higher efficiency level when using more possessions, so you have to give Gerry some credit there.

Can Horner be effective when using a higher percentage of possesions. I think so - we got a little taste of that after Pierce was kicked off the team last year. In the 12 games against Big Ten opponents sans Pierre, Horner used 24.1% of the possessions with an offensive rating of 108. Pretty decent. I think that'll look even better this year when it's balanced out over a full season schedule that includes some OOC cupcakes.

So all in all, I'll give McNamara the slightest of edges for last season, but if I had to choose a floor general for this year, I'll stay loyal to Horner for sure. And if you're going to rank McNamara as the fourth best point guard in the country, at least give our guy Jeff some recognition too.
As usual, an enjoyable and informative read.

I'd add "leadership" and "finding a way to win" to McNamara's intangibles.

That being said, your point is well taken. Going forward, I'll blog (and write) corrected).
Thanks Yoni. I agree that stats alone cannot measure every contribution a player makes to his team. But I will stand by my assertion that McNamera is not among the top shooters in the country.
IOWA SUCKS thats what this guy gets no credit
At the Syracuse Orange break the record night in Feb. 10,000 people traveled from Scranton, PA (Gerry's hometown) to the Carrier dome to see him play! Scranton loves him, Syracuse loves him. I guess it's not about the statistics! We just love him!
JJ Redick is a hell of a player. If I had to choose between the two for a college team, I would take Redick. However, to dismiss Gerry McNamara is a bit ludicrous. Ryan says that GMac is not one of the best shooters in the nation. I ask, Ryan, can you name 10 shooters better than him?

Take your time, we have all day.
To Strafe: I can name 15 shooters in the Big East that are better than Gmac. I am a huge Syracuse fan and live in the Syracuse area, but he is grossly overrated and isn't even half the shotter that Preston Shumpert was when he was here. As for Jimmy B saying that SU does not win 10 games this season without him, that is just WRONG. We still would have beaten Texas Tech, TCU, Colgate, Kent State, Ill.-Chicago, Texas-El Paso, S.Fla, Rutgers, West Virginia. Other than W.Viginia its not a imprssive list, but we really have not beaten many good teams, and what about the games he did not show up to? There are about 10 games where he has been totaly ineffective. How sombody with a 3pt% that is below .33% a great shooter is beyond me, he doesn't even break the top 200 in 3pt% in the NCAA. As a matter of fact, he cant shoot inside the arc either, he is at 35%. Is he a good player, he is decent at best.

As for those 10 players that are better than him in the Big East;

Novak- Marquette
Quinn- ND
Gansey- WV
Anderson- UCONN
Nardi- 'Nova
Pittsnogle- WV (a freaking center)
Nutter- S.Hall
Devendorf- SU (Mac isnt even the best shooter on the team)
Douby- Rutgers
Copeland- S.Hall
Falls- ND
Ray- 'Nova
Foye- 'Nova
Buckley- S.Fla
Krauser- Pitt
Muhammad- Cinci
Dean- Lville
Nichols- SU (Mac isnt even the 2nd best shooter on the team)
McGrath- Providence
Holmes- S.Fla

I am not going to count how many players are here, but Gmac is not in the top 10, ALL of these guys have better 3pt% ranking than Gmac and this is only the Big East.
Dude, two days, two 3 point shots, 'cuse wins & beats #1 team in nation...oh did I forget, 13 assists today & he is over-rated?

Hands down, best shooter in nation in the clutch, you my friend must read this & realize that your article is lame......
In those 2 games he was 9 for 31 shooting, not just 3's but overall. That is not good. Granted he did make 2 shots in 2 perfect spots, but take away those instances he is 7 for 29, is that good?
NERD ALERT you all are looking at numbers and not realy watching the games that are realy being played. You all are NERDS and need to get a life. By the way Gerry McNamara is SU ball and that is that. Deal with the fact that G-Mac is that good and your not.
yaa try telling this to cincinatti...uconn..and georgetown....youre a moron face it .....n nichols n devendorf rnt better then him...youre even more of an idiot for saying that
syracuse would've had a mediocre season without mcnamara. who cares about statistics? gerry gets the job done, much like he did when he was at bishop hannan. gerry doesn't play the game for the glory--he plays to win!!! he is an unselfish player. the carrier dome will have plenty of tickets available next year.
Hey Brian, guess what, I never said that Nichols and Devendorf are BETTER THAN HIM, they just shoot the 3ball better than he does, and I can back my statement up with facts which I did. Just because all of his misses are in the beginning of the game does not mean they dont count. Gmac could go 0-20 from the field, but if he hits a 3 at the end of the game, people act like he is a god. Like I said before, is he a good player, YES. Is he overrated, YES the most overrated player in Syracuse history.
And in 3 years Devendorf will be the one in the NBA, NOT McNamara.
You see Devendorf in the NBA? I'm a huge SU fan but everytime the pressures on, he flounders. Like the easy layup against UCONN. Gerry's the heart and soul of the team...he knows when to step it up when he needs to. He may not have had a stellar season before the big east, but he deserves our praise after everything he's done this week and the for SU in the past.
To say that G-MAC is not a great shooter or to say that he is overrated is CrAzY. Like someone said "NERD ALERT" stop and actualy watch a game and not a stat sheet. To all the McNamara haters......kiss his ASS b/c he is the only reason why 'cuse is in the Big East Championship Game TONIGHT.
To say that McNamara is not a GREAT player is rediculous. In the past two games, the opposing head coaches have called time outs when they were in the lead just in order to remind their entire team who to concentrate on, and that person was not Devendorf, it was Gerry. His Hall of Fame Coach has gone to bat for him with language more colorful than lucky charms box. He was voted by the head coaches of his conference as player of the year, adn yet you who sit on the sideline and watch the game from afar, can say that he is not a great player BS. His own team mates rally behind him, what more do you want? He is great, not becase he is popular, he is popular because he is great. He steps up when he needs to, and mind you this, Georgetown lead the game last night for 38 minutes and 50+ seconds, should they be called the better team because of that statistic? NO. In the same category a guy who misses 20 shots in the first half can still be the best threat on thecourt if he hits THE shot that wins the game. All else is practically erased. Wins do that for you, you can play like crap and lose every stat, but if the end result is a Win then that becomes the only stat that counts. Without Gerry and his injured groin, Syracuse would be headed to the NIT instead of to the Big East Championship Game tonight, and the NCAA's next week. The war is over my man.
gerry is a great player....fuck you..without him syracuse would not even be half as good..
if the people in SYRACUSE heard you talk about G-MAc like that we would have thrown you on a cross
Gerry Mcnamera played against the best that the collage game has to offer. and he succedded. he has succedded as a player out of position and for someone who is smaller than everyone of his opponents. he may not be the most tallented player on the court but he plays with the most heart and cares about nothing but winning. and for that he is underrated. insted of tearing him down you should give him what is due. i went to every game of MCNAMERAS senior year. every oponents on the opposite end gives him the respect he well deserves because he will bet you if you let him. he may not be a great shooter but at the end of the game there is no one who i would rather have the ball. he proved my theary in the big east tourny. and that is all you coud ask for in a player. he was not only a player at SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY. he was and still is a big part of our comunity. so when someone who is obviously aragent takes shoots at someone who represents our city, your going to piss some people off.
true he is not J.J. Redick. maybe he is not the #4 point gaurd in the country or the best in the big east. and you had some good arguments. but it seemed to me like you just tried picking on Macnamera because of a Dicky V comment and an SI article. and thats not fair. maybe you should just realize what the game is really all about. Guts, Grit, Heart and Team work. and macnamara plays with all four. your elaborate stats don't show that though. i played high school basketball and couch 6th and 7th graders in Syracuse. and I am glad that they have Macnamera to look up to.
P.S. But the best thing about your article was that the team didn't play WITH macnamera in the Big East Tourny. They played for him. I bet Horner doesn't get that respect.
P.P.S. you also have to realize that in his Soph,Jr,and Sr seasons every teams plan against Syracuse was to stop G-Mac. I bet Horner doesn't get that resect either.
your article is the lamest piece of crap i have seen....Gerry has twice the heart and drive then both Reddick and Stoudimire...he is the pride of syracuse and scranton and the only real reason why he is considered over-rated it that people are jealous of what he can do...so next time you decide to write an article use both sides of your brain understand???
JJ Reddick is a great player....but so is Gerry McNamara. However if they switched teams....those stats would be grossly different. McNamara's numbers will always be smeared by the non-talent that surrounded him. He always had to throw up 3's towards the end of games. Usually something that JJ didn't have to worry about because his big guys would have already had the game in hand....must be nice to play on a talent rich team and take 3's when it comes to you.
ok J.J. is a good player...but atleast gerry doesn't get arrested for dwi hahaha
gerry is definetly one of the best shooters u dont know wat ur talkin about i guess you iowa fans need sometin to do while u guys r losin all season but to rip Gmac one of the nice guys in sports ur crazy and o yea


does reddick horner or staudimire have than? no iddint think so
your fuckin rediculous, you can say whatever you want about gmac but hes carried his team for 4 years a national championship and back to back big east championships. he is the center of every team that syracuse plays defensive strategy and he doesnt even break 6 foot regardless of what he is listed as. if your talking about pure shooting if gerry had a 6-5 frame and 5 other polished players on his team then hed score 10 more points then j.j. a game. stoudamire plays shit and will play shit he gets it done cause no1 in his conference can play half decent defense on him. and the fact that you possibly tried to throw fucking jeff horner in the mix clearify's your spot as knowing absolutly nothing about college basketball.
good to see some fucking backup on this..gerry mcnamara is the best no questions asked..so all that is left to say is if you want championships..come to syracuse..because everyone knows that iowa isn't that good..and if you continue to rip on gerry than it continues to show that you are a complete moron and know nothing about talent when you see it so just remember that when syracuse wins there next title before you!!!
If you dont think Gmac is a good player then you don't know as much as you think about college basketball. I will agree there are some players in the NCAA that are better then him talent wise but he brings more then his unbelieveable 3-point shot to the table. He is a leader on and off the court and brings so much heart to each game and that is what takes a player from gamer to star. The reason I believe he was not drafted is because of his height and only that. He will be remembered by Syracuse for a long time. Now if you want to talk about over-hyped i'd mention the Iowa Hawkeyes. They couldnt even make it past the first round with all the talent they have so in my book they are no better than syracuse. If any of you still believe gmac is over-rated then u comment me back.
All I can say is GMac wins a national championship for syracuse. He wins 2 striaght Big East titles because of his play. Now what has JJ Redick and Stoudemire accomplished?? What has Iowa accomplished? Ummm...wow I'm sure I would trade some nice stats for all those rings.

What a dumbass...being great is much more than just the numbers you post.
The comments that acknowledge that Gmac has a ncaa and two big east championships are right on the mark. It is true that the ncaa does not happen without Carmello, but Syracuse got beat up in the big east tourney that same year. Therefore, it is also true that the ncaa does not happen without Gmac's six first half three pointers. I never saw a poor shooter do that, especially under the ultimate pressure. I saw him in a state high school semifinal game score 41 points in the FIRST half against the defending state champs.He ended up with 55 and they went on to win the state championship.Again, I never saw a poor shooter do that. He was always keyed on by the opposing coaches and was not surrounded by a very good supporting team his last two years. The same team came back the next year and failed to make the ncaas. The kid is a winner and plays the game the way it was meant to be played.He could help any nba team with his Nash-like skills, but he isn't even given the chance. The so-called experts all have their opinions, and USA basketball finishs sixth in the world because no one could shoot or pass the ball. USA basketball should wake up and give a proven winner a chance!
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