Syracuse Basketball: Only fitting to honor Pearl, Jim Boeheim vs. Hoyas

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images) /

This Saturday afternoon, Syracuse basketball will host its most storied rival, long-time Big East Conference nemesis Georgetown.

And on that same day, Orange head coach Jim Boeheim and ‘Cuse hoops legend Dwayne “Pearl” Washington will be inducted into the SU Athletics Ring of Honor at a ceremony in the JMA Wireless Dome.

The Ring of Honor, by the way, was created in 2020 to honor some of the most iconic and influential student-athletes or coaches in the history of Syracuse Orange sports. Honorees’ names are permanently displayed on the innermost façade of the Dome.

To give you a sense of just how big the magnitude is of those who have previously been inducted into the Ring of Honor, Boeheim and Washington will join Syracuse football legends Jim Brown, Ernie Davis and Floyd Little, as well as Roy Simmons Jr., who as head coach of ‘Cuse men’s lacrosse led the program to six national championships. That’s it. That’s the list.

Hopefully, Syracuse basketball will crush Georgetown when SU Athletics honors two hoops legends.

The Orange and the Hoyas are scheduled to tip off beginning at 1 pm this Saturday, Dec. 10, with television coverage on ABC. After getting stuck in a three-game slide, the ‘Cuse (5-4) has won two in a row, beating Notre Dame on the road last weekend by one point and then cruising by Oakland on the Hill this past Tuesday evening.

Georgetown, meanwhile, posted a dreadful 6-25 overall record a stanza ago, although the Orange wasn’t great, either, going 16-17 during the 2021-22 campaign.

So far in 2022-23, the Hoyas are 5-5, having most recently defeated Siena by a final count of 75-68 on Wednesday night in Washington, D.C.

It’s so appropriate, from my perspective, for Boeheim and Washington to become members of the Syracuse University Ring of Honor on the same day that the ‘Cuse plays Georgetown.

Naturally, the rivalry isn’t quite the same as it once was, given that Syracuse basketball moved from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013-14.

However, these two programs have engaged in some really exciting contests over the last handful of seasons. Dating back to the Orange’s 58-55 overtime triumph over the Hoyas in the 2013 Big East Tournament, each squad has won four times over the past eight meetings.

No game in that span has been decided by more than 10 points. Two encounters went to overtime. Georgetown squeaked by Syracuse basketball a year ago, 79-75, in our nation’s capital. But the ‘Cuse still leads the all-time series, 52-45.

Boeheim is in his 47th season at the helm of the Orange. He has claimed a national title, been to five Final Fours, journeyed to the Sweet 16 on 20 occasions, and reached 1,000 career conquests twice (hi, NCAA).

Washington is arguably the most important recruit that the ‘Cuse has ever landed, at least from my perspective. While he competed at an ultra-high level for Syracuse basketball in the mid-1980s, the rivalry between Syracuse basketball and Georgetown reached new heights.

Without question, Washington, Boeheim, former Hoyas star (and current Georgetown head coach) Patrick Ewing, and long-time Hoyas boss John Thompson Jr. played a critical role in the 1980s as the Big East helped to change and grow college basketball, bringing to the conference and the sport greater television exposure via ESPN and other networks.

Sadly, Washington passed away in 2016, and Thompson died in 2020. But their spirit, of course, will live on forever in this wonderfully heated rivalry.

Only time will tell whether Syracuse basketball and Georgetown will continue to battle one another further down the line as non-conference foes.

This Saturday, though, should be special, as two of the key ‘Cuse figures in the Orange-Hoyas rivalry are honored at the Dome on the same day that these two programs go toe to toe yet again.

dark. Next. Syracuse Basketball: Orange’s 2003 national title seems like a lifetime ago