Syracuse Basketball: Carmelo Anthony one-and-done ranking is comical

Syracuse basketball, Carmelo Anthony (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball, Carmelo Anthony (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

A national media outlet has published a ranking of the best one-and-done seasons at the collegiate level, and its placement of Syracuse basketball legend Carmelo Anthony is pure comedy.

Now, in all fairness, these sorts of lists are somewhat subjective. We can all have differing opinions regarding them. What’s more, CBS Sports has Melo at No. 3 on its list, so it’s not like he was totally disregarded in the piece by Cameron Salerno.

Furthermore, I mean no disrespect to Salerno or CBS Sports. I’m simply giving my own opinion. And in my opinion, which I readily admit is biased by the fact that I attended Syracuse University and write for a SU sports fan Web site, I believe that Carmelo Anthony had the greatest one-and-done season in the history of the sport.

That being said, at a minimum, I adamantly opine that Anthony should be No. 2 in these CBS Sports rankings, and I think it’s absurd that he’s checking in at No. 3.

Syracuse basketball icon Carmelo Anthony had a freshman season for the ages.

Okay, let’s break down the top three, and then I’ll chime in on why I think that Melo should be No. 1 or No. 2.

No. 1, Anthony Davis of Kentucky (2011-12)
14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game
National player of the year
First-team All-American
Kentucky went 38–2 overall and won the national championship

No. 2, Zion Williamson of Duke (2018-19)
22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks per game
National player of the year
First-team All-American
Duke went 32–6 overall and lost in the Elite Eight

No. 3, Carmelo Anthony of Syracuse (2002-03)
22.2 points, 10 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.6 steals per game
National freshman of the year
Second-team All-American
Syracuse went 30–5 overall and won the national championship

From my perspective, you can’t really go wrong in having Davis or Anthony at No. 1, and then the other guy at No. 2, followed by Williamson.

But what’s the argument for having Williamson ahead of Melo? Their freshman-year stats are relatively even. Yes, Zion was the national player of the year, while Anthony wasn’t. So if we’re doing these sorts of rankings based on individual achievements, then I guess an argument can be made for Williamson being ahead of Carmelo Anthony.

Furthermore, in present-day society, social media rules the day. And the social media and traditional media hype machine surrounding Zion were second to none.

However, Williamson’s Blue Devils didn’t even make the Final Four. Syracuse basketball, in the 2002-03 season, wasn’t ranked in the preseason polls. Yet Melo guided the ‘Cuse to a national title.

Plus, both Davis’ Kentucky team and Williamson’s Duke squad had way more “talent” than the Orange 2002-03 group. And what I mean by that is, those Wildcats and Blue Devils had tons more future pro players on their rosters than the Orange did in 2002-03.

What’s more, I think it’s reasonable to say that Syracuse basketball had to face a “tougher” path in cutting down the nets than Kentucky did.

Obviously, Davis wasn’t the same level of scorer that Carmelo Anthony was as a freshman. Conversely, Davis was about as dominant a defensive player as you’ll ever come across.

Williamson should not be ahead of Melo. It’s super close between Davis and Anthony for the No. 1 spot. That being said, all three put forth tremendous freshmen seasons for their respective teams.

What Carmelo Anthony did on the Hill was historic. He officially announced his retirement from the NBA earlier this week, and Melo’s achievements in college, in the pros and for USA Basketball were simply sensational.

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