16 years after national title win with Syracuse, Gerry McNamara can still shoot

first_imgFeldman, a senior walk-on guard, usually covers McNamara. His scouting report: If he takes away McNamara’s 3-point shot, he’ll blow right by. If he gives him a foot of separation, he’ll knock down the shot. His game is rooted in a consistent jumper, which sets up his drives and dishes.“He’ll tell you he’s not as quick as he used to be,” Feldman said. “If you leave him for a second, though, it’s money.” Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 7, 2019 at 5:27 pm Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21 Freshman guard Buddy Boeheim said it’s not unusual to see McNamara shoot alone inside SU’s practice facility. Sometimes, he’ll shoot 300 or more 3-pointers — just like his playing days when his play drew busloads of people from his Scranton, Pennsylvania, hometown to watch.“He can go for hours,” Buddy said. “If he shoots below 85 percent from 3, he’ll reset the gun so nobody sees he shot below 90 percent.” Comments As he spotted up on the perimeter, Gerry McNamara went to work. Basketballs from a shooting machine known as the “gun” were fed to him, one pass after the other. From the corner, wings and top of the key, he put on a shooting clinic in the Carmelo K. Anthony Center, taking about 100 consecutive 3-pointers in under 10 minutes. He missed only nine.Former Syracuse women’s star Brittney Sykes, now a guard for the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, happened to look over at the court when McNamara began. “It was mind-boggling,” Sykes recalled.“I was like, ‘Dammit, G-Mac,’” Sykes said. “You hear about the player he was, and I knew he could shoot it, but I was a little kid then. Now I saw it. Like wow. This is real.”Alexandra Moreo | Senior Staff PhotographerAdvertisementThis is placeholder textMcNamara is one of the greatest shooters in Syracuse history, drilling six 3-pointers in the 2003 national championship game as a 35.4% shooter from deep. This spring, he completed his eighth season as an SU assistant coach. He’s known as a skilled recruiter and quality player-development coach, especially for guards.His college career ended 13 years ago, and the 35-year-old is now a father of four. Yet, McNamara shoots on his own and dominates pickup games in the Melo Center and on the Carrier Dome floor before home games — 16 years after leading the Orange to a national title. Multiple Syracuse players said he rarely misses shots and he barely gets tired.“That’s what I do,” McNamara said. “I just love to play basketball. Nowadays, I have a lot of issues with my left ankle, so anytime I get a chance to play against the boys, it’s a lot of fun. That’s how I prefer to do most of my exercise.” “(McNamara) gets about nine points per game,” Paul said about McNamara’s pick-up play. “He lays back on defense. He’ll just be messing around with the ball and start hitting shots from 38 feet in practice. He’s a robot.” Before SU home games, select off days and during the offseason, McNamara teams up with four student managers. They play full-court, five-on-five against SU walk-ons, including Shaun Belbey, Brendan Paul and Ky Feldman. McNamara is unanimously regarded as the best player in those games.Even scholarship players have taken note. Multiple players said he could still hold his own in a Division I basketball game. Senior point guard Frank Howard said he’s not once seen McNamara shoot under 90 percent from 3-point range. Elijah Hughes called McNamara “unbelievable.” Said walk-on Antonio Balandi: “Very surreal.”His step-back jumper creates separation. McNamara can launch from well past the 3-point line. He can dribble through the legs and behind the back, over and over.Susie Teuscher | Digital Design EditorIn November, during a pickup game at the Carrier Dome, McNamara dribbled up the right side of the court and knocked down a deep 3. On his next possession, he lost the ball on a crossover and his opponent scored to win the game. He slammed a chair in frustration — his dogged competitive nature several players said hasn’t faded since his playing days.last_img

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