After four years playing for the Syracuse Orange, Brandon Reese talks about being a “recruited walk-on” at Syracuse, rooming with Dion Waiters and Andy Rautins, the Orange moving to the ACC and more. For the rest of the conversation, check out College Spun:
Tell me something I don’t know about Dion Waiters.
BR: He was my junior year roommate.
So you’ve got a lot of dirt then.
BR: [Laughs]. People can say, “I love the game more than anybody,” but that’s a guy who breathes, bleeds and is basketball. He’s a great guy and a great competitor; very hard working.
But, something you don’t know? I think he’s since retired from it, but he used to think he was going to be the next big rapper. There still may be some videos left on YouTube.
Let’s talk about the future of Syracuse. What are your thoughts on the Orange moving to the ACC?
BR: Tradition-wise, it kind of sucks. Leaving the Big East, the whole idea of the Big East Tournament, and all of those rivalries…But the ACC is as good a conference as the Big East and competition-wise it won’t be a loss for SU.
You were part of, arguably, the most successful years Syracuse has ever had. What was it about that group of players that allowed for so much success?
BR: The two years before my freshman year were when the team was screwed out of a spot in the NCAA tournament. Johnny Flynn, Eric Devendorf and Andy Rautins had the mentality, “We don’t want that to happen again.”
I remember freshman year when we were something like 27 and 6 going into the tournament and still those guys were worried about getting in!
It was all about learning from the past. We thought, “Let’s not even put ourselves in the position where we could not get into the tournament.”
So it was great leadership and great prior experience.