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Notable Syracuse University Athletes; The Definitive List

Notable Syracuse University Athletes; The Definitive List

Since its founding, there have been thousands of athletes who matriculated through Syracuse, but there are several of notable Syracuse University athletes that have gone on to greatness. Syracuse University is home to 18 sports teams- 11 belonging to women, and seven belonging to men.  Whether you are an athlete or not, take a look at the athletes that fill all of us with Orange pride.

Syracuse University Athletes


Carmelo Anthony– Anthony played one season at Syracuse, but it was THE CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON. He has gone on to play for the Denver Nuggets, The New York Knicks and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Julie McBrideMcBride is the all-time Syracuse women’s basketball scoring and assist leader. She currently plays for the Artego Bydgoszcz Basketball team.

Michael Carter-Williams– Carter-Williams was a point guard for Syracuse basketball. He went on to play for the Philadelphia 76’ers, Milwaukee Bucks, and the the Chicago Bulls.

Dave Bing– Dave Bing is remembered as one of the greatest basketball players in Syracuse history. Before Bing played with the Detroit Pistons, the Washington Bullets, and Boston Celtics, he was the backcourt partner to Jim Boeheim. Bing entered the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980.

Dave Bing Speaking at the 2012 Martin Luther King Jr MLK Celebration Dome Dinner. Photo by Stephen Sartori

Brittney SykesSykes is the “winningest player” in Syracuse women’s basketball history with 101 victories during her time on campus. Sykes is the highest WNBA draft pick in Syracuse University history. She is now playing for the Atlanta Dream.

Derrick Coleman– As a senior, Coleman was the No.1 pick in the NBA draft in 1990 for the Brooklyn Nets. Coleman went on to play for the Philadelphia 76ers. Coleman returned to Syracuse to finish his degree, and presented it to his mother as a mothers day present in 2015.

Rakeem Christmas– Christmas was a forward and a center for Syracuse basketball. He went on to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Indiana Pacers.

Wesley Johnson– Johnson played forward at Syracuse University for one season. He went on to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Phoenix Suns, the Lakers, and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Alexis Peterson– Peterson is SU’s all-time leader in assists and second in scoring. Peterson now plats for the Seattle Storm. Peterson was drafted into the WNBA during the second round of picks in April of 2017.


Jim Brown– In the history of Syracuse University Athletics, there is Jim Brown, and everyone else. Brown was an all around athlete who played basketball, football, lacrosse, and track. His legacy was in Football. He was the only black freshman player when he came to Syracuse. Brown has played in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns. Brown retired to focus on his acting career.

Art Monk– Art Monk never missed a practice or game due to injury during his time at Syracuse. Monk has played for the Washington Redskins, The New York Jets, and the Philadelphia Eagles. Monk was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

Dwight Freeney- Freeney was a defensive end at Syracuse University. He was a first-round pick in 2001. Freeny has played with the Indianapolis Colts, the San Diego Chargers, the Arizona Cardinals, the Atlanta Falcons, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Detroit Lions. He has participated in the Super Bowl in 2007.

Donovan McNabb– McNabb played both football and basketball at Syracuse University.  McNabb was a reserve guard on the basketball team, and noted as one of the best quarterbacks in Syracuse football history. McNabb went on to play for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings.

Larry Csonka– Csonka was inducted into both the College Football Hall of Fame and Professional Football Hall of Fame. Csonka went on to play for the New York Giants and was a member of the Miami Dolphins team that went undefeated in 1973. Csonka also hosted the cable television show ‘North to Alaska.”

Roland Williams– Williams has played for the Oakland Raiders, the St. Louis Rams, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Williams was a Super Bowl champion in 1999. Williams utilized his Whitman School of Management degree to become president and CEO of Football Mentality, LLC.

Will D. Allen– Allen played college football at Syracuse. Allen has also played for the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots.

Joe “Doc” Alexander– Alexander was Syracuse captain two years.  Alexander has played for the New York Giants. In 1954 Syracuse University started the Joseph Alexander Award, given each year to a Syracuse player for excellence in football, scholarship, and citizenship.

Gary Anderson– Anderson was named to Syracuse University’s All-Century team in November, 1999. Anderson has played for the Steelers, Eagles, 49ers, Vikings, and Titans.

Donovin Darius– Darius was a two-time All-Big East competitor and Big East defensive player of the year in 1997. He has played almost exclusively for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He is now on the advisory board for the new American Flag Football League.

Al Davis– Davis is a center and head coach for the Oakland Raiders.

Ernie Davis– Davis lead Syracuse to a national championship as a sophomore. Ernie Davis earned an induction to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979. Davis was the first African-American man to win the Heisman Trophy and to be picked first overall in the NFL draft.

Ernie Davis’ Famous Pose in 2012 SU TV commercial. Photo by Paula Meseroll

Don McPherson–  McPherson was an all-America quarterback at Syracuse University and is a veteran of the NFL and Canadian Football League. McPherson’s jersey is one of five that have been retired at Syracuse.

Floyd Little– Floyd Little was a three-time All-American st Syracuse University. Little went to play for the Denver Broncos. Little served as SU’s special Assistant to the Athletics Director from July of 2011 to June 2016.


Nathan Bombrys– Bombrys was a SU rugby player who now serves as the director of the Glasgow Warriors- a professional Scottish team.


Gary Gait– Gait helped the Orange to three straight NCAA titles, earned first-team All-America honors three times and received the Player of the Year award twice. He is now the Women’s Lacrosse head coach at Syracuse.

Casey Powell– Powell is cited as one of the greatest lacrosse players ever—a difficult claim since he came from a family of lacrosse legends. Powell was the first overall pick by Rochester in the indoor National Lacrosse League. Powell has played professionally for Rochester, Toronto, Chicago, Hamilton, Chesapeake and Florida. He retired in August 2016.


Casimir ‘Jim’ Konstanty– Konstanty played three seasons of varsity basketball for Syracuse University. Konstanty played for the Philadelphia Phillies. He  won the National League Most Valuable Player award in 1950. Konstanty has played for the Cincinnati Reds, Boston Braves, Phillies, New York Yankees, and St. Louis Cardinals.

Doc Oberlander– Oberlander was a  federally appointed sub-agent and physician with the Crow (Apsáalooke) tribe in southeast Montana, and the superintendent of Pryor Creek Boarding School. Oberlander played for the Cleveland Blues in 1888.


Mark Kerr– Kerr is a NCAA Wrestling Champion, a retired MMA fighter, and a two-time UFC Heavyweight Tournament Winner. Kerr is retired and gives advice on fighting addictions.

Mike Rotundo– Rotundo is a professional wrestler with the WWE


Myer Prinstein– Prinstein is the only person to win gold medals for the long and triple jumps in the same Olympic games.

Katie Zafares– Zafares was a two-time All-American performer at Syracuse, and represented the United States at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Zafares won third place t the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Series.

Track & Field

Kathrine Switzer– Although Switzer was not an athlete during her time at Syracuse University, she is the first woman to enter the Boston Marathon. Switzer is an author and Emmy Award-winning TV commentator.

Kathrine Switzer at the 2011 Berlin Marathon Expo. Photo by Marathona

Where They Are Now

Lets cut to the chase: Carmelo Anthony. Former Knicks, current Oklahoma City Thunder NBA player, Carmelo Anthony is one of the most famous athletes to come out of Syracuse University. His fame and success gained so much attraction and wealth that he was able to donate a basketball center to the university. He continues to be philanthropic, and is currently playing in the NBA.

Besides Carmelo, most of the notable athletes are still in their relevant fields, and are giving back to their communities. If you click the link attached to their respective names, you can get a deeper insight into their lives.

CBT XII Coming Back Together 12 2017 Dinner Gala Emceed By Cheryl Wills Singleton Chancellor’s Medal for Philanthropy Awarded to Carmelo Anthony. (Photo by Stephen Sartori)

The Future of Student Athletes

Athletics are continuing to be a major influence in the Syracuse community. In fact, this past year, the student-athletes marked the highest ever graduation success rate. Within all the sports programs, dedicated coaches are ensuring that their players are students first, and athletes after.

This is a tremendous feat after 2013, when Syracuse reported a men’s basketball graduation rate as 45%, compared to the 87% graduation rate for all SU athletes. Things are getting increasingly better for athletes at Syracuse University, and we will see the list of notable Syracuse university athletes grow.

Many knowledge that the probability of being drafted into the national league are low, but many SU athletes have been able to earn spots in the major leagues.

The NCAA released the statistics of athletes making it to the major leagues. The report stated that:

  • 9.1% of NCAA participants in baseball would make it to the Major Pros
  • 1.1% of NCAA Mens Basketball would make it to the Major Pros
  • 0.9% of NCAA Women’s Basketball would make it to the Major Pros
  • 1.5% of NCAA Football players would make it to the Major Pros
  • 5.6% of NCAA Mens Ice Hockey would make it to the Major Pros
  • 1.4% of NCAA Mens Soccer would make it to the Major Pros

Although these numbers can be daunting, it is important to note that many have made it, and there are many career options for student- athletes.

Syracuse University has boasted many notable athletes, and the list will grow. We hope to see more of our current student athletes make it to the major leagues, and follow their predecessors and give back to their community and to the Syracuse community.

About The Author


This site celebrates the people places, and culture that make Central New York one of the most vibrant and livable regions in the country. From Auburn to Utica, from Syracuse, to Ithaca, this is LivableCNY.

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