Well, the votes have been cast, and we have our winner. With a whopping 70.8% of the final vote in the championship round, Otto’s Ultimate Orangeman is the one and only Derrick Coleman.
It was a long, arduous journey for Derrick Coleman to take the Ultimate Orangeman crown, topping Lazarus Sims in the opening round before coming up against the man who gave us The Block, Hakim Warrick, in round two. After that, the all-time leading rebounder topped the all-time leading scorer, Lawrence Moten, before squaring off against the legendary Dave Bing in a battle for Detroit supremacy in the semifinals.
Coleman knocked off Bing in a bit of an upset, and found himself facing the fifth-seeded Carmelo Anthony in the championship round. It seemed poised to be a slugfest, but it quickly turned into an ass-kicking as DC pummeled Melo with his NBA Rookie of the Year trophy to capture the title.
And really, who can argue against DC as the Ultimate Orangeman? Not only did he sport the storied #44, not only did he average a double-double for his entire career, not only did he set an NCAA championship game record for rebounds as a freshman, not only is he the only Syracuse player to have been drafted #1 overall, but he’s a guy who can be found at every big Syracuse hoops game, and even many of the smaller ones, to this day. The man simply loves Syracuse basketball.
The unfortunate thing about DC’s legacy is that people view his NBA career as a little bit of a disappointment, but maybe those people need to stop and look at his overall numbers. This is a guy who averaged 16.5 points and 9.3 rebounds-per-game in 15 NBA seasons. His playoff numbers were even better. During the 1993 and 1994 playoffs, the man was a one man wrecking crew. In ’93, he averaged 26.8 points and 13.4 boards, and the following season put in 24.5 and 14.3. For his career, he posted playoff averages of 16.8 points and 9.9 rebounds in 39 games.
He was a Big East Rookie of the Year and a Big East Player of the Year. At the time he left Syracuse, he was the all-time leading rebounder in NCAA Division I history with 1,537 in his four year career.
So here’s to you, Derrick Coleman. You truly are the Ultimate Orangeman.