I’m going to start right off the bat and admit that I wasn’t entirely clear on where to put this, in terms of categories on the site. I’m going to be talking about Syracuse University basketball, but actual on court action is hardly going to be the a crucial part of this entry. So after some deliberation, I decided that this belongs squarely in the realm of pop culture. Pop culture, Canada, and idiocy. Still on board? Great! Then let’s carry on!

Earlier today, I was thinking about Billy Owens. This isn’t some random, obsessive thing that I typically engage in. It’s not like in my spare time I sit in the dark, my thoughts wandering to a guy who has become one of the most under-appreciated superstars that Jim Boeheim’s program has ever produced (he averaged 23 points and 12 boards as a junior, for goodness sake).

So, I started to think about writing something up in defense of Billy Owens as one of the greatest players to ever don an Orangeman jersey, and upon doing a quick Google search to get a better idea of what the Carlisle, Pennsylvania native has been up to these days, I quickly discovered that, as of about seven years ago, he’s no longer the only Billy Owens on that first page of search results.

Imagine my surprise – and delight – in discovering that in 2008, a terrible, horrible, no-good Canadian “movie” was produced called “The Mystical Adventures of Billy Owens.” Sadly, this was not a movie about how our Billy Owens, fresh from his retirement from the NBA, moved to Calgary and learned to be a sorcerer. Instead, it was about an 11 year old boy who discovers he’s got magical powers. So in other words, it’s a tremendously stupid Harry Potter knockoff.

But amazingly, it gets better, because it turns out that The Mystical Adventures of Billy Owens, along with the sequel, a 2010 masterpiece called Billy Owens and the Secret of the Runes, were both directed by a guy whose last name is McNabb. It felt like Syracuse fan kismet. And the cherry on the sundae? Both films star wrestling legend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.

I don’t care what the reviews say, or that IMDb rates them as 2.5 star and 3.7 star films, respectively, on a scale of 1-to-10. But don’t let me try to sell you on the glory that are the Mystical Adventures of Billy Owens. After all, there’s a trailer for that:

Let’s ignore the fact that this thing looks like it was shot on an iPhone, edited in iMovie, with special effects courtesy of someone sneezing on the footage. Ignore the fact that the budget appeared to be about $550, half of which probably went to keeping Roddy Piper’s liquor cabinet full. Just bask in the glory of that ridiculous trailer, which looks like something slapped together as a joke.

This got me thinking about the possibility of other former Syracuse players, and how they might fit into the world of fantasy and make believe. If I were a young, aspiring hack of a children’s book author, which former Orangeman’s name would I co-opt for my terrible knockoff?

Marius Janulis

I immediately had to eliminate this one, because it sounds too much like the name of a Bond villain working on something called the Janus Device, hoping to control the very fabric of time to hold the world hostage.

Elvir Ovcina

Again, this one was no good because if you slap a title like “Dr.” or “Prof.” at the front, it sounds like the name of an arch-nemesis of the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards, who goes by the name “The Mad Bomber.”

Gerry McNamara

A true Syracuse hero, but I’m not sure he’s got time to engage in mystical, magical adventures since he’s already busy training for his big fight against Mike Tyson.

I mean, he's already named Little Mac.
I mean, he’s already named Little Mac.
Michael Carter-Williams

Maybe I’m a little too familiar with the Joss Whedonverse, but having three names like that just automatically makes him seem like a nebbish, often cowardly sidekick who, while he comes through in the clutch and earns the hero’s admiration, will never carry the adventure on his own.

Dave Bing

Nah, too much of a risk that you’d get sued by Microsoft.

Eric Devendorf

Let’s be honest here: this sounds like the name of the hero’s nerdy best friend who gets a morning, afternoon, and evening swirly every day at school.

John Wallace

Now we’re getting somewhere. This sounds like the name of an adventurer, who overcomes impossible odds, finds the treasure, and gets the girl. But does he sound magical? Not really. Maybe next time, J-Dub.

Lazarus Sims

One of the coolest sounding names in Syracuse basketball history, but it sounds more like the alter-ego of a comic book antihero. He’ll save the day, but only on his terms.

Jason Hart

Nah, sounds way too much like a one hit wonder pop singer.

As you can see, I was struggling to come up with a name that pops out, that says “fun and adventure,” and that feels like it belongs on the covers of numerous cheap Harry Potter imitations. And then, it hit me. There’s only one name, and when you hear it, you’ll realize that there was truly no other valid option.

Jonny Flynn

It’s perfect. Jonny exudes boyishness while also sounding heroic. After all, people John/Jon/Jonny are often nicknamed Jack, a name that’s become so synonymous with heroism that there’s a full archetype built around heroes with that name alone (Jack the Giant Killer, Jack Bauer, Jack Shepard, Jack Sparrow). John itself is often used as a hero’s name (John Rambo, John McClane, the¬†30 different characters¬†that John Wayne played, who were all named John).

And Flynn brings to mind Errol Flynn, who in turn brings to mind the buckling of swashes (I’m not sure this is an actual term) from his roles in movies like Robin Hood, The Sea Hawk, and Captain Blood. To be honest, I’m not sure you could come up with a more perfect hero name than Jack/John Flynn if you tried. And here we’ve got Jonny Flynn – the Jonny also reminiscent of Johnny Quest, another children’s action hero.

Jonny Flynn and the Six Overtimes. Jonny Flynn and Whatever the Hell a Hoya Is. Jonny Flynn and the Dynasty of Doom.

It’s perfect. It’s beyond perfect. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to move to Alberta and start pitching my movie, which I’m assuming, based on the Mystical Adventures of Billy Owens, I’ll be able to fully fund by collecting a few bottles and cans along the way.

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Jeff is a 2003 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been published on various websites including,,,, and, among others. His work was featured in the New York Times bestselling book You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News. He's got a wife, and a toddler he's brainwashing to love Syracuse. Jeff's a pretty great guy, overall, and would never steal your car. Follow him on Twitter: @jekelish