As soon as G-Mac stepped on the Cuse campus, he was an impact player. He started every game as a freshman and averaged 13 points, 4.6 dimes, and 2.2 steals per game for a team that went on to win the national championship. Everyone remembers Melo obviously, and Hakim Warrick (“the block”), but people forget that McNamara was a valuable contributor as a freshman. As a sophomore G-Mac did not slow down. He averaged 17.2 points per game, was a Wooden and Naismith award candidate, and finished 2nd team all Big East. He hit a school record 9 trey balls and finished with 43 against BYU in the first round of the tourney that year.
NBA range, step backs, off a feed, off the bounce…it didn’t matter where it was coming from, Gerry was splashing it home.
Junior year G-Mac led the Orange to another solid year, he averaged 15.8 and helped Cuse get the Big East tournament championship. But it was McNamara’s senior year that made him such a boss. After a disappointing year, Cuse was below .500 and had no shot at making the tournament unless they made a miraculous run in the Big East tourny. He was voted the “Most overrated player in the conference” just before the tourny began. Syracuse’s own school newspaper called him overrated. With a bad leg, G-Mac led Cuse past cincy in the first round, and then hit a 3 in the final seconds of the game to force OT against #1 in the country UCONN. Cuse ended up winning that game to set up a battle with rival Georgetown. G-Mac hit 5 three’s in the second half and got a game-clinching steal in the final seconds of the game to put Cuse in the championship. Fittingly, McNamara led them to a win in the Big East championship over Pitt. After the win G-Mac goes: “Wait….overrated??”
2006 Big East Tournament Highlights:
I was at that championship game and let me tell you…watching this guy play was special. The Eminem look-alike was one of those players that you knew never held anything back. You could tell this guy cared about winning and winning only. Today he is back at Syracuse as an assistant coach.