Published on March 19, 2019 at 10:56 pm Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments One of my friends recently called Frank Howard “the player Syracuse fans love to hate.” That was true his sophomore year, when each turnover followed by a short leash led the fans to believe their presumed starting point guard wasn’t good enough.It lessened his junior year, but he still wasn’t NBA-bound Tyus Battle or phenomenal freshman forward Oshae Brissett. He was still Frank Howard: the point guard who turned it over too much.It’s still shown up this year, as Howard’s struggle to return from injury led to questions about his role in the Orange offense. But for all the hate and uncertainty, Howard has two chances to seize history this week.“He’s a tough guy, he’s not gonna give up for anything,” Buddy Boeheim said of Howard. “He’s taught me that, and he’s always been confident in me … It’s been great learning from him and great playing with him.”Howard has an opportunity to become the third Orange starting point guard to lead Syracuse to back-to-back Sweet 16s. If Howard, the only holdover from SU’s 2016 Final Four team, left that final mark on the SU program, he’d no longer be the player that Syracuse fans love to hate. Rather, he’d be cemented as the floor general that consistently stepped his game up when it truly mattered.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I just put it in every play, gotta take charge out there,” Howard said. “…That’s just what I need to bring every night … Just gotta be consistent with that and use what I’ve learned, not just from older seniors but our coaches as well.”Ironically, Howard entered ESPN and Scout’s high school recruiting lists as a shooting guard. But he fit the mold of a tall Syracuse point guard that Boeheim could use at the top of SU’s 2-3 zone. His first step was to make a crowded backcourt rotation as a freshman.Howard did that and more, backing up Michael Gbinije en route to the 2016 Final Four. There wasn’t much to hate then. Howard was just the unknown first-year guard who came in to make a few plays.Alexandra Moreo | Senior Staff PhotographerBut, in a flash, Howard was the known commodity on a very new team his sophomore year. Before the season began, it was Howard’s show to run. No one knew what John Gillon would accomplish in his one year as Syracuse’s point guard in 2017.That’s when the hate started. He missed all nine shots against UConn. He turned the ball over six times against Georgetown. He only reached double-figures once in conference play. His performance against the Hoyas prompted one fan to tweet, “Frank Howard is pretty much useless at this point. Get him out and keep him out.”But the grad transfer Gillon recently told The Daily Orange that he looked up to the sophomore Howard during his time at Syracuse despite playing ahead of him. Gillon saw what maybe no one else could see yet — that Howard’s work ethic could make the bad times better. And it did, as Howard averaged 14.4 points per game and led the Orange in assists as a junior.“The fact that he had to deal with people doubting him basically the whole time he was at the school and he still leads the team through big games says a lot about his character,” Gillon said via text.Then, in his first March as a key cog, Howard propelled a historic defensive run with three Syracuse wins in five days and a spot in the Sweet 16. With all five starters back and additions around them, Howard’s senior year was supposed to be even better.But he was injured in the preseason, an absence he called “hell.” Howard’s shooting touch didn’t come back right away even when he returned, and he seemed uninterested or unable to drive to the basket.All of a sudden, though, after months of looking not quite healthy or not quite good enough, Howard performed the best he has in his career in the ACC tournament. A late 3 against Duke gave him a career-high 28 points. The shot from the summer that Boeheim raved so frequently about during the season was there, and just in time.The career night pushed Howard to 992 points in his Syracuse career. He’s playing as well as he has all season, and he’ll likely hit the 1000-point mark on Thursday against Baylor.“Around this time of the year I finally got my body right to feel comfortable to attack,” Howard said, “and that’s just what I’ve been trying to do.”When Howard committed to Syracuse as a high school junior, he told The Washington Post it was because of a “family feel.” Maybe Howard’s role for three-plus years in the SU family has been to be that player that every family has, the one “everyone loves to hate.” But as the days wind down on Howard’s career donning Orange, he gets one more chance to shift the narrative.Another March run, this time as the feel-good senior who recovered from injury, could make him the player Syracuse fans simply love.Billy Heyen is a senior staff writer for The Daily Orange where his column appears occasionally. He can be reached at email@example.com or @Wheyen3.
THE @StLouisBlues HAVE WON THEIR FIRST #StanleyCup! pic.twitter.com/bAgshgwlNn— NHL (@NHL) June 13, 2019As fans filled Enterprise Center for a final watch party, and as thousands more looked on at the Cardinals’ Busch Stadium, St. Louis came together to see history be made. They watched Jordan Binnington stand tall in goal and Blues skaters put four past Tuukka Rask.SN SHOP: Get Blues championship gearThe victory was also heard around the world, as celebrities, athletes and other St. Louis fans took to the Internet to react to Game 7. Here’s just some of what Blues fans had to say about the historic run that ended in captain Alex Pietrangelo hoisting the Stanley Cup.Congratulations to St. Louis Blues. What a series. Looked more like “home ice disadvantage” series…👏🏼🏆🔝#stanleycup # St.LouisBlues #nhl https://t.co/j2mIOoAH5X— Pleky14 (@TomasPleky14) June 13, 2019YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN GREATNESS IS AROUND THE CORNER! That’s why you BATTLE ! CONGRATS TO THE ST LOUIS BLUES!!!! WOW! YOU DID IT!!!!!— Coach Gary Pinkel (@GaryPinkel) June 13, 2019Wow… what a season and what an ending! Congratulations to the @StLouisBlues! We can all learn so many lessons from this team and their journey to the top! #StanleyCup— Kendall Coyne Schofield (@KendallCoyne) June 13, 2019GLORIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA— Tony X (@soIoucity) June 13, 2019Congrats @StLouisBlues! I lived in St. Louis for 8 years and it is a true hockey town with a lot of great fans. Plus it’s cool to have lived in a city that has actually won a cup in my lifetime.— Kyle O’Reilly (@KORcombat) June 13, 2019STANLEY CUP CHAMPS!!!! @StLouisBlues #STLFOREVER— Bradley Beal (@RealDealBeal23) June 13, 2019ST LOUIS FOREVER!!! https://t.co/nS5512bGkm— Jayson Tatum (@jaytatum0) June 13, 2019Congrats @StLouisBlues on your #StanleyCup win! https://t.co/iabzaDpxMQ— Ozzy Osbourne (@OzzyOsbourne) June 13, 2019SWEET victory for @jennafischer and the @StLouisBlues! #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/a3Bc4w9i8G— NHL (@NHL) June 13, 2019Congrats to the @StLouisBlues & city of STL on winning the Stanley Cup… been a long time coming, but that only makes it sweeter! No greater place to enjoy a championship! Enjoyed the ride from afar… and will enjoy watching you all celebrate, miss you STL!— Kurt Warner (@kurt13warner) June 13, 2019What a series..congrats to two of the best @otterN9NE and of course the Conn Smythe winner Ryan O’Reilly #youllwannahangontothatguy— Matt Moulson (@MMoulson) June 13, 2019 It finally happened.After 52 years of heartbreak and being dead last in the NHL back in January, the St. Louis Blues were able to overcome the Boston Bruins and win the franchise’s first Stanley Cup title with a 4-1 victory in Game 7 of the final Wednesday.