Syracuse University to honor Bouie in a very special way

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 9 January 2015 at 12:00 am

Photo by Mike Wertman – Former Kendall High and Syracuse University basketball star Roosevelt Bouie, who will have his uniform number retired by Syracuse later this month, meets here with several of Kendall’s senior players. They include, from left, Mookie Nauden, Will Condo, Taylor Kingsbury and Tania Arellano. They are in front of the case which displays Bouie’s retired Kendall jersey.

During his scholastic days at Kendall High Roosevelt Bouie led the Eagles to four straight Section V basketball championships.

His prowess on the court earned him a scholarship to Syracuse University where he became a four year starter.

Bouie teamed up with Louie Orr in what became known as the “Louie and Bouie Show” to lead the Orange to four straight NCAA Tournament berths and the inaugural Big East championship in their senior year of 1980.

Kendall has already retired his jersey and now Syracuse will be doing likewise in what will fittingly be a special reunion of the “Louie and Bouie Show.”

In ceremonies scheduled for halftime of the February 21 Pittsburgh at Syracuse game, the Orange will retire not only Bouie’s No. 50 jersey but Orr’s No. 55 as well.

“It doesn’t happen to many people and it’s really a great honor to be going in with Louie,” said Bouie. “It’s nothing we planned but I’m glad we can be together. Louie is a great teammate and a great friend.”

During his collegiate career, Bouie scored 1,560 points for the Orange and also grabbed off 987 rebounds and had 327 blocks. He still ranks second on the Syracuse all-time list in blocks and is seventh in rebounds.

Orr likewise was a 1,000 point scorer (1,487) and grabbed off 881 rebounds during his career.

Both players were named to the Orange’s All-Century team.

Following his career at Syracuse, Bouie played professional ball in Italy for a dozen years averaging over 16 points and 10 rebounds.

His relationship with his alma mater remains close as he is does the pre and post game TV shows for the Syracuse basketball games.

“I am the biggest Syracuse fan on the planet,” he said. “I eat, sleep and drink Syracuse Orange.”

To be sure for Bouie three things are of paramount importance in his life – family, Kendall and Syracuse – and all are interrelated in special way.

“My mother and grandmother set me on the right path and my cousin Aaron, who was a great player, taught me a great work ethic to always play hard and play together as a team, a work ethic which I’ve always followed,” said Bouie in speaking of his close family ties.

And after playing professional basketball in Italy for a dozen years, Bouie chose to make his home where he first learned to play and love basketball – Kendall.

“I started to play basketball when I was 13 when we moved to Kendall,” said Bouie who points to the important lessons imparted to the Eagles players by Coach Dick Reynolds. “Coach Reynolds always stressed to us that when we got to the game we had be ready to go right from the start and to play hard and as a team.”

Almost fittingly, when Bouie returned to Kendall in the mid 1990’s several of his former teammates had sons who were starting to play for the Eagles and he readily joined in to help them polish their basketball skills.

“It was a lot of fun working with them and passing on that winning tradition,” he said. “It was like having 12 kids of my own and they were good players. They ended up winning the sectionals.”

Bouie’s ties with Kendall were once again strengthened more recently when his nephew Isaiah Brown came to live with him and played basketball his senior year at Kendall during the 2013-14 season.

“It was a great experience to work with him and to watch him improve during the season and it got me back in touch wit the school,” said Bouie. “I’ve always felt connected to Kendall. When I played I always believed you represent your family, your school and your community and it was the same when I went to Syracuse.”

“Rosie is a special member of the Kendall community who has always been willing to give back to Kendall,” said Kendall High Principal Carol D’Agostino who was a classmate of Bouie’s at Kendall.  “Most people know Rosie because of his basketball skills.  During his junior and senior years, Kendall was 44 -0.  Obviously, Rosie was a huge reason for the success of Kendall’s program at that time.  Rosie is always willing to give credit to his teammates.  This winter we were watching Syracuse on Time Warner Sports Channel where Roosevelt was a commentator.  He talked about Kendall during the broadcast.  One of the topics being discussed was foul shooting.  Rosie admitted that he was not the best foul shooter on the Kendall Varsity team, he publicly said that he could never beat Dave Cole during practice.  He readily acknowledged that it takes a team playing together to have success.”

“Rosie is a humble man who wants to make a difference”, she added.  “On multiple occasions, he has agreed to come to the high school to positively impact our current students.  Last year he was our commencement speaker and stressed the importance of hard work and determination.  A few years ago he addressed the entire student body about the characteristics each person must display if he/she wants to be successful.  It will be a proud day for Rosie and the entire Kendall community when his number is retired at Syracuse.  We are all proud of his accomplishments on and off the basketball court. ”

And just as is the case with Kendall, Bouie has kept close ties with those he played with at Syracuse. He has been vey active in the Alumni Association and in various charity and benefit events as well as his work with the Syracuse basketball TV network.

“We support each other,” said Bouie of the close knit Syracuse basketball alumni. “We all played for the same coach (Jim Boeheim) so it’s like a fraternity.”

And on February 21 the Syracuse basketball fraternity will show its appreciation for his contributions to the school when they retire Bouie’s No. 50 along with the No. 55 of his good friend Louie Orr. And to be sure a good number of his former teammates and friends from Kendall will be on hand to help him celebrate the special occasion.

“To me, the thing that I have truly come to appreciate about Roosevelt Bouie — aside from his unbelievable career in basketball — is the fact that he never lost his roots; and although he is still very much rooted in this community, I think this community is still very much rooted in him,” said Kendall Athletic Director Kevin Watson. “He has traveled the world, learned to speak new languages, and experienced all of the thrills that come along with being a professional athlete and ambassador for the game of basketball. But, in the end, even though he’s been inducted in nearly every hall of fame that exists and he is going to have his jersey raised to the Carrier Dome’s rafters in a few weeks, he is still “Rosey” — the kid who grew up in Kendall that loved to fish — who still fishes. Fame didn’t change him. “