April 7, 2003 vs. Kansas: 20 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists
Following an epic showing against Texas in the Final Four, Melo didn’t let his team, school, or the basketball world down in the National Championship game against Kansas. Visibly hampered by a back injury he suffered against the Longhorns, Melo weathered the Jayhawks defense and gutted out a 20-point, 10-rebound, 7-assist stat line.
When asked about Melo’s run to the National Championship, Boeheim kept it simple: “He’s a man, man,” said Boeheim. “He knows what to do.” Still a teenager, Anthony put together a mammoth-sized season, carrying Syracuse on his back to the university’s first and only National Championship.
For the 2003 NCAA Tournament, Anthony averaged 20.1 points and 9.8 boards which him a no-brainer for the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player award. From unranked in the preseason to a National Championship and countless accolades, Melo’s freshman season at Syracuse goes down as one of, if not the greatest individual stretches in NCAA Basketball history.