Coach Jim Boeheim and former stud recruit Michael Carter-Williams
College basketball, unlike the NBA, relies on recruiting and not drafting to acquire new players. A coach's success in the living room will determine his success on the court.
Recruiting is about relationship building and taking time to get to know not only the player, but his family. It's a process that demands coaches look for the players they will need a few years down the line.
Syracuse's class of 2013 is set, and we'll discuss a possible change to that in a bit, so it's time to focus on the class of 2014.
What will the Orange's needs be in two years? Let's take a look and rank them by priority.
MCW will be long gone
Orange fans can hope and maybe, just maybe, Michael Carter-Williams returns for his junior year. But there's no chance he comes back in 2014. That's the bad news.
The good news is that his replacement is on the way. Tyler Ennis, a 6'2" 4-star point guard has committed to Syracuse for 2013. Ennis is great in transition and should fit in with the Orange's up-tempo offense easily. Should Carter-Williams head to the NBA this year, Ennis will step in and start next year.
However, he will be the only point guard on the roster in 2014-15 if another isn't brought in. While Syracuse only has three guards this year, Brandon Triche is a capable point guard who can spell Carter-Williams.
Syracuse will need that someone to backup Ennis in two years. And I hate to bring this up...but it's also the most pressing need just in case Carter-Williams does leave this year and Ennis follows him after only one year in orange.
Shooting guard will be the second most pressing recruiting need for the class of 2014. The projected starter is Trevor Cooney, who will be a redshirt junior.
Behind him will be another 2013 commit, Ron Patterson, a 6'2" 3-star who had verbally committed to Indiana before deciding on Syracuse. Patterson is a slasher who is better at taking it to the rim than hitting from deep.
Today's college teams have to be able to hit some from the outside. So far, Cooney hasn't lived up to his hype as a three-point shooter. Neither of the 2013 guards, Ennis and Patterson, project to be strong threats from the outside.
That makes a shooting guard who can shoot from deep a need for 2014.
There could be a serious question at center in 2014. One would expect DaJuan Coleman to be the starter in his junior year. He should be backed up by incoming 2013 commit, 6'9" 3-star center Chinonso Obokoh. Projected starting power forward Rakeem Christmas can also play center.
Why the serious question? The possibility, albeit a remote one, is that Coleman and/or Christmas could leave after next season for the NBA.
I don't think that either will leave, but that possibility has to be accounted for when it comes to planning and recruiting for 2014.
Power forward is shaping up pretty well for the Orange in 2014. Assuming he doesn't leave, Christmas will be the starter and should be one of the best at his position in the ACC.
Incoming 2013 commit, 6'7" 4-star Tyler Roberson will be a terrific backup to Christmas. Roberson is currently ranked as a top 50 player in the Class of 2013.
Also on the Orange in 2014 will be 6'10" 5-star stud Chris McCullough. I mentioned the class of 2013 being set with one possible exception. McCullough is that exception.
He has committed to the Orange for 2014 but is considering the very trendy move of "reclassifying" to the class of 2013. This becomes an interesting situation since Syracuse is filled up with scholarship players for 2013.
What then, you ask?
Going back to our discussion of Carter-Williams, if he leaves then a scholarship would be available for McCullough. If that doesn't happen, it's possible that coach Jim Boeheim could pull a scholarship from someone else and give it to McCullough. Scholarships are not guaranteed for four years as they can be revoked on an annual basis.
Small forward should be a strength in 2014 in Syracuse. Jerami Grant will be a great player in his junior year, with All-American capability.
The class of 2013 is filling every position and the small forward will be B.J. Johnson, a 6'7" 3-star player with sky-scraping athletic ability.
Another small forward in 2014 will be Duke transfer Mike Gbinije who is redshirting this season.
That's why small forward will be the least of the 2104 recruiting priorities.