Syracuse Basketball: Strengths and Weaknesses of the 2013 Recruiting Class
I'll be in the Carrier Dome on March 6 as the Orange take on DePaul and the fans get to say goodbye to seniors James Southerland and Brandon Triche.
College basketball rosters turn over quicker than ever before and while the 2012-13 Orange only lose two seniors, and probably sophomore Michael Carter-Williams, the same fans who will say goodbye this spring will get to welcome a new class of players in the fall.
Is one of the class of 2013 going to turn out to be a sharpshooter from long distance like Southerland?
Will one of them display a complete floor game, high basketball IQ and the Cal Ripken-like work ethic that saw Triche start every game in his four-year Orange career?
We'll soon find out. Until then, let's take a look at the class and some strengths and weaknesses of each.
Point Guard Tyler Ennis
Tyler Ennis is the reason that Orange Nation isn't breathing into a brown paper bag over the likely departure of Michael Carter-Williams. Ennis is a 6'2" 175-pound point guard out of Newark, N.J.'s St. Benedict's Prep, whom Scout.com ranks as a 5-star recruit and the fifth best point guard in the nation.
Ennis is outstanding in transition which fits right in with the Orange up-tempo game. His passing ability is considered great, again making him a natural in a running game.
Ennis is a pure point guard with good vision and the ability to make his teammates better. He has a high basketball IQ and rates as a decent shooter and rebounder.
Perhaps Ennis' biggest strength is his attitude. A little adversity can lead to a chip on a player's shoulder, which can carry him a long way. As examples, see Brady, Tom and Rodgers, Aaron.
Recently, Ennis was passed over for the prestigious McDonald's All-American game. That night, he scored 53 points. Gotta love chips.
While Ennis is closer to Brandon Triche than Michael Carter-Williams when it comes to his build, he could still improve his strength. That should happen once he gets to Syracuse and the trainers get hold of him.
He also could improve as a scorer. While the Orange won't need him to score a ton of points, he does need to keep defenses honest.
Power Forward Tyler Roberson
Tyler Roberson is a 6'7" 190-pound power forward out of Roselle Catholic High in Union, N.J. Scout.com ranks Roberson a 4-star recruit and the 14th best power forward in the class.
Roberson is long and athletic—a Boeheim special who started as a post player and has done a good job of moving his game farther away from the basket. His outside game is really developing. He can put the ball on the deck and is becoming a decent shooter from outside.
He is a great rebounder and good passer who runs the court very well. Again, a great fit for the Orange transition game.
Long and athletic usually means pretty thin also. Roberson needs work on his strength and could stand to put some pounds on.
He does need some work on his defense, which might come a bit easier at the back of the 2-3 zone than in a man-to-man defense.
Roberson does need to be more consistent also. Something tells me that constantly leaving the game to sit next to coach Boeheim will help him.
Shooting Guard Ron Patterson
Patterson had committed to Indiana before changing his mind and deciding to head to the Carrier Dome. The 6'3" 180-pound guard from Broad Ripple High in Indianapolis is rated a 3-star recruit by Scout.com and the 25th best shooting guard in the class.
Patterson is a physical, athletic player with a long wingspan. This makes him a great fit on the top of that 2-3 zone. Add that to the fact that he's a terrific defensive player, and I see great things from him already.
Offensively, Patterson combines a nice touch out to three-point range with an ability to finish in transition. Another great fit.
He's also a good rebounder for a guard.
While Patterson can shoot and finish, he could improve his ball handling and ability to get his own shot.
Small Forward B.J. Johnson
Syracuse fans sure hope that Johnson takes after another alum of Lower Merion High in Ardmore, Pa. First name only will suffice. That would be Kobe.
Scout.com ranks the 6'7", 165-pound Johnson as a 4-star recruit and the 21st best small forward in the class.
Johnson has great athleticism and runs the floor very well. He does a great job of getting to the rim.
Defensively, he is a good shot blocker and rebounder.
Johnson is one of the youngest members of the class of 2013. At 165 pounds, he obviously needs to fill out and improve his strength.
He also needs work on his ball handling and getting his shot off quicker.
Power Forward/Center Chinonso Obokoh
Obokoh will make the short trip from Rochester, N.Y.'s Bishop Kearney High to the Carrier Dome. Scout.com ranks the 6'9" 205-pound Obokoh a 3-star recruit and the 25th best center in the class.
Obokoh is much stronger defensively than he is offensively. There will be lots of comparisons made to current Orange center, Baye Moussa Keita.
Obokoh is very mobile and plays with high energy. His athleticism helps him to be very good on the boards.
He is very raw on offense and clearly needs to fill out and improve his strength.