Syracuse Basketball: Projecting the Orange's 2013-14 Rotation
Have you gotten over the Michigan loss? Are you okay? Breathe.
All is not bleak. There's a fresh new crop of recruits coming in and enough solid returnees to give us all reason to look forward to next season.
Nah, let's take a peek at what the 2013-14 Syracuse rotation just might look like, by position group. I will designate starters and bench contributors.
Ennis is a 5-star recruit, according to Scout.com, out of St. Benedict's Prep in New Jersey, who finished second in the final USA Today Top 25 poll.
The 6'2", 175-pound point guard is great in transition with a high basketball IQ and a healthy attitude. After finding out he was passed over for the McDonald's All-American game he dropped 53 points. Love that.
The 6'4", 195-pound Cooney didn't quite display the three-point shooting touch we had heard about. He put up 105 shots from beyond the arc, making only 26.7 percent. The Orange will have to bank on the game slowing down for him as he gets more minutes and experience.
He is an active defender.
The 6'3", 180-pound Indianapolis native originally committed to Indiana before signing with Syracuse. Patterson has a nice touch and finishes well in transition. He could use some work on his ball-handling.
Ennis arrives with the hype and game to step in and run the show. As always, especially for Jim Boeheim, it's a bit nerve-racking to give the keys to the offense to a young buck. But there's no choice, and he appears capable.
Cooney will have to step up and show more than he did this past season. For the most part, it looked like the game moved too quickly and overwhelmed him.
The biggest concern is the lack of a true backup point guard. Neither Cooney nor Patterson are really point guards. It appears that Cooney will have to handle the ball when Ennis is out of the game. That is worrisome right now.
I am going ahead and making the assumption that Fair will return next season. He will unquestionably be the team's star. The 6'8", 215-pound Fair is poised to have a season worthy of first-team All-ACC selection and a place on All-America teams.
I know he has spent most of his time in Syracuse at center, but not next year. Working at power forward, the 6'9", 242-pound Christmas has to step up next year and play like the McDonald's All-American he was in high school. It's time.
He has great athleticism but needs to be more aggressive. I know he will only be a freshman, but Ennis needs to inspire Christmas to play with the same chip on his shoulder that he does.
The 6'8", 203-pound Grant far exceeded the expectations he came to Syracuse with. Unlike Cooney, the game never seemed to overwhelm him and he played with great energy and athleticism.
I am really looking forward to more of Jerami.
The 6'7" 190-pound 4-star recruit, according to Scout.com, from Union, NJ is expected to come in and contribute right away. He started as a post player and has done a nice job of moving his game further from the basket. He is a great rebounder who runs the floor well.
He had a terrific senior season, averaging 17.5 points and 11.7 rebounds per game.
The 6'7", 200-pound Duke transfer has spent this season practicing with the team while sitting out his transfer redshirt season. As a freshman at Duke, he played 5.8 minutes per game and averaged 1.7 points and .8 rebounds per game.
He had a stellar high school career in Virginia culminating with a state championship his senior year, when he averaged 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists per game. He was named first-team All-State.
The 6'7" 165-pound Johnson comes from Lower Merion High in Ardmore, Pa., the same school that gave us Kobe Bryant. He has great athleticism and runs the floor well. Johnson is a great shot-blocker and rebounder.
The forwards will be the overwhelming strength of next year's team. C.J.Fair will lead a deep and talented group.
Fair will compete for All-American status as the undisputed leader of the Orange. Christmas is just too athletic and talented to continue just being okay. He needs to play with more fire and nastiness. Jerami Grant is going to be a star and will see more minutes next year and prove he deserves them.
The freshmen will contribute, especially Roberson.
The 6'9", 288-pound Coleman played in 24 games this season, starting 20. Much like predecessors Rakeem Christmas and Fab Melo, Coleman may have started but didn't generally stay in too long. He averaged only 12.7 minutes per game while scoring 4.8 points and grabbing 4.0 rebounds.
Just like Kris Joseph, Dion Waiters and Melo before him, Coleman has the chance next season to step up big time after a season of little production.
Coleman came to Syracuse out of nearby Jamesville-DeWitt High where he won three state championships. His senior year saw him average 25 points and 15 rebounds while being named New York's Mr. Basketball. He was a starter in the McDonald's All-American game.
You won't recognize the 2013-14 DaJuan Coleman.
Baye Moussa Keita
The 6'10", 215-pound Keita comes off the bench with great energy and showed some nice touch inside down the stretch this year to go with his outstanding rebounding and shot-blocking ability.
The 6'9", 205-pounder from nearby Rochester's Bishop Kearney High will remind most of Keita. He is stronger defensively than offensively and is mobile with tons of energy.
Coleman has far too much talent to only be so-so again. It takes big men a bit longer than guards to adapt to the college game and I don't think Coleman will need yet another year to complete his transition.
Like Melo two years ago, even though Coleman sat a lot, he remained engaged and ready to play when he did get minutes. It struck me that during the NCAA Final Four run, it was Coleman in the middle of the circle as the Orange swayed and screamed right before tipoff.
Keita will be a great mentor for the young Obokoh.
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