The Syracuse Orange just wrapped up an excellent 2012-13 campaign. It was a season of ups and downs, with the Orange being ranked as high as No. 3 and as low as No. 17. Syracuse ended its season with a loss to Michigan in the Final Four.
Though three important starters will be gone next year, the Orange will once again field a solid team in 2013.
Starting guard Brandon Triche and starting forward James Southerland will both be graduating. Star point guard Michael Carter-Williams announced he will be entering the upcoming NBA draft.
With NCAA basketball's initial signing date beginning in just a few days, let's take a look at the likely replacements for those who are leaving.
Tyler Ennis, a 4-star recruit, is one of the top point guard prospects in the nation. Now that 2012 starter Michael Carter-Williams has announced he's entering the NBA draft, the door is open for Ennis to run the point for Syracuse in 2013.
Replacing Carter-Williams won't be easy, as his 6'6" frame presented a challenge to opposing guards. He was also a playmaker who was one of the top assist guys in the nation. Probably the weakest area of his game was his scoring ability.
That's where Ennis should surpass Carter-Williams. The freshman, while still having an ability to pass, is more of a scorer. His ESPN Recruiting Nation scouting report states:
"Ennis is a great play maker that can also run the team. He can score from a variety of areas on the floor and get teammates involved with his ability to handle and pass on the move."
He recently showed his skills at the National High School Invitational. According to Paul Biancardi on ESPN.com, Ennis was the best point guard at the event, averaging 18 points in three games. He also added 10 steals and averaged just under four assists per game.
Though losing Carter-Williams hurts the Orange, it seems that Ennis is a capable successor who's primed to be the next great Orange player.
Cooney will likely be the one to start the season at the shooting guard position left open by the graduation of Brandon Triche. Though inconsistent play plagued the redshirt freshman last year, he'll have a full year of practice to improve.
He finished the year averaging just 3.4 points a game.
Despite the low output, Cooney does have the potential to be a solid guard for the Orange. He showed his ability in the December 8 game against Monmouth. In that contest, he totaled 15 points, including five of nine from three-point land.
As a recruit in 2011, his ESPN scouting report stated, "Cooney is one of the better sharp shooters in the country. He'll do the necessary things on the court to win games."
Considering his experience from 2012, in which he averaged 11.2 minutes a game, Cooney is the likely candidate to start the year as Brandon Triche's replacement.
Tyler Roberson is ranked 27th on ESPN's top 100 list for 2013. He's a talented forward who'll have a chance to make an impact right away at Syracuse.
The departure of forward James Southerland leaves an opening for Roberson. Southerland spent most of the past season coming off the bench, until late in the year when he earned a starting spot.
Sophomore Jerami Grant filled in for Southerland when he was not on the court and will likely take the role of sixth man next season.
Roberson will add depth to the Syracuse frontcourt, something that the Orange grew used to having last year.
According to his Recruiting Nation scouting report, "Roberson is a long and athletic forward who can attack inside and out." While he doesn't have the outside ability that Southerland possessed, he'll be a solid inside presence who could surprise from farther out.