The Syracuse Orange have once again landed a solid recruiting class, landing in the ESPN Top 10 for the third time in five years. The Orange's 2013 class is ranked seventh on ESPN.com, 11th by Rivals.com and sixth by Scout.com
Head coach Jim Boeheim did an excellent job of getting players who will fill holes in the depth chart caused by graduation and exiting for the NBA draft. Syracuse must replace three starters from it's Final Four team, including both backcourt positions.
Let's take a look at the newest recruits who'll be heading to upstate New York in hopes of returning the Orange to a second consecutive Final Four.
Tyler Ennis is ranked by Rivals.com as the fourth-best point guard and is a 5-star recruit. He is a good shooter and an excellent passer who will have an opportunity to make an early impact for the Orange.
Current point guard Michael-Carter Williams recently decided to leave school and head into the NBA draft.
According to his ESPN Recruiting Nation scouting report (subscription required), "Ennis can run the offense and is a terrific play maker and crafty finisher in the lane."
The Orange were used to having a playmaker run the point in Carter-Williams. Ennis will now look to produce for Syracuse in that role.
One area Ennis needs to improve in is his three-point shooting.
Even with that weakness, Ennis, who's ranked 44th in the ESPN 100, is a top prospect and is a huge sign for the Orange.
He'll be looked to as a leader on offense and has the potential to develop into a very talented player at Syracuse.
Four-star power forward Tyler Roberson is the highest ranked recruit in head coach Jim Boeheim's class. Ranked 27th in the ESPN 100, the Orange added a talented player who will add depth to an already strong frontcourt.
He'll likely start right away, replacing the graduated James Southerland.
According to Recruiting Nation (subscription required), "Roberson is a long and athletic forward who can attack inside and out. He's very active defensively with terrific instincts on that end of the floor." He will be a great fit in Syracuse's patented 2-3 zone.
The Orange finished ranked 20th in the nation in rebounding this past season. The addition of Roberson will only help in that department.
At 6'7", 200 pounds, his frame is still a bit small, but that can improve with time. The scouting report on Roberson also says that he needs to improve his shooting away from the basket.
Look for Roberson to make an immediate impact for the Orange and see major minutes in 2013.
Ron Patterson took the long road to Syracuse. Originally a member of the Indiana Hoosiers' 2012 recruiting class, Patterson opted for a year of prep school before eventually signing with the Orange.
He's a shooting guard who's rated as a 3-star recruit by Rivals.com.
Patterson has the opportunity to see early playing time at Syracuse, as the graduation of Brandon Triche has left a hole at the shooting guard position. While sophomore Trevor Cooney will likely begin the year as the starter, there will be room for Patterson to see the floor.
According to 247Sports.com, he's "a long, lanky athlete at guard, [and] is in particular noted for his explosiveness and his defense."
Recruiting Nation points out that the young guard does have some weak areas:
"He isn't quite as explosive of a dribble driver as you would expect. His overall ball-handling could also use some work before he's able to make decisions against pressure on a consistent basis."
Though there are sure to be some growing pains, Patterson will be a nice addition to the Syracuse backcourt in 2013.
Unfortunately for Johnson, the Orange have a lot of depth in the frontcourt that will limit his playing time next season.
Returning players C.J. Fair, Rakeem Christmas, Jerami Grant, DaJuan Coleman and incoming freshman Tyler Roberson will all be higher on the depth chart.
Johnson is a young recruit who will need some time to fully develop. Current strengths listed on his Recruiting Nation scouting report (subscription required) are that he "has a knack for getting to the ball and his basketball instincts are sharp."
His most notable weakness lies in his shooting ability. According to Recruiting Nation:
"He has shown range with his jump shot but he either doesn't trust it or hasn't developed it to where it's a weapon. He will need to sharpen his range, become a threat from the perimeter."
While Johnson has the potential to turn into a solid performer, don't look for him to make a major impact for the Orange in 2013
Chinonso Obokoh is a 3-star recruit who'll eventually find a spot down low for the Orange. At 6'10", he can play both forward and center.
Obokoh likely won't see much action in 2013, as the Orange are loaded with talented forwards. Centers DaJuan Coleman and Baye Keita will also be returning.
The freshman big man does possess a long frame, something that works great in the middle of Syracuse's patented 2-3 zone. However, he's a work in progress who needs to improve on the offensive end.
The Recruiting Nation scouting report (subscription required) highlights what Obokoh needs to improve moving forward:
"His skill set is really non-existent at this point and he's very rarely a threat to score outside of six feet of the rim. He lacks a dependable move with his back to the basket, has only suspect hands, and a questionable overall feel for the game."
Obokoh does have upside, especially on the defensive end. Much like Keita, he's got a knack for shot-blocking, something that again fits well with what the Orange like to do defensively.
While it may take a while, look for Obokoh to develop into an important defensive player at Syracuse who could surprise on offense.