The Syracuse men’s basketball team will have a much different look for the 2013-14 season with the departure of Brandon Triche, James Southerland and Michael Carter-Williams, the latter going to the Philadelphia 76ers as a lottery pick.
New faces include blue-chip point guard Tyler Ennis, forwards Tyler Roberson, B.J. Johnson and Chinonso Obokoh and off-guard Ron Patterson.
Also joining the team after sitting a year after transferring from Duke is Michael Gbinije, who could be an immediate impact player due to his 6’7” frame and ability to switch between the guard and forward spots.
That’s what’s new.
Returning are C.J. Fair, Rakeem Christmas, Jerami Grant, DaJuan Coleman, Baye Keita and Trevor Cooney among others.
The Orange should experience a noticeable change from being a guard-reliant team to a forward-heavy team. Without Triche, Southerland and Carter-Williams, Syracuse loses three of its top four scorers. This will force head coach Jim Boeheim to look to players such as Christmas, Grant and Cooney to make the step from complementary players to prime-time players.
Syracuse teams have a great tradition of developing big men, most recently Fab Melo, so it’s not too much of a leap to think Syracuse’s bigs can be ready. But there is a big part of the Syracuse program that is different than it's been since Boeheim took over.
The ousting of Bernie Fine.
Fine primarily worked with the big men and helped develop standouts such as Rony Seikaly, Rick Jackson and Etan Thomas. Fine was fired in November of 2011 due to a sex abuse scandal and his departure could be a reason why players such as Christmas have not developed as quickly as Orange fans would like.
All things considered, Syracuse has the pieces available for a very successful season in its first year in the ACC. Senior forward C.J. Fair, who was the leading scorer on last season’s Final Four team, will look to put this team on his back but he will need lots of help if Syracuse is to make another deep run in the NCAA tournament.
Let’s take a look at where that help will come from by peeking at who should lead the Orange in its statistical categories.