The Syracuse men’s basketball team will enter its first season in the ACC with high expectations with the return of C.J. Fair and high hopes of incoming point guard Tyler Ennis.
Returning players include Rakeem Christmas, Trevor Cooney, DaJuan Coleman, Jerami Grant and a host of other players who remain hungry after Syracuse’s losing effort in the Final Four against Michigan.
At first glance, however, this team lacks the star power of previous teams, including last season’s team which had Fair, Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche all named to the final All-Big East team.
There was also James Southerland, who didn’t get postseason honors, but was a presence around the perimeter.
All have departed, save for Fair, which leaves Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim looking to his bench and incoming players to continue the winning tradition to which the stalwart coach has dedicated his entire adult life.
While Syracuse will be without most of its stars from last season, it can still prosper in the ACC. The Orange has great size and length along the baseline, a stellar point guard to return Syracuse to its natural point guard roots and a stifling 2-3 zone defense.
The Orange also still has C.J. Fair, who led the team in scoring, rebounding and even three-point percentage. Fair will likely carry the majority of the scoring load, but second honors is anyone’s guess.
Upstart Jerami Grant was an able, and sometimes exciting, fill in for Southerland while he worked out his academic issues, and if Christmas can bring more aggression to his game, he could be a force in the paint.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at which Orange players have the potential for All-ACC honors for the 2013-14 season.