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Tyler Ennis, point guard
Canadian import Tyler Ennis, who played his high school basketball at St. Benedict's Prep (N.J.), will be called upon to replace Michael Carter-Williams, who departed for the NBA.
While Carter-Williams is making a name for himself with the Philadelphia 76ers, Ennis has already been turning heads before the season even started.
With just a few exhibition games under his belt, Ennis has been named one of 10 players to the watch list for the Wayman Tisdale Award, which is given to the best freshman in the nation by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
He's also been named to the watch list for the Bob Cousy Award, which is given to the best point guard in the nation by the Naismith Hall of Fame.
If Syracuse is to return to the Final Four, Ennis will have to make a Carmelo Anthony-like jump from high school to college. He likely won't have the scoring or defensive ability of Carter-Williams, but he might be close.
Perhaps a former Syracuse point guard, Jonny Flynn, would be a better comparison. Not for his scoring touch, but for the minutes he will log.
According to Syracuse.com, Jim Boeheim said Ennis is "going to play about 38 minutes a game."
Hyperbole aside, Ennis won't have to be Carter-Williams or Flynn. He will need to be an efficient point guard who can get the ball to his forwards and score enough on his own to pull defenders out of the lane. He will also need to be an asset at the top of the 2-3 zone and stay out of foul trouble, as he is the team's only true point guard.
All of this adds up to an incredible rookie season, as it is a lot to ask of a freshman. He seems more than capable of the task.
Ron Patterson, shooting guard
While Ennis' relief will be done by committee, with Michael Gbinije bearing most of the load, Patterson could fill in at the point guard spot as well.
Patterson is third in line at the shooting guard position, but there will be moments when Gbinije, who is the Syracuse utility man, will be filling in for Cooney, Ennis will need a break or any of the guards could be in foul trouble.
Patterson's ability on defense may be what gets him into games, but he could prove to be much more.