The No. 2 Syracuse Orange have exceeded early expectations on the way to a 10-0 start to the season.
With the Orange ranked No. 7 in the USA Today Coaches Poll to start the season, having an unblemished record is not necessarily noteworthy. The significance is how they got there.
Losing Michael Carter-Williams, James Southerland and Brandon Triche would be enough to set any team back, but the Orange have come roaring out of the gate with help from a variety of players.
As expected, and for the second consecutive year, senior forward C.J. Fair leads the team in scoring with 18.1 per game. Questionable was who else would help with the scoring load.
Enter Jerami Grant, whose 13.2 points per game rank third on the team. Grant, who comes off the bench, leads the team with six rebounds per game and is a lightning rod for the offense whenever he steps on the court, a la Dion Waiters.
Trevor Cooney, second on the team in scoring with 13.8 points per game, has found his outside shot and averages over three three-point shots per game, and he adds 2.5 steals per game to balance his court presence.
Perhaps most significant is the contribution of freshman Tyler Ennis, who is filling in the shoes of Carter-Williams. Ennis was expected to go through some growing pains but has played like a seasoned veteran. As the team’s only true point guard, Ennis has been stellar and has, thus far, vanquished any agony over the departure of Carter-Williams.
Syracuse looks to be in midseason form, with just a few issues that will have to be worked out as the season progresses. With only three games left before the start of the ACC schedule, one of which is against No. 8 Villanova, the Orange have much to be proud of at this point in the season.
Here’s a look at the most impressive aspects of the Syracuse start.