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Syracuse Basketball: Offseason Storylines for Orange Fans to Follow

Justin NeumanContributor IIMay 15, 2014

Syracuse Basketball: Offseason Storylines for Orange Fans to Follow

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    Phil Sears/Associated Press

    The Syracuse basketball season feels miles away, but that doesn't mean there are no stories to follow.

    Even in May, there's still plenty to talk about. Head coach Jim Boeheim has his hands full when it comes to replacing departed stars. He's also dealing with injured players, eligibility issues and more.

    So while you count the days until basketball returns to the Carrier Dome, here's a look at some storylines surrounding the Orange worth following during the summer months.

DaJuan Coleman's Health

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    For the second straight year, DaJuan Coleman had his season derailed by a knee injury.

    Coleman had surgery to fix the injury earlier this year, but he is still working on his rehabilitation. His status for next season, however, is still up in the air.

    One thing working in Coleman's favor is that he has been able to lose a significant amount of weight during his rehab. He now looks to be about as lean as Rakeem Christmas. Perhaps the weight loss will put less stress on his legs and allow him to stay on the court.

    The Orange need Coleman back as soon as possible. He was a starter as soon as he stepped on campus and during his sophomore year, that is, until he got hurt. Having him back would alleviate some of the burden on Christmas' shoulders as the only experienced man in the middle on the roster.

    Coleman does seem to be on the right track with his rehab. He was at the Cuse Awards at the end of April without crutches. But as of now, we still don't know when he will be back.

    A healthy Coleman changes the entire outlook of the Orange rotation. His progress is definitely worth following as the summer wears on.

Chris McCullough's Eligibility

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Big things are expected of incoming freshman Chris McCullough.

    The nation's No. 21 recruit per 247's composite ranking, McCullough is in the running for one of the starting forward spots. He's also a potential one-and-done player for the Orange, so his impact will surely be felt early.

    That is, if he's allowed to play. As you may recall, McCullough was kicked out of his original prep school back in November. He spent some time in limbo before finding a home at IMG Academy in Florida.

    Per McCullough's Twitter account, he finished the school year on good terms academically (beware of some potential NSFW language in the replies). Therefore, he should be ready to go once he arrives at Syracuse.

    But we all know how the NCAA is. They make a lot of decisions that don't make a lot of sense. But every now and then, they do something that shows they do have a heart after all.

    For now, everything is groovy with regard to McCullough's academic standing. Syracuse fans should nonetheless be on the lookout to make sure nothing changes. Considering the overhaul the roster has already undergone, McCullough missing any time would make things that much more difficult.

Chinonso Obokoh's Eligibility

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    Nick Lisi/Associated Press

    Weren't we just talking about the NCAA making questionable decisions?

    They did just that when they took away a year of eligibility from Chinonso Obokoh. As a freshman, Obokoh redshirted in 2013-14. However, an NCAA ruling in early April decided Obokoh was improperly classified when he got to his Rochester high school from Nigeria.

    The NCAA deemed Obokoh spent an extra year in high school, which the NCAA outlaws to keep athletes from reclassifying to become more "college ready." You know, because a kid coming from Nigeria and trying to learn to speak English well enough to be able do his work in an American school is somehow gaining an unfair advantage. The NCAA, everyone!

    So even though Obokoh redshirted, as of now he's only got three years of eligibility left. The university plans to appeal Obokoh's case, but the process is still in its infancy. Keep an eye out in the offseason for any updates on Obokoh's status.

2015 Recruiting

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    KEVIN RIVOLI/Associated Press

    Even though we aren't anywhere near the 2014 season, it's still worth keeping one eye on 2015.

    The Orange still have their sights set on some high-profile recruits in the class of 2015. Boeheim has already landed Malachi Richardson, Tyler Lydon and Franklin Howard, but several other players are still considering offers from the Orange.

    Boeheim would like to add a big man to the 2015 class, and there are three with letters from Boeheim in their mailboxes: Cheick Diallo, Moustapha Diagne and Thomas Bryant.

    Boeheim is also trying to land a couple 5-star (per ESPN) prospects in Derrick Jones and Isaiah Briscoe. Any combination of those players would make for an outstanding recruiting class.

    The summer before their senior year is the prime time for recruits to make their decision. Stay up to date on where these players are leaning as you try to beat the heat.

How the Starting Lineup Shakes out

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    Nick Lisi/Associated Press

    The returning forwards have some big shoes to fill in replacing C.J. Fair and Jerami Grant.

    Who fills those shoes in the starting lineup is still very much a question mark. We know Trevor Cooney, Rakeem Christmas and (most likely) Kaleb Joseph will be starting. But who will the starting forwards be?

    A lot depends on Coleman's health, but if he is out, McCullough will likely earn one of the starting forward spots. The other could go to Mike Gbinije, Tyler Roberson or even B.J. Johnson.

    The competition will likely come down to Roberson and Johnson, since Gbinije will be needed off the bench to back up the guard and forward positions. It will be interesting to see what Roberson and Johnson are doing to work on their games over the summer.

    There is opportunity to earn a lot of playing time next fall. Only time will tell who makes the most of the opportunity.

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