With the college basketball season creeping closer and closer, Syracuse basketball is entering a new era of play. Armed with little to no NBA talent, Jim Boeheim will have his hands full putting together a winning roster for 2010.
It started off when sophomore Jonny Flynn declared for the NBA draft as he was extraordinary for the Orange this past season as he helped them start off undefeated and then make it to the NCAA Tournament.
The Orange also lost Paul Harris and Eric Devendorf as they entered this year’s draft but were not as lucky as Flynn as both went undrafted while Flynn was picked up early by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Devendorf is looking out for his family as he must support his young daughter and he also has received his college degree. Harris was also in the same situation as he has a four-year-old son to take care of. He will be joining Flynn on the Minnesota Timberwolves Summer League roster trying to make the NBA while Devendorf is looking at options to play overseas.
Also, one of the few bodies with height, Sean Williams, transferred to Cal State Fullerton as he only logged just 49 minutes of playing time in 16 games over the past two seasons.
Instead of having a dangerous roster of Donte Greene, Jonny Flynn, Eric Devendorf and Paul Harris, Boeheim will have to hit the pavement and recruit some of his under the radar type players and hope for the best.
The 2009 Syracuse recruit list includes three players that are rated three stars by rivals.com.
Brandon Triche is the leading freshman coming into camp having already signed his letter of intent. The 6’3" guard has been tearing up the King of Kings summer basketball league where fellow team mates, Mookie Jones, Scoop Jardine and Rick Jackson are playing too.
Triche will have to have an instant scoring touch to fill the role of Flynn as the opportunities will be there; he just has to be there as well.
The other two have only given a verbal commitment but it looks promising.
DaShonte Riley stands 6’11" and could make an immediate impact for the ‘Cuse while James Southerland will be the replacements of Devendorf and Harris as they look for a young guard that can make a name for himself in his four years.
There are plenty of positives this season as well.
After a year of waiting, transfer Wes Johnson will be hitting the court. Johnson has been working out with Vince Carter in the LeBron James Skills Academy improving his game. Johnson had averaged 12.3 points and 6.1 rebounds for Iowa State in two seasons and is looking forward to hitting the floor for the Orange.
With the team losing its three top scorers, a lot of pressure will be put on Johnson as well as Andy Rautins and Arinze Onuaku, the only other players who averaged over 10 points a game. Other key contributors are going to have to step up like Canadian Kris Joseph and as well as Rick Jackson.
Jim Boeheim looks to find himself in a tough situation where his best players are bigs compared to the abundance of forwards he is use to from Carmelo Anthony to Greene, Boeheim will now put his faith in Jackson and Onuaku.
With that being said, little hope is being put on the 2009-2010 season due to the lack of name power and experience as Syracuse will dress four seniors and will have a roster full of potential 10 points per game scorers, which isn’t going to cut it in the Big East.
Though A.J. Price, Hasheem Thabeet, Dante Cunningham, DeJuan Blair, Sam Young Terrence Williams and Earl Clark have all found their way into the NBA.
Their former team mates Greg Monroe, Kemba Walker, Stanley Robinson, Lazar Hayward, Luke Harangody and DaSean Butler all returned to their respective schools meaning they can wreck havoc on this unproven Syracuse team.
While many fans sit and wait for the team to find a direction, they won’t be sitting down pouting for more than a year as Boeheim secured three of the four star athletes on rivals.com for 2010 in C.J. Fair, Baye Moussa Kieta and Dion Waiters.
Though the wait might be hard, it’ll give time to reflect and respect how spoiled the program has been over the years making Big East runs as well as National Championship runs which really all comes down to a giant pat on the back to none other than Jim Boeheim.
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