Syracuse Basketball: Dion Waiters and Players Who Will Break Out in 2011
As the college basketball season kicks off, teams and players alike start looking to make early statements.
In the Big East, you won't find a team more hungry to do so than the Syracuse Orange, who, believe it or not, aren't the conference favorites this season.
According to the polls, that title goes to the Connecticut Huskies, who after losing their star player remained in the Top Five and a spot ahead of Syracuse.
If that doesn't motivate Jim Boeheim's players at Syracuse, then I don't know what will.
With the season just underway, the Orange will need a few players to step up and break out if they want not only to supplant UConn atop the Big East but to become the nation's best team, which is certainly a feasible goal.
Here are five Syracuse players who are poised to break out this season.
I doubt he'll ever be a college basketball star.
He isn't crazy athletic and he's rather slow, but Fab Melo has concise and skilled footwork and looks to be much improved from last season, despite the low level of competition Syracuse has faced thus far.
A breakout season for him would be a solid seven points and seven rebounds per game while the rest of their loaded frontcourt rebounds, scores and defends in close to an equal manner.
Melo may not be the next star out of Syracuse, but if he uses his strength and footwork to make him a scoring threat in the post and a better defender, there is no reason why he doesn't break out this season and eventually finds himself in the NBA.
The sharp-shooting freshman is sure be a big playmaker for the Orange this season.
In his first two outing for Syracuse he showed poise and great decision making, coupled with a solid scoring arsenal.
He's a heady shooting guard capable of playing the point, and he's got range beyond the three-point line.
He may need to bulk up, but there is no reason he doesn't come out and surprise the nation based off of his first few outings.
The turnover prone guard who all too often finds himself either hot or cold on the floor will finally burst through in his senior season.
Scoop Jardine is capable of making very good plays, and then very bad plays. He wants to be the hero when crunch time comes around, and there is no problem with that, so long as the good Scoop shows up.
Jardine did lead the Big East in assists last year at 5.9 per contest, so if he wants to break out this year and become an all Big East player, he'll have to tone down the turnovers and show his ability to be smart down the stretch.
Jacking up bad shots and making the extra pass will be the difference this year if Scoop Jardine does in fact break out.
Dion Waiters showed flashes of how good he could be in the season ending loss to Marquette in the NCAA tournament where he dropped 18 points and looked like the only poised Orange player down the stretch.
He has incredible athletic ability which along with an penchant for getting in the lane and making plays.
If Waiters tunes up his shot and gets more playing time, there is no reason he couldn't stake his claim as the next dominant Syracuse guard.
He seems to be the future of Syracuse as a combo guard and with an enhanced role this season, expect major production from the bouncy sophomore who is sure to ignite the Carrier Dome with his flying jams and electrifying play.
Kris Joseph will likely be Syracuse's best player this season whether he breaks out or not.
He's an all around ball player who can go for 15, five and five this season without looking much better than last year.
Still, Joseph has more potential than that. He has the potential to become a second or Third Team All-American.
He has solid athleticism, can drive and has a decent stroke. Kris Joseph will be a solid player no matter what this season, but he has a chance to be great.