Syracuse Basketball: Ranking the Orange's NBA Prospects
Jim Boeheim has made a habit of turning his Syracuse basketball players in NBA ballers, and his current team has seven players with hopes of going pro.
The Orange turned out three more pros last year, and this year we should see a couple more. Down the road, the NBA will be filled with Syracuse alumni.
Let's take a look at each of Syracuse's NBA hopefuls and how the future looks for each one.
7. Jerami Grant
Jerami Grant isn't going to be leaving Syracuse anytime soon, but he will eventually find himself in the NBA.
He is only going for 4.1 points and 2.3 rebounds per game in his 11.8 minutes, but Grant has already proven that he has a great deal of talent and potential.
With his long 6'9" frame, he certainly has the height to compete in the NBA as a wing. Couple that with his natural athleticism and drive, and you can tell that this kid is going places when you watch him.
Grant will be overshadowed for a few years, but by the time he is a junior, he will be a major contributor, and during his senior season, he will be the leader of the Orange.
With his draft day so far down the road, he could go anywhere from the lottery to not being drafted, but I expect Grant to be an early second rounder in the 2016 NBA draft.
6. C.J. Fair
C.J. Fair's NBA dreams are right around the corner compared to Grant, as Fair is in his junior year.
Fair is still the third option on the team behind Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche, but he is already playing like a star. He is going for 12.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, and has recorded five double-doubles on the season.
Next year, Fair is going to be the star of the team, and I expect his draft stock to shoot up once he starts going for 17 points and eight or nine rebounds per game as a senior.
At 6'8", Fair is going to have to be a combo forward, since he plays much better inside, but I expect him to be a late first rounder or fall to the second round at the latest.
5. Rakeem Christmas
Rakeem Christmas might not be the most productive player for the Orange, but he has the natural body and talent to be an NBA power forward.
At 6'9", 245 pounds and growing, Christmas has a chiseled body and superior athleticism. He will need to improve offensively and work a post move or two into his arsenal, but he will likely be an NBA prospect by the time he graduates.
He's just a sophomore, but is already starting for the team. He has all kinds of potential that he has yet to tap into, but if he can develop over the next two years, we could see him become a sure-fire first round draft pick by 2015.
4. DaJuan Coleman
DaJuan Coleman was supposed to be one of the top diaper dandies in the country, and while he has failed to impress, he still has a bright future ahead of him.
At 6'10" and 245 pounds, Coleman is a beefy guy who has the body to be an NBA center. While conditioning is still a concern, once he develops athletically, he could be a beast inside.
Expect this kid to be a first rounder in the next couple of years.
3. James Southerland
James Southerland has made a name for himself this season, averaging 13.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Southerland is a sensational shooter and, with his 6'8" frame, he could play at the 2 or the 3. He plays tough defense and, as of late, has become a legitimate scoring weapon.
Prior to the season very few people considered Southerland to be a legit NBA prospect, but now it looks like he is going to be a late second rounder or could sign with a team after the draft. That's huge improvement from a few months ago!
2. Brandon Triche
Brandon Triche has been lighting it up in his senior season. Now that he is the go-to scorer for the team, he is the leading scorer with 14.6 points per game.
His senior leadership has been vital to the team's success this season, and the effort he displays is great for both younger players and NBA scouts to see.
As cliché as it is to say, Triche truly gives 100 percent on every possession. More important than his scoring is his ability to make a ton of hustle plays and provide clutch shots for the team.
At 6'4”, he doesn't have great size as a shooting guard, but the fact remains that he could be taken in the late part of the second round this year or signed as a free agent after the draft.
1. Michael Carter-Williams
Few players have ever made as big a jump from freshman to sophomore year as Michael Carter-Williams has made.
After not playing much as a freshman behind Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine, MCW exploded onto the national scene this season. He leads the nation in assists per game with 10.1 and is averaging a double-double with his 12.2 points per game, as well.
As a 6'5” point guard, he has exceptional size for the position and that has helped him grab 4.6 rebounds per game. He also possesses the court vision and passing ability necessary to be an elite point guard in the NBA, as well as the shooting touch to be a dual-threat.
Let's not forget about this kid's defense, as well. He is very disruptive in Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone, and his quickness has allowed him to snatch up 3.0 steals per game.
My best comparison for Carter-Williams is to Rajon Rondo. He is a stat-stuffer just like Rondo, who can help his team in a lot of ways. Whether it's dishing out assists, grabbing rebounds, forcing turnovers or scoring himself, MCW can dominate the game in many ways, and he will likely be a top pick in the 2013 NBA draft.