In many ways, the Syracuse Orange (27-8 in 2010-11) has to consider this season a disappointment. After reaching 18-0 with a win over Cincinnati on January 15, the Orange hit a slump that saw it drop to 20-6.
In many ways, the Syracuse Orange (27-8 in 2010-11) has to
consider this season a disappointment. After reaching 18-0 with a win over Cincinnati on January 15, the Orange hit a slump that saw it drop to 20-6.
Ultimately, Syracuse would go 2-2 in the postseason,
losing a tight contest to Big East foe Marquette
in the Round of 32.
Jim Boeheim’s program is a perennial Big East and NCAA
Championship contender, and one can guarantee that the squad would like to
atone for this season’s letdown. Let’s take a look at the Orange’s prospects for the 2011-12 campaign.
will lose the leadership of senior Rick Jackson (13.1 ppg, 10.3 rpg) next
season. Jackson’s long arms and defensive
presence were key components of Syracuse’s
2/3 zone over the past four seasons. His intangibles will be missed as much or
more than his statistics.
It is also likely that freshman guard Dion Waiters (6.6 ppg)
will transfer. Boeheim’s current quote is that Waiters’ status is “up in the
air.” After a solid start to the season, Waiters ended up in Boeheim’s doghouse
after a confrontation between the two.
backcourt will remain intact next season with Scoop Jardine (12.5 ppg, 5.9 apg)
and Brandon Triche (11.1 ppg, 2.9 apg) forming a potent combination. Jardine is
the type of player who can win or lose a game for his team based on his
shooting touch on a given night. He had some brilliant offensive games, but
also some stinkers (see the NCAA Tournament loss to Marquette for an example). If he becomes more
consistent as a senior, he could become one of the top point guards in the
Triche was able to pick up the slack during many of
Jardine’s poor-shooting games. He is a solid shooter with good range, but also
suffers from inconsistency. If both guards are off, the ‘Cuse has very little
shot at success.
The offense will run through forward Kris Joseph (14.3 ppg,
5.2 rpg) in 2011. Joseph chose to return to Syracuse for his senior year rather than test
the waters of the NBA Draft. His shooting range presents a problem for opposing
defenders, as he raised his percentage to 37% behind the arc.
The rest of the frontcourt is a work-in-progress. Freshman
C.J. Fair (6.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg) probably exhibits the most talent and potential,
with Mookie Jones, Fab Melo, and Baye Moussa Keita rounding out the rotation.
These big men will need to develop for Syracuse
to reach its potential.
On the Recruiting
Five-star McDonald’s All-American Rakeem Christmas (Academy
of the New Church, PA) could fill an immediate need for the Orange at center. He is 6’9”, but plays
larger than that due to an 88.5” wingspan. Christmas is described as a tenacious
rebounder and defender with a developing offensive game. He could fit in the
middle of the 2/3 very effectively.
Boeheim also picked up five-star McDonald’s All-American
Michael Carter-Williams (St. Andrew’s School,
MA). Carter-Williams is described as an incredible shooter who will need to
bulk up a bit to survive the physical Big East. He could contribute off the
bench immediately next season when Syracuse’s
starting guards are struggling with their shots.
Syracuse’s third commitment
is from ESPNU 100 shooting guard Trevor Cooney (Sanford High School, DE).
Cooney’s shooting ability is unquestioned, but he does not have a great deal of
natural athleticism. He could, however, provide quick offense off the bench as
a true freshman.
should have a strong team next season under the leadership of Joseph and
Jardine. I really like the backcourt of Jardine and Triche, particularly with
help coming from Carter-Williams. The frontcourt is a question mark, but
Boeheim has demonstrated the ability in the past to develop big men. I think
Fair and Melo, particularly, will develop into Big East players next season and
that Christmas will have an immediate impact.
This is a deep club with a nice mixture of youth and
senior leadership. NCAA Basketball odds
makers and bettors will have to watch out for Syracuse