There’s still a silver lining to sanctions imposed on Syracuse basketball

McCullough suffered an ACL injury that benched him through most of the 2015 season.
McCullough will return to Syracuse next year, and that’s a good thing

The nine-game suspension for Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim? That’s not good.

The 108 vacated wins for Boeheim and the program? Normally, I wouldn’t care about such a thing. But, when the coach is second all-time in career wins and, in the matter of a day, he drops to sixth…that hurts a bit.

The loss of 12 scholarships over a four-year period…that could be downright detrimental.

But, I can’t. I can’t bring myself to do it. I’ve read all the downtrodden articles. I’ve perused the details of the NCAA report. But, I can’t muster up the energy to pen another article talking about the negatives.

Instead, I look to the silver lining: no more postseason banishment.

Alas, something to look forward to.

That, combined with the reported intentions of all four of next year’s incoming freshman class to stand by their commitment to the Orange, is something to build on.

Because for all of the dark clouds hanging over the program (and there are more than a few right now), at least there will be next season. And doggone it, next year’s team has the chance to be pretty darn good.

» Related: How long until Syracuse athletics wakes up from its NCAA nightmare?

Boeheim’s bunch (and for a 9-game stint, Mike Hopkins’ herd) loses only Rakeem Christmas next season. I say “only” in terms of the number of people lost, not in the fashion of what is lost by seeing someone the caliber of Christmas move on.

But, Christmas leaves behind a competitive squad.

Kaleb Joseph, Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinije, and returning injured players Chris McCullough and DaJuan Coleman would form a formidable starting five. Some facsimile of Tyler Roberson, B.J. Johnson and Ron Patterson would fill out the rotation.

But all that is BEFORE you add in, by most accounts, a Top 5 recruiting class. Shooting guard Malachi Richardson (No. 19), power forward Moustapha Diagne (No. 55), power forward Tyler Lydon (No. 64) and shooting guard Franklin Howard (No. 91) are all on ESPN’s Top 100 prospects for the 2015 class. And kudos to them for all honoring their commitment. Faced with a similar circumstance, not many 17- and 18-year olds (or adults, for that matter) would be so loyal.

Put it all together and the coaching staff could have 13 scholarship players (including Chinonso Obokoh) who could warrant playing time…a good problem to have. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman’s entirely-too-early projections for next season’s NCAA Tournament has Syracuse as a 3-seed.

Maybe the most important thing, though, to help lessen the blow on the Syracuse team through all these sanctions will be to see how long the four incoming freshmen remain at the school. The longer they stay, the easier time Syracuse will have weathering the storm of the scholarship restrictions. Currently,’s 2016 mock draft (talk about ENTIRELY too early) has McCullough leaving early, but not any of the incoming freshmen. Take that for what it’s worth…

Getting quality players that will stay two, three or even four years will allow the Orange to absorb the loss of scholarships. They will not have the luxury of missing on upcoming recruits and if guys decide to leave early, depth could become a problem with a maximum of only 10 scholarship players for a few years.

But amidst all the dismay and disarray, having the ability to have a contending team and have a shot to compete in the postseason is a light at the end of the tunnel, something to look forward to.

I choose to stare into the light rather than peer into the dark…

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About Matt Dagostino 115 Articles
Matt currently works as an on-air talent and producer for Turner Sports in Atlanta, where he is from. Among his responsibilities are voicing over highlights for,,, and He has also served as an associate producer for TNT’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs and TBS’s coverage of the MLB Postseason. Matt also has experience as a minor league baseball play-by-play announcer and as a PA announcer in D-I college athletics. Matt graduated from Syracuse University in 2005.