Mixed Juice: What is the impact of Syracuse losing Moustapha Diagne?

Diagne will not be joining Syracuse this fall
Diagne will not be joining Syracuse this fall

In the latest edition of a multi-part series, editorial staff of The Juice Online discuss various topics on Syracuse basketball. Today’s topic: What is the impact of Syracuse losing Moustapha Diagne? The Juice Online’s Brad Bierman and Steve Auger explored.

Brad Bierman: As each week of the summer flew by with Moustapha Diagne back to his native Senegal in part to mourn the deaths of his father and sister over the past year, we started to get less confident that he would join the other three members of a highly anticipated Orange freshmen class.

First, we started to hear of the NCAA clearinghouse reviewing his academic transcript, then the specific words “is expected to” in reference to arriving on campus for the start of classes Aug. 31 coming from his host family in New Jersey (never a good sign, along with the word “intend”), and the fact that the official athletic department website had posted its online player profiles of the three other newcomers but conspicuously absent was Diagne, albeit he was out of the country for a good chunk of time.

The official SU release acknowledging Diagne would not be enrolling was also noticeably ambiguous, totaling just 23 words.

Assuming Dajuan Coleman stays healthy and can contribute this season, and that remains a big question mark until we see if he can physically hold up to the rigors of game action, there will still be times when the coaching combination of Jim Boeheim, and for some games Mike Hopkins, is faced with rotating four other frontcourt players, none over 6-9. At just nine scholarship players everyone will need to contribute when called upon this season, and there’s no room for another significant injury against a tough non conference and ACC schedule.

» Related: How will Trevor Cooney do in his senior season?

Steve Auger: Even before taking the court to start its season against Lehigh on November 13, the Orange already suffered its first loss. And it’s a big one. Literally.

Syracuse announced on Thursday that 2015 basketball recruit Moustapha Diagne will enroll in a 2-year school instead. At 6-foot-9, 240-pounds, Diagne was expected to play an important role manning the back line of the 2-3 zone in what is already a thin front court heading into the season.

The question that now looms over Jim Boeheim’s already thin roster is what to make of the front court situation? Among the uncertainties is how Dajuan Coleman’s surgically repaired knee will hold up. Coleman appears to be the lynch pin to not only the Orange’s zone defense but also its low post scoring. The Syracuse staff has to be hoping that not only does Coleman stay healthy but that he also has a break-out season like Rakeem Christmas did last year.

Speaking of players poised to make The Leap, Tyler Roberson should gobble up minutes and shots as he can handle provided he stays out of foul trouble. The Roberson who dropped a combined 35 points while grabbing 19 boards in two games against Duke last year would be a welcomed regular to SU box scores. And while we’re on the topic of Tylers, 6-8 freshman Tyler Lydon could now see more minutes while providing some perimeter scoring. And then there’s Chino Obokoh. After 18 DNPCDs (Did Not Play, Coach’s Decision) last year, who knows what to expect from him.

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