Well, we are still 5 weeks away from the first Exhibition game, which means there is nothing to do but speculate on the upcoming Syracuse Men’s Basketball team. For this installment, allow me to tell you why Tyler Roberson will be one of the top two scorers for this year’s squad.
I know, it feels like every year we speculate about Roberson making the leap, and becoming a force for the Orange. And while it may seem like senior year is a little late for a breakout campaign, it’s actually a staple for Jim Boeheim coached teams.
In fact, only twice in the last 14 years did a senior not finish in the top 2; 2007-2008 was the last time when Donte Green and junior Eric Devendorf led the charge, and before that was when a trio of underclassmen named Carmelo, Hakim, and Gerry led the guys to a National Championship in 2002-2003.
Delving further, 7 times in those 14 years a senior outright led the team in scoring.
Roberson jumping from 8.8ppg to leading the team would be a stretch, but let’s not forget that Rakeem Christmas did something even crazier as a senior – averaging 17.5ppg, a huge increase from 5.8ppg the year before.
Still, if I had to bet on it, I’d say Roberson finishes second and follows in the footsteps of guys like Brandon Triche, Andy Rautins, and Rick Jackson; key cogs in the machine who had always been solid contributors, but stepped up their game during their senior seasons to help lead the way.
It won’t be as easy for Roberson to assert himself like those before him, in large part due to the two graduate transfers joining the program.
Unlike the younger players, Andrew White III and John Gillon join the team having lots of experience, and after averaging 16.6ppg and 13.2ppg for their respective schools last season. They will have a right to stake their claim atop of the Orange pecking order immediately. Either of those guys are capable of being a top scorer for the orange. And if they do, the trend would continue as they are technically seniors, but I believe the guy who bleeds Orange will step up his game and take the reigns.
If there’s one thing we’ve seen over the years, it’s that Boeheim is loyal to those who give him prolonged service. He’s always started seniors, even if they don’t play a lot like Craig Forth, and probably Dajuan Coleman this year. And those that do get minutes, usually get increase opportunities.
A fourth year in Orange earns you a special respect by the coaches, players, and fans alike. Expect that to propel Tyler Roberson to a career year. That respect breeds confidence, and with confidence comes success.
I’d probably put my money on Tyler Lydon breaking out in his sophomore year and being the #1 scorer en route to the NBA draft in June, but Roberson will be right behind him and wouldn’t shock me if he led the way.