Basketball is upon is.
Already? Yep, October has arrived. The season is near. And Syracuse hoops is coming off a Final Four season.
The excitement of qualifying for last spring’s final weekend and the disappointment of not finishing with a title is in the past. A new season awaits. No Malachi Richardson. No Trevor Cooney for the first time in like, six years. No Michael Gbinije.
So who in the heck is left?
No need to worry. The team is intact. And this year, it’s different. I’ll get to that momentarily.
First, the key returnees: Tyler Lydon, Tyler Roberson, DaJuan Coleman and Frank Howard.
You know those guys relatively well. But as I mentioned earlier, this team is a little different this year. Why? Transfers.
For a while, Jim Boeheim essentially didn’t take transfers. In 2009, my freshman year, transfer Wes Johnson, from Iowa State, became eligible to play for the Orange. The team had lost three of its best players and expectations weren’t exactly sky-high. But Johnson had a breakout year and SU scored a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
This year, SU has lost three of its top players, including Gbinije, a transfer himself. It’s got a decent core of returnees, but the wild card is the three (three!) transfers it has coming in and playing.
There’s Pascal Chukwu, the Providence transfer who sat out last year. Then you have Andrew White (Nebraska) and John Gillon (Colorado State), both eligible to play right away as graduate transfers.
That’s three wild cards right there. And don’t forget freshmen Tyus Battle, Matthew Moyer and Taureen Thompson. That’s a deep roster for Boeheim to pluck from.
But I’m most intrigued about about the transfers. They come over with a bit of curiosity. They’re known but unknown. We don’t really know how things will play out for the Orange.
But if Boeheim’s previous success with transfers is an indication of what this year holds, then SU fans are in for a treat. Is it November yet?