There are many NCAA teams that have welcomed student athletes from all over the world and the Syracuse Orange basketball program is no different. Starting as far back as 1903 with Canadian Arthur Powell, the team has filled their roster with players from all over the map.
In 2019-20 a pair of Juniors will return to help lockdown the famed zone defense as Marek Dolezaj (Slovakia) and Bourama Didibe (Mali) should play a significant role for Jim Boeheim. In addition to the returning forwards, two relatively unknown talents will be joining the Orange as they look to make a third straight trip to March Madness.
With Oshae Brissett (Canada) hoping to be selected in the June NBA Draft and Paschal Chukwu (Nigeria) having completed his eligibility, Boeheim will look to fill the two holes with another Canadian and a big man from the Netherlands. While both have a chance to make an impact, the fact that both have flown under the radar leaves some Orange fans wondering exactly who they will be cheering for come the 2019-20 season.
Although it doesn’t appear as though either of the two international freshmen will crack the starting rotation, there is a good chance that both Quincy Guerrier and Jesse Edwards could play significant minutes throughout the season.
Arguably the top ranked player from Canada for the 2019 class, Guerrier is a combo 6’7” shooting guard / small forward that may not have the following that fellow Canadians RJ Barrett and Andrew Wiggins may have had entering the college ranks, but he still has the ability to be a game changer. After dealing with some enrollment complications, Guerrier was cleared to join the Orange for the start of the 2019 season.
Already possessing a mature, filled out body, the 19-year-old from Montreal who as a four-star recruit won’t have the expectations and pressures that Barrett and Wiggins faced, but does possess some of the same skill set that made their respective single NCAA season’s successful. A dynamic and athletic player, Guerrier has the ability to shoot both with range and off the dribble. Guerrier will more than likely start the season coming off the bench behind Buddy Boeheim and Elijah Hughes but should receive his fair share of minutes and role within the rotation as a “3 and D” threat.
For those who unfamiliar with Guerrier, even more are unaware of who the big man from the Netherlands is and what he will bring to the team. Standing 6’11” with a 215lb frame, Edwards should be a fixture in the Syracuse weight room this summer, looking to add some size to his slender frame.
Upon landing in the United States, Edwards took up residence at the IMG Academy and had received interest from Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Providence and Stanford. Unlike a number of former Syracuse big men, Edwards is said to be more offensively talented and mobile, a skill set that will give Coach Boeheim a different scoring option than he is used to.
Odds are in favor of Dolezja starting the season as one of the first five on the floor, but his offensive repertoire is fairly limited, which may open a window of opportunity for Edwards to get meaningful minutes during his first season.
Looking ahead to the 2020 and a very early peak at the 2021 recruiting classes, it doesn’t appear as though the Orange will tap into the international market, but again it is early. If Guerrier and Edwards, two of the five international players on the Syracuse roster, have successful freshman seasons, the pipeline from Canada and overseas could continue to flow through the New York campus.