Waters: Syracuse basketball better than ‘anyone is giving them credit for’

Sidibe UNC
Feb. 29, 2020; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange center Bourama Sidibe (34) defends against North Carolina Tar Heels guard Leaky Black (1) during a 92-79 loss. Mandatory Credit: Initra Marilyn, The Juice Online.

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With the calendar about to turn to November and the football team struggling, it’s that time of year where Syracuse fans turn their attention to basketball. And who better to speak with about the upcoming season than Syracuse.com’s Mike Waters?

Mike comes on The Juice on the Cuse podcast for a variety of different topics ranging from his thoughts on Illinois transfer Alan Griffin, to playing the college basketball season through a pandemic, and finishing off with some concern about whether a key 2022 commit will ever make it on campus.

One thing Mike is bullish about is this year’s Syracuse team. Though the Orange isn’t getting much attention nationally (outside of Joe Lunardi), Mike believes that Syracuse “looks like an NCAA Tournament team.”

“I like the experience. I like the addition of Alan Griffin. I like the idea that guys get better. You look back at the last 10 games of last season, and you look at Bourama Sidibe’s improved play in those games where he was just a rebounding machine, playing well and playing without foul trouble. If he comes back and has a season close to what he was doing in the last third of the season, I think Syracuse is looking better than anyone nationally is giving them credit for.”

» Related: It’s late October and there’s no Syracuse basketball schedule

Mike and I also chat about the tenuous commitment of Dior Johnson, who left Oak Hill Academy earlier in the month and is currently not enrolled at a high school, placing his academic eligibility in peril.

While Johnson may ultimately go the route of Darius Bazley and forgo his college career, it’s still in his best interest to find a school soon.

“If he’s not academically eligible,” Waters said, “do you really think the G-League is going to give out their top dollar to him when they know they’re not competing against Syracuse?”

Editor in chief Brad Bierman then calls in, and we shift to football, and Syracuse’s gritty loss to Clemson. Syracuse had several underclassmen shine in that game (Garrett Williams, Sean Tucker, Anthony Queeley), and Brad gives his assessment on the future of SU football.

Brad closes the show by talking about the delay of the basketball schedule, while I go more in-depth on an interesting stat on Williams.

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Wes Cheng
About Wes Cheng 2599 Articles
Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.