It was a busy Tuesday in the transfer market for Syracuse. They’ve already lost three players—Kadary Richmond, John Bol Ajak and Robert Braswell—to the portal.
While Braswell and Ajak were not particularly surprising, the loss of Richmond certainly hurts. There was a groundswell among the Syracuse fan base and alumni for Richmond to supplant Joe Girard III as the team’s starting point guard.
To be sure, Richmond is the better defensive option at the top of the zone with his length and instincts, averaging a team-high 1.6 steals per game despite only playing 21.0 minutes.
“I just felt like I wanted to go somewhere I could play without restrictions,” Richmond told The Athletic, “and have a chance to showcase my game.”
That may not have been possible with Girard (27.7 mpg) ahead of him in the lineup. Among the schools interested in Richmond include Kentucky and Florida State.
Other underclassmen that may enter the portal include Frank Anselem, Woody Newton and Alan Griffin. In reality, the only two players guaranteed to return are Girard and Buddy Boeheim.
Syracuse may lose other players, just not to the portal
The roster turnover doesn’t end there. Quincy Guerrier declared for the NBA Draft, though he did not hire an agent and may still return to Syracuse after he gets an evaluation. He has until July to make his decision, so the Orange will be in limbo until then as to his status.
There may be more movement coming down the line. Marek Dolezaj and Bourama Sidibe were academic seniors and under normal circumstances would’ve exhausted their eligibility. But because of COVID-19, they were able to retain an extra college year.
It seems unlikely that either would use it. Sidibe’s career has been riddled with injuries and he will be turning 24 later this year. Dolezaj has little left to play for with the Orange, and is turning 22 later this year. He has a promising Euro career ahead of him.
Of course, the portal is a two way street. It’s almost a certainty that the Orange will dip their toes into the transfer market, including kicking the tires on players they’ve previously reported who are in the portal.
Symir Torrence, a four-star recruit in the class of 2019, will be transferring from Marquette after two quiet seasons as a reserve guard. The Syracuse native struggled to see the floor in his sophomore season, averaging just 2.4 points and 1.5 assists in 13.0 minutes per game.
The Orange are interested in Torrence according to ZagsBlogs.com’s Jake Lieberman, but they are certainly not alone. UMass, Siena, Albany, Wake Forest, Washington, South Florida, and Murray State are also pursuing Torrence, who will be announcing his decision on Wednesday. He previously held an offer from the Orange in his high school recruiting cycle.
Another player Syracuse previously pursued is Duke center Patrick Tapé. The former Columbia center was down to the Orange and the Blue Devils last year, and Tapé, a North Carolina native, ultimately picked Duke. But the Blue Devils had little use for Tapé, as he appeared in only 10 games averaging 1.1 points and 1.1 rebounds, and found himself back in the transfer portal on Tuesday.
The Orange could potentially lose three centers this offseason, and Tapé would provide a steady presence having averaged 11.4 ppg and 5.9 rpg with Columbia in the 2018-19 season.
And of course, Cornell forward Jimmy Boeheim may also be looking for a new home. Cornell and the Ivy League didn’t participate in the 2020-21 season because of COVID-19, and the elder son of Jim Boeheim would figure to be looking for a new home to play his final year.
Jimmy could provide depth at forward should Guerrier return, or potentially start alongside incoming five-star forward Benny Williams should Guerrier choose to remain in the draft.