Symir Torrence commits as Syracuse basketball targets Cole Swider

Jan 1, 2020; Omaha, Nebraska, USA; Marquette Golden Eagles guard Symir Torrence (10) dribbles against the Creighton Bluejays in the first half at CHI Health Center Omaha. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

It was another eventful day in the transfer portal across the country, and especially for Syracuse.

Symir Torrence, a former four-star recruit and consensus top 75 player, committed to the Orange on Wednesday afternoon shortly after entering the portal. He had interest from UMass, Siena, Albany, Wake Forest, Washington, South Florida, and Murray State, among others.

Torrence, a Syracuse native, never found his footing at Marquette, and averaged just 2.4 ppg and 1.5 apg in 13.0 mins as a sophomore. But he figures to have a greater opportunity for playing time, with just Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard III as the only other guards on the roster.

Following the commitment, I chatted with 247 Sports’ Stephen Bailey about the news. While Torrence doesn’t have the same upside or talent that outgoing freshman point guard Kadary Richmond has, it was still an important get for the Orange.

“It’s important because he fills a need because Kadary entered the portal. He brings the ability to play the point,” Bailey says. “He checks some of the basic boxes. You need a guy who can be your backup point guard.”

Still, that doesn’t quite remove the sting from Richmond leaving, who appeared to be one of Syracuse’s top point guards since the departure of Tyler Ennis. Whether it was because Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim didn’t play him extended minutes (Richmond played 21 minutes as opposed to 27 for Girard), or because he publicly questioned Richmond’s fitness, the departure left a bad taste in the mouth of the fan base.

“I think it’s fair for fans to be upset,” Bailey says. “The tough part is that his ceiling is so much higher than Joe’s.”

Richmond isn’t the only one who is leaving. On Tuesday, center John Bol Ajak and forward Robert Braswell also announced they were entering the portal, while Quincy Guerrier declared for the draft.

And that only potentially scratches the surface, as the Orange are waiting on portal decisions from Frank Anselem, Alan Griffin and Woody Newton, and the decisions of seniors Marek Dolezaj and Bourama Sidibe.

While a majority of the five players are expected to move on, that also opens up further opportunities for getting new players from the portal. Among the players to watch, Bailey says, include Cornell forward Jimmy Boeheim (older brother of Buddy, and eldest son of Jim), as well as Duke center Patrick Tapé, who is also in the portal.

The Orange and Blue Devils were Tapé’s two finalists last year before Tapé ultimately selected Duke. But things didn’t work out for Tapé in 2020-21, as he appeared in just 10 games, averaging 1.1 points and 1.1 rebounds for a team that didn’t even make the NCAA Tournament.

» Related: Syracuse freshman guard Kadary Richmond enters transfer portal

Later on Wednesday, former Syracuse recruit Cole Swider entered the transfer portal, and immediately, the Orange made contact with the former top 50 recruit. The class of 2018 forward was down to Villanova, Duke and Syracuse before he ultimately selected the Wildcats, and though he found some success with Villanova, he averaged just 5.7 ppg and 2.8 rpg in a reserve role.

With Guerrier in the draft, Braswell in the portal, and Newton and Griffin potentially not far behind, Swider to the Orange makes sense as he could start alongside incoming five-star freshman Benny Williams at wing, and the reports are that there is mutual interest.

It’s just another frenzied day in the transfer portal, one that is likely to stretch out for the next few weeks (or even months).

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About Wes Cheng 2676 Articles
Wes has worked for covering the New York Knicks, as well as for 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.