A quick take on Villanova forward Cole Swider committing to Syracuse on Saturday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse bolstered its front court on Saturday evening, as junior forward Cole Swider announced his transfer to the Orange via Twitter. Swider appeared in 25 games with the Wildcats in the 2020-21 season, averaging 5.7 ppg and 2.8 rebounds, shooting 40.2 percent from 3-point land. Swider was ranked 44th in the class of 2018, and was heavily pursued by a variety of schools, including finalists Duke and Syracuse before he picked Villanova. He has two years of eligibility remaining.
ANALYSIS: The seismic shift in the Orange’s roster continues. In the past week, Kadary Richmond, Robert Braswell and John Bol Ajak all announced they were entering the transfer portal, while Quincy Guerrier declared for the NBA Draft (though he may still return as he has not hired an agent). Syracuse quickly reloaded, adding Marquette transfer Symir Torrence and now Swider, two top 75 recruits in their respective classes. Last year, the Orange had only one top 75 recruit on their roster—Richmond. With the additions of Torrence (top 75) and Swider (top 50), and incoming freshman Benny Williams (top 25), Syracuse, on paper, has significantly upgraded their talent.
HERO: As of right now, the only players confirmed to be returning are Buddy Boeheim, Joe Girard, Jesse Edwards and Chaz Owens. But combined with the arrival of Williams and the transfers of Swider and Torrence, Syracuse has the makings of a top 25 team on paper, and they’re likely not done (more on this below). Credit has to go to the coaching staff for quickly moving on players they had strong connections with that fit well within SU’s 2-3 zone.
ZERO: The loss of Richmond still stings, and even with the arrival of Torrence, the Orange backcourt is not as talented as it was only a week ago. Of all of the positions, Syracuse likely needs a fourth guard, either an under-recruited freshman SU can develop over his career, or perhaps a mid-major transfer looking for more competitive play.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse is still awaiting decisions from several players on their roster, including Marek Dolezaj, Bourama Sidibe, Alan Griffin, Woody Newton and Frank Anselem. Currently, the Orange has one available scholarship which they figure to use on a fourth guard or perhaps another center, but could have many more depending on the decisions of those five players. Among that group, Anselem could stay to play in tandem with Jesse Edwards at center, while Newton might be waiting on Guerrier to make a decision on returning before ultimately making his own. Griffin and Dolezaj are all expected to move on according to ZagsBlog.com’s Adam Zagoria.