Syracuse opens its 2021-22 season with an exhibition game against New York State foe Pace. Here are five things to watch for in SU’s first tune up.
#1: Who replaces some of the key starters a part of last year’s run?
Quincy Guerrier, Kadary Richmond, and Alan Griffin were all key parts to last year’s team, and all departed in the offseason. Griffin took the professional route while Guerrier transferred to Oregon and Richmond to Seton Hall.
Syracuse responded by adding transfers Cole Swider from Villanova and Symir Torrence from Marquette.
Swider shot better than 40 percent from 3-point land last year. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim included him with Joe Girard and Buddy Boeheim when discussing how this is his strongest shooting group he has had.
Both transfers along with Cornell grad Jimmy Boeheim in his fifth year look to be the boost to pick up the lost skill and athleticism.
#2: How will Boeheim use his sons?
Perhaps one of the most interesting stories in all of college basketball this season will occur in central New York when Jim Boeheim coaches both his sons, Buddy and Jimmy, on the same court for the Orange this season.
Boeheim has discussed how on the court and within the team his sons will be treated exactly the same way as all the other players, but undoubtedly it is not easy and is a unique situation for the veteran coach.
Jimmy Boeheim has the experience and knowledge in the game to provide a solid presence off the bench, and there is no doubt Buddy Boeheim will be starting for the Orange. Both brothers will be used quite often, bringing an exciting aspect to this season.
#3: Who will man the zone down low?
After Bourama Sidibe went down early on to begin the year last season, the center spot was a wide open competition.
John Bol Ajak and Frank Anselem are now sophomore big men who have have a combined three years with the zone. Still, junior Jesse Edwards has been the favorite to see the starting spot as the season gets under way.
Even with Sidibe coming back as a graduate player for his sixth year, don’t be surprised if Edwards starts. Even if he doesn’t, he should be in line for a lion’s share of the minutes.
#4: What will be the role of Benny Williams?
The main focus on Syracuse going into the season has been their experience and chemistry returning. The Orange also will look for forward Benny Williams to have an impact in his freshman campaign.
At 6’8, 208 lbs Benny Williams is a lengthy forward who was ranked 27th in ESPN’s Top 100 recruits last season.
Williams is athletic and has good ball control for a forward. It would be no surprise if Williams grabbed a starting forward spot, but with veterans Swider and Jimmy Boeheim in the rotation, it will be interesting to see how Boeheim uses Williams.
Starting or not, Benny Williams has the opportunity to have an impact in his first season in orange.
#5: Does Jimmy Boeheim Start?
As previously stated there is depth for Syracuse at the forward/four position. Swider, Williams, and Jimmy Boeheim are all contenders to fill that slot.
Jimmy Boeheim didn’t play last year as the Ivy League cancelled all athletics because of COVID-19. But two years ago, he was Cornell’s leading scorer. He has experience, but not playing at the high-major level every night.
With that being said, Boeheim has had a lot of time to adjust and get used to the difference in schedule and will continue to as the year begins.
Everything seems positive so far with how Jimmy has fit in with the team, so the chance of another Boeheim brother being in the starting lineup is not out of the question.