Here’s a look at Syracuse basketball’s 2021-22 projected starting lineup:
Jimmy Boeheim – graduate student forward, 6’8”, 225 pounds
Jimmy Boeheim spent last season not playing when the Ivy League canceled winter sports, but transferred to Syracuse to use his last season of eligibility. A bigger, more well-rounded player than his brother, Jimmy Boeheim looks to slot in at one of the starting forward spots. In just over 30 minutes per game, he averaged 16.7 points and 5.6 rebounds for the Big Red in the 2019-2020 season, leading the team in both categories. While being the number one offensive option for Cornell, Jimmy was third on the team in assists at 1.9 per game.
KEY NUMBER: 35.0 percent. Jimmy Boeheim was a 29.8 percent shooter from three in his time at Cornell, but his season-high mark was connecting on 35.0 percent of his attempts from deep as a sophomore. If he is able to shoot that well on the perimeter this season, Boeheim will be able to help open things up for the entire Orange offense.
Buddy Boeheim – senior guard, 6’6”, 195 pounds
In two seasons as a starter, Buddy Boeheim has turned into a top option for the Syracuse offense, averaging 16.4 points per game in that time. Perhaps most impressively, Boeheim has improved his three-point shooting as his offensive workload has increased, as evidenced by his percentage rising from 35.3 to 37.0 to 38.3 percent. Boeheim has taken over eight treys per game in the last two seasons, but added more diversity to his game over the years, including lifting his assist mark to 2.6 per game last season.
KEY NUMBER: 41-for-73. Boeheim was scorching from long distance over the last six weeks of the season, hitting 56.2 percent of his three-point shots over a dozen games, evidence of his ability as a pure shooter. That mark was higher than his overall 50.3 percent overall shooting mark in that time. The question is what can he shoot over an entire season? Only 33 players in all of Division One shot 40 percent over last season while qualifying for the NCAA’s leaderboard (2.5 three-pointers made per game).
Cole Swider – senior forward, 6’9”, 220 pounds
Swider transferred in after playing three seasons at Villanova, including 17 starts. A proven three-point shooter, Swider hit 37.4 percent from behind the arc the last two seasons, including a 40.2 percent mark last season. Swider is not a terrific athlete and was not a plus-defender with the Wildcats, but could contribute more on that end if he picks up on the details of the 2-3 zone. During the preseason, Swider spent a little time working on the top line of the zone and could see a few sporadic minutes there over the season, where his height and length could be assets in certain matchups.
KEY NUMBER: 40. That is the number of foul shots Swider has attempted in his collegiate career, covering 1,247 minutes of play, underlining his role as a three-point shooting ace.
» Related: Recapping the 2020-21 Syracuse basketball season
Jesse Edwards – junior center, 6’11”, 230 pounds
With Sidibe shelved at the start of the season, Edwards has the opportunity to seize the starting center spot long-term. Edwards got significant minutes in the final eight games of last season, logging 112 of his 160 minutes in that time. While averaging just 3.4 points per outing in that span, he was a force inside, grabbing 4.8 rebounds and blocking 0.8 shots per game in those limited minutes.
KEY NUMBER: 14 minutes per game. That is how much Edwards logged in that better stretch of play. If he can be a consistent deterrent inside without getting into foul trouble, Edwards could double those minutes per game this season and provide a new dimension to the team.
Joe Girard III – junior guard, 6’1”, 190 pounds
Returning for his third season as a starter, Girard struggled last season through asthma and a COVID infection. His shooting suffered accordingly, as he shot just 35.5 percent overall and 33.3 percent from long range. While he will never be thought of as a pure point guard, Girard improved his assist-to-turnover ratio from his freshman year, climbing from 1.39-to-1 to 1.68-to-1, putting a 2-to-1 ratio in his sights for this season. While lacking great size and athleticism, Girard finished second on the team in both steals (39) and steal rate (2.9).
KEY NUMBER: 10.2 rebounding rate. With his effort on the floor, Girard also proved to be an effective rebounder on defense, grabbing over 10 percent of all potential defensive rebounds while on the floor. That rate was better than those of bigger guards Buddy Boeheim (6.1) and Kadary Richmond (10.0).
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