Evaluating Syracuse basketball’s offseason transfers

Guerrier Duke
Feb. 1, 2020; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange forward Quincy Guerrier (1) celebrates a play against the Duke Blue Devils during a 97-88 loss. Mandatory Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

It was a busy offseason in Central New York. Four players left via transfer in addition to Marek Dolezaj, who was out of eligibility, and Alan Griffin, who declared for the NBA Draft. Meanwhile, three transfers came in along with a highly-touted recruit.

So far, Syracuse has had a tough season, struggling to get stops with the once-vaunted 2-3 zone. Given so much turnover, it is fair to wonder if Jim Boeheim wouldn’t have been better off trying to recruit his own players to stay another season.

Would it have made a difference? Here’s a look at the four players who transferred from Syracuse.

Kadary Richmond

I was skeptical of Richmond leaving Syracuse initially. I was more frustrated that he was leaving than anything else. Through his first few games at Seton Hall, it seemed like he had made a mistake. He fouled out of the season-opener against Fairleigh Dickinson. He was only playing about 15-20 minutes per game, which was exactly what he had at SU, and he was still coming off the bench.

In his first four games, he managed just 19 total points. Since then, he has started to settle in. He hasn’t played fewer than 20 minutes since November 22 and has started to find his shot.

On Saturday, Richmond led Seton Hall to a win over UConn with 27 points in 27 minutes and three steals. But that was only two games after he struggled through a 1-for-9 outing in a loss against Villanova. His 3-point percentage is actually down from last year at 31.6 percent.

The Verdict: The Orange are struggling defensively this season, and he would be a significant improvement (but then again, who wouldn’t at this point?) at the top of the zone. Undoubtedly, Syracuse would be better with him. But, let’s not overstate his absence as offensively, he’s both shown his upside and struggles with the Pirates this year, and is only playing two more minutes a game on average.

Quincy Guerrier

Probably the biggest loss, Guerrier played 33 minutes per game and led the team in rebounding a season ago. He started every game for the Orange in 2020-21 and was the second-leading scorer. Guerrier is unquestionably having a worse season in his first year with Oregon. He is starting for the Ducks, but only playing 25 minutes per game.

There are moments of brilliance, like when he had 18 points and 9 rebounds against Stanford, but they are few and far between as he’s averaging just 8.2 ppg and 5.1 rpg, down from 13.7 ppg and 8.4 rpg with the Orange last year. He’s also shooting worse from the field, from behind the arc and from the line.

The Verdict: It feels like he made a mistake in leaving. However, Syracuse might have made the bigger one for letting him transfer. His rebounding and interior defense are sorely missed. A unique lose-lose situation for player and team so far.

Woody Newton

Down the line, Syracuse could regret letting Newton walk away, but so far, he has not done too much to make them feel like they missed out. He has yet to play more than 10 minutes in a game for Oklahoma State, and he’s averaging just 2.9 ppg, 1.1 rpg in 7.8 mpg (which is less than he played with SU).

Still, Newton is attempting to settle in at a new school with a totally different defensive scheme from the one he learned his freshman year at Syracuse. His size at 6’8″, 200 pounds makes you wonder if he will develop into a solid rebounder, but so far, he has not offered too much in that department either.

The Verdict: Time will tell how big a loss this truly was for the Orange, but early signs point to this being a low-impact change. It is hard to imagine he would have seen much action on a consistent basis had he stayed with SU.

» Related: Could Syracuse have a losing season for the first time under Jim Boeheim?

Robert Braswell

While playing a small part of Jim Boeheim’s rotation, Braswell turned into a solid player who could defend and knock down 3-pointers. Playing 12 minutes per game, he emerged at the end of the season when Alan Griffin began to struggle.

He is the lone player who seems to be faring better in his new surroundings. Granted, he’s the only one of the four to have moved down to the mid-major level, playing for Charlotte. However, he has developed into a starter for the 49ers and has greatly improved his shooting. After shooting 36 percent from the field and 29 percent from 3, he is now hitting 56 percent of his shots, including 47.6 from behind the arc.

The Verdict: If he were capable of doing this in the ACC, there is no doubt he would be a huge asset to Syracuse right now. However, it is hard to imagine he would be able to put up the same numbers he is producing in Conference USA against better competition. He would still likely be an upgrade over what Benny Williams has provided Syracuse so far, though.

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About Chris McGlynn 79 Articles
Chris hails from Westfield, NJ, and is a recent graduate from Syracuse University. He spent his college years playing for the Syracuse Ultimate frisbee team, working at WAER and covering the Orange for the Juice.