A quick take on Duquesne transfer center Mounir Hima committing to Syracuse:
WHAT HAPPENED: The Orange, in need of a backup center, received a commitment from the 6-foot-11, 240 pound transfer on Wednesday, he announced on Twitter. “After a great visit and great conversation with Coach Boeheim, coach G-Max [sic], coach Reid [sic] and the rest of the staff,” he wrote. “I am excited to announce that I will be committing to Syracuse University. Thank you to my family, coaches, friends and everyone that has been helping along the way.”
ANALYSIS: Syracuse was in the market for a backup center after Frank Anselem transferred to Georgia in search of a starting role. The options were limited. Syracuse needed to pursue a center that would be willing to defer major playing time for a full season, with only 5-8 minutes available per game given the emergence of starting center Jesse Edwards as an All-ACC caliber center. The move also allows SU to slowly develop incoming freshman center Peter Carey, who is looked at as a high ceiling player that may take some time to blossom at the college level.
HERO: Hima averaged 1.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg and 1.0 bpg in 9.6 mpg with the Dukes, but emerged as a starter at the end of the season. In the final six games of the regular season, he averaged 5.1 ppg and 5.5 rpg. Hima entered the transfer portal as a redshirt freshman with three years of eligibility remaining, and immediately heard from a slew of mid-majors, including Charlotte, Northern Arizona, Robert Morris, Louisiana Tech and Eastern Michigan according to Pro Insight’s Andrew Slater.
ZERO: SU tried this pitch with FSU transfer Quincy Ballard, but the Syracuse native spurned the Orange, and transferred to Wichita State instead. That led to the Orange identifying Hima, who played high school ball at St. Benedict’s (NJ) Preparatory School.
WHAT’S NEXT: With the recent entry of Chaz Owens into the transfer portal, Syracuse has one additional scholarship it can use. SU filled a major need with securing a backup center, but another area of need would be securing a veteran wing who could provide some scoring punch and replicate the production of outgoing wing Cole Swider. But Syracuse has been quiet on this front, and it’s possible that Jim Boeheim may be content to feature a rotation of inexperienced forwards, including sophomore Benny Williams and freshmen Justin Taylor, Chris Bunch and Maliq Brown.