Canadian Tour Delivers Syracuse Huge Advantages Heading into the Season

Tyler Ennis and the Orange walked away from its tour north of the border with a tremendous experience.

Syracuse basketball began preparations for the season on a positive note after posting a 4-0 record on the trip to Canada last week. The trip gave an opportunity for several new faces of the team to demonstrate their skills and attempt to fill key roles for the upcoming season.

There are plenty of questions heading into the year. Who is going to replace Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche in the backcourt? Who will be the go-to 3-point man with James Southerland gone? Will Rakeem Christmas and Dajuan Coleman take the next step in becoming successful, consistent big men? Although we won’t know answers until real games start in early November, these preseason exhibitions have given us some clues.

The old adage is “adversity builds character” and the Orange hope to capitalize on that after winning a nail-biter against Carleton on Friday. The young guns of Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant fueled the 15-point comeback with big help from Michael Gbinije and Baye Moussa Keita. Grant finished with 18 points and 9 boards while Keita grabbed 11 rebounds for the Orange. Some fans might not know that Carleton is a powerhouse program. The Ravens have won nine of the last eleven national championships in Canada, giving SU great competition in the middle of the summer. Games like these can be a difference maker in how players handle adversity in future games against the ACC.

A major positive for SU was Ennis. He showed he’s ready to compete at the college level. He did not lose his composure when the Orange was in trouble, and had an important 15 points on the night. His counterpart Grant rose to the occasion as well. He was able to finish plays and establish himself as one of Syracuse’s premier scoring threats going into the season. Grant showed flashes of greatness last season and many expect Grant to make a leap to become a top forward in the country.

A heavily scrutinized group this year will be the big men. Coleman and Christmas finished on a strong note against Ottawa with Christmas pulling down 11 boards and Coleman scoring 26 points in the finale. However, the major word haunting both players is “consistency.” Both had a sub-par effort the night before against Carleton when the team needed them to step up. The first half of the season will be crucial for the frontcourt to solidify dependable production.

Fans have to be impressed with the production of the young players thus far. With the new guys stepping up early and veterans such as C.J. Fair and Baye returning to the squad, SU should be in great position to make a run to the top of the ACC in its inaugural year.

Posted: Zephan Mayell

13 Comments on this Post

  1. I think Christmas is a lost cause at this point but man do I have high hopes for Dajuan Coleman.

    He is the best middle of the zone offensive threat the Orange have had since Onuaku. I believe he can be as big a factor for this team if he lives up to a sliver of that potential.

  2. RAK … looked lost thus far and I agree with Coach JB that the offense needs to improve. RAK has all the tools to be a success once he get his head screwed on and takes it to his opponents.

    Ennis does not turn the ball over as did MCW and this will make a big difference this year.

    Nice team..GO SU

  3. Good analysis but what is missing is the 3-pointer question. Cooney is a huge disappointment….. so far. Last year’s performance and so far with this year’s Canadian performance our expected 3-point gunner just is not there. God any ideas gang?

  4. Cooneys canadian performance FAR surpasses anything he did last year. I think he is in line for a decent year.

  5. DA please cover SUFB in March 2014 like you cover SUBB “NOW”!!! 4 days away from SUFB new image of the ACC and we hear about DIV 111 type games SUBB plays. Just cover these teams(Lax to) equally. This shows you don’t!! The whole nation is hopped up about college and NFL football not college BB or NBA=NOW!! We’ll get excited in late winter/Apri Fools day for SUBB!! That’s when it matters!!

    Tired of Johnny Ball or what ever you call it and all the news about top 10 teams. Even when national media sites(mainly TV) talked ACC “NO CUSE” mentioned. That should have at least a sniff. SU’s move to ACC at least!! Hell SU’s HC is a story himself!! But lately(since late Coach P reign to now) SU has been dissed badly. Some of that is rightly so!! But I would hope HCSS mentions that to the team. That SU has to earn its ACC stripes!! HCSS should call his team the “Best Small Big College Team in America” who plays hard-nosed football!!! Just watch these kjids play!! Lets close the doors and throw away the keys for the game. HUMMMM!!! Very seldom hear that kind of excitement about college BB do you!! That’s why its # 1 in college sports by far!! GO CUSE!! I’m amped up for an old dude!! Get the paddles ready for Saturday!! GGGGOOO CUSE!

  6. orangeinva

    Anybody know the status of the 2 players the NCAA said couldn’t play?

    The semester ought to be starting soon and if these guys aren’t on campus taking classes soon they may well be ineligible for the first half of the season.

  7. Cuse don't luse

    Agree terry I also want more football articles at the moment basketball is just super irrelevent right now unless its recruiting and we seem to be close to done there how about a football recruiting story it’s been awhile what’s going on with Roberts holley mavety and the other big boys the orange are seemingly in on

  8. orangeinva

    Well that was quick…Obokoh was cleared today…hope Roberson get’s the OK soon.

  9. I hear Roberson is a beast on the boards.

    Wish we could have seen him in some of these Canada games.

  10. “cuse don’t luse” you hit it on the head. OL and even a TE are a must!! Mavety is playing games so I’m kinda turned off by him. But good coaching and caring can change him if he does come SU’s way.

    I will travel to the dome for BB no doubt. But CUSE football is and always will be # 1 to me. Constant winning and the DOME made JB and his teams where they are now!! We forget(and I have said it to many times the DOME was for SUFB) SUFB sometimes is shoved aside because of no broadway lights on it yet. I will always be that stone in the shoes of administration/fans/media who just don’t want to see SU improve in football. And PR is one of them. So far SUFB is just not getting enough of it and we all know why?? WINNING!!! Here is on example of the admistration screw-up: WHERE THE HELL IS THE NEW FB FACILITIES??????????? No shovels in the ground-WHY??? The Melo Center didn’t have this issue of no explanation of why no build!! Dr Gross and his lame effort for SUFB. He’s a SUBB kind of guy! Was a fan of his until this no info on the FB facilities kind of issue. Its got to effect recruiting. That its here or not here. STUPID!!!

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