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Syracuse’s Dajuan Coleman Closing in on Return, But is it Worth the Risk?

The big man is close to returning from a knee injury, but redshirting him could be the safest option.

In the case of injured junior forward Dajuan Coleman, hearing no news is good news.  According to the coaching staff, Coleman is right on schedule with his rehabbing, which means he could see game action within the next two to three weeks.

With Jim Boeheim expressing his discontent with the team in his recent press conferences, the return of some much-needed depth might be exactly what the doctor ordered.

The big man has battled knee problems since first stepping on the Carrier Dome floor, even in his freshman season.  Coleman underwent knee surgery at the end of last January, and according to one of the team physicians, Coleman’s knee is “exactly where he hoped it would be at this point.”

Dajuan’s return to the lineup wouldn’t just provide a stats boost for the Orange, it would relieve some of the pressure on the few performers the team has had this season.  With such poor guard play, the team’s focus will be on the forwards for the rest of the year; and while Rakeem Christmas and Chris McCullough have been superstars up to this point, coming back down to earth will have dire consequences for the squad.  Luckily, when this happened last weekend, Tyler Roberson had a career day off of the bench, and Coleman would only be another weapon for Boeheim during much more competitive ACC play.

Of course, it is totally unrealistic to expect Coleman to jump right back into the game and dominate.  But, with Christmas and McCullough averaging at least 30 minutes a game, his presence on the bench would provide some much-needed rest for the two go-to guys.

In just 37 games with the Orange, Coleman has averaged 4.6 points and four rebounds per game while playing an average of 12.8 minutes.  His most impressive game came in his short career came against St. Francis Brooklyn last season, where he contributed 14 points in a game the Orange barely pulled off at home.  Coleman also added six boards, five of which came on the offensive end.  With the team shooting so poorly, the team could really use another big force under the rim to help score points, much like Roberson.

The other (and smarter) option for Coleman is to redshirt for this season.  With the Orange already reeling, rushing the big man back and burning a year of his eligibility may not be the best option. Regardless of the decision, the Orange will have a loaded frontcourt next season.  In addition to probable returnees Roberson and BJ Johnson, the coaching staff has an elite recruiting class coming in.  Factor in the chance that McCullough returns, and redshirting doesn’t seem like the worst idea for a team that may be in national championship contention in the near future.

Posted:  Jason Weingold

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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