It has been a busy off-season for Syracuse basketball and it may still get busier as the Orange look to add to the class of 2016. However, it is very likely that all five players who will start for the Orange next season are already on the roster. Things can change a lot between now and November but it’s time to take a way too early look at the 2016-17 Syracuse starting five.
PG- Tyus Battle
Battle is the top recruit coming in for the Orange. He is a four-star recruit who can play either point guard or the two. On Monday, he wowed Orange Nation with a video of him draining a one-handed shot from three-quarters court. The biggest thing that he brings is his size. Like Gbinije, Battle is long, standing at 6-6. However, unlike Gbinije, he is naturally a guard and may just be ready to start the season at point guard.
SG- Malachi Richardson
This prediction of course hinges on Richardson returning for his sophomore season. However, let’s assume he does come back. Richardson showed that he has the ability to put the offense on his back, like he did against Virginia in the NCAA tournament. He is the most talented player on the team and can flourish at the two.
SF- Tyler Lydon
Lydon, like Richardson, showed tremendous potential through parts of the season. He just needs to find more consistency. He is a great shooter and has potential on defense but he will improve when he is played in a more natural position. Lydon often struggled when he was forced to play center, and with the addition of Pascal Chukwu, Lydon should be able to play forward.
PF- Tyler Roberson
Hands-down, Roberson is the best rebounder on the team. He is freak athlete, and despite what Jim Boeheim may say, he needs him. The 2-3 zone leaves the Orange vulnerable on the boards and Roberson can take over games in that regard, like he did against Duke this season. There is no reason to think he wil be pushed out of the starting five.
C- DaJuan Coleman
The five might be the most difficult position to predict. Coleman was inconsistent throughout most of the season. Next season, unlike this past season, Coleman will have legitimate competition for his starting role. 7-2 Pascal Chukwu will be eligible to play and may put pressure on Coleman. However, I expect Boeheim to roll with the player that he is most comfortable with, at least to start the season.