It’s not often that college basketball players reach the Final Four twice in their career, but it was accomplished last season by Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney. SU men’s basketball has reached college hoops’ final weekend twice in the last four years. Now the program is looking to sustain that success, and it all starts with recruiting. Collegiate rosters are revolving doors. Therefore, it is imminent to look towards the future despite the success that is happening in the present. There are a number of factors to keep in mind when evaluating this situation, most notably who is leaving and staying from this year’s team to next year’s.
Looking to next year’s squad, John Gillon, Tyler Roberson and Dajuan Coleman’s eligibilities are set to expire at the end of the season. Along with that, Jim Boeheim has voiced that he does not believe Tyler Lydon will be along for the ride for his junior year and enter the NBA Draft. These departures leave a huge hole in the frontcourt. Looking towards the 2017-18 roster, that would leave Paschal Chukwu and Taurean Thompson as the only definitive big men. The frontcourt is where the program will likely add depth for the 2017-18 season.
The most intriguing names on SU’s class of 2017 big man radar are Mohamed Bamba and Nick Richards. Both centers stand at 6’11 and are listed in ESPN’s top 10 recruits. The Orange likely won’t land both New York natives, but to keep one of them in their home state would be a big step towards filling the frontcourt void. With the hype surrounding Bamba and Richards, there comes plenty of competition for their services. Syracuse is going up against the likes of Arizona, Duke, UConn and Indiana amongst others. Both guys are supremely long and athletically gifted, which fits them right into what SU wants to defensively and would certainly prolong this stretch of NCAA Tournament success.