Maybe it’s just Boeheim’s Army playing lately, but basketball season feels like it is now (finally) in the nearish future. While there isn’t as much hype around this years team as football for the first time in a couple decades, there is still plenty to discuss with this deep roster of unknowns. It feels like there hasn’t been this many question marks–not all bad of course–surrounding a Syracuse team in quite some time. Perhaps, the biggest question is the starting lineup. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of some of the different options out there.
Option 1: Jalen Carey, Buddy Boeheim, Elijah Hughes, Marek Dolezaj, Bourama Sidibe
Name: The “We Know Who They Are”
This wouldn’t surprise me at all. All these guys above, you’d assume, kinda have a lead on their spot going into Italy, just because they’re essentially the veterans of the team.
Option 2: Jalen Carey, Buddy Boehiem, Elijah Hughes, Quincy Guerrier, Bourama Sidibe
Name: The “Leader In The Clubhouse”
This is the “Quincy Guerrier was super underrated because he came from Canada, is a play-making freshman that can create his own shot on a team in need of those and should’ve been a top 30 recruit” lineup. By the way, everything I just wrote about Guerrier could very well be true.
Option 3: Jalen Carey, Buddy Boehiem, Elijah Hughes, Quincy Guerrier, Marek Dolezaj
Name: The “Sidibe Hasn’t Made Enough Progress”
If Bourama starts it could be in a Dajaun Coleman type role of go out there bang around for five minutes, but you’re not our “main guy.” It’s possible he still isn’t fully healthy or Jim just decides to skip over that part. This lineup would be really fun. They’d score. The question is could they defend down low and get rebounds.
Option 4: Jalen Carey, Buddy Boeheim, Elijah Hughes, Robert Braswell, Marek Dolezaj
Name: The “Bobby Braswell Lanky Lineup of Doom”
Spread ‘em out and give Bobby B the ball. In all seriousness, Braswell has lots of upside and could very well find a starting spot on this team.
Option 5: Howard Washington, Buddy Boeheim, Elijah Hughes, Marek Dolezaj, Jesse Edwards
Name: The “You Forgot About Those Two”
By no means am I ruling out Washington starting at the point and in a team full of wild cards, Jesse Edwards might be the biggest question mark in the deck. Would it surprise me if he starts game one? I guess not. Would it surprise me if he didn’t play at all this year? I guess not.
Option 6: Joe Girard III, Buddy Boeheim, Elijah Hughes, Quincy Guerrier, Marek Dolezaj
Name: The “Three Point Chucking Fan Favorites”
This might be the “one year away from being one year away” lineup but man it’s fun to dream of everyone clicking in this group. Girard could also start at the two, with Carey/Washington at point and a different frontcourt combination.
Option 7: Jalen Carey, Byrcen Goodine, Buddy Boehiem, Elijah Hughes, Bourama Sidibe
Name: The “Oh That’s Right There’s Goodine Too”
I mean after all, Goodine is the highest rated recruit on ESPN, technically.
I can’t wait to look back on this article in November when Jim throws out a lineup that I didn’t mention. There are literally like 30 different ways he could go. I could of kept going and If I remembered permutations from high school stats class maybe I could give you a real number, but that’s way above my journalism pay grade.
The bottom line is this: there are lots of unknowns and lots of options. Guerrier feels like the surest bet out of the freshman though. Because of that, If I had to guess right now, I’d go with Option 2 (Carey, Boeheim, Hughes, Guerrier, Sidibe) as your starting lineup for game one. For some reason, I feel like Jim starts Sidibe just so they don’t get bullied in the beginning of games and Dolezaj at sixth man feels kinda right. However, the end of game crunch time lineup is Option 3 (Carey, Boeheim, Hughes, Guerrier, Dolezaj) in my eyes and that’s the lineup that might end up starting in ACC play.
You have a starting five that you think will open the season? Comment with it and explain why below.