Syracuse’s roster from this year to next is going to be drastically different. Jalen Carey, Howard Washington and Brycen Goodine are all out. The three backup guards entered the transfer portal a few weeks ago. Plus, Elijah Hughes declared for the NBA draft earlier this week. With those players leaving and only two recruits coming to the 315, the Orange roster is depleted to say the least.
Syracuse is in desperate need of some transfers, but its targets have been blowing off the Orange.
Seth Towns and Patrick Tapé both chose other schools, leaving Syracuse’s transfer hopes barren. There aren’t many reports of the Orange targeting other players at this point or any players being interested in the Orange. However, here are some transfer portal options Syracuse should be recruiting.
BRYCE AIKEN – Harvard
Think about what Syracuse needs right now in terms of a guard– someone who can play immediately, someone who is experienced, and someone who can fill the backup role to Joe Girard while still playing significant minutes. Bryce Aiken can do all of those things, although he might do the third begrudgingly.
He is a 6’0”, 175 lbs point guard from Harvard. Aiken is graduating from Harvard this season and will be playing a post-grad season somewhere else. That means he will be immediately eligible to play, which helps Syracuse current, short-term issue of not having much support in the backcourt. Aiken is coming off a season where he only played seven games due to injury, but he is a scoring machine. He averaged 17 points per game last year, 22 points his junior year, 14 points his sophomore year, and 15 points his freshman year. The New Jersey product is a mid-to-high 30% three point shooter and would be another deep threat for Syracuse.
The only problem– Aiken is the second highest ranked grad transfer according to ESPN, which means he will be getting a lot of interest from a lot of teams, especially teams that could offer him a starting spot, which Jim Boeheim probably wouldn’t offer because he doesn’t want to impede the growth of Girard.
FRANKIE HUGHES – Duquesne
Here’s another guy that can play immediately for Syracuse– Frankie Hughes. The 6’4”, 195 lbs shooting guard started his college career at Missouri, played a year there, then transferred and played a season and was injured for another season at Duquesne. Now he is in the portal again. His moving from school to school is not the most reassuring thing, but he still has a year of eligibility and can fill the backcourt void for Syracuse immediately. Hughes is a lot like Buddy Boeheim, just a little stronger and not as good. He is a great shooter, averaging nine points and more than two made threes per game at Duquesne. Hughes is also a tall, athletic guy that could be a strong presence at the top of the zone. He wouldn’t be a star at Syracuse, but could be a solid role player to give Buddy a break here and there. Plus, Hughes isn’t the most highly sought after transfer, so if Syracuse showed interest, he might reciprocate.
SAM SESSOMS – Binghamton
Now let’s talk about the future. Both of the first two guard options would only give Syracuse temporary, one-year help, but Sam Sessoms could help Syracuse through 2023. He just finished up his sophomore season at Binghamton, where he showed he is just too good for the America East Conference. Sessoms eclipsed the 1,000 point mark in just two years. He averaged 18 points, three rebounds and four assists per game his freshman year, then upped it to 19 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals last season. He has to sit out a year, but with him in the roster, Syracuse’s backcourt in two seasons would be crazy– Girard, Buddy, Kadary Richmond, and Sessoms. Then the Orange would lose Buddy to graduating, but add Dior Johnson to the roster. Sessoms could be the key to supporting Syracuse’s backcourt for years to come. He is a well known name, though, so the Orange would have some competition if they try to recruit him.
JAIRUS HAMILTON – Boston College
With the loss of Elijah Hughes, Syracuse’s projected forward situation is Quincy Guerrier starting at small forward, Marek Dolezaj at the power forward, with Woody Newton and Robert Braswell coming off the bench. Starting Guerrier at the three isn’t the best idea since he isn’t a true wing player, but Jairus Hamilton is. Hamilton is no Hughes, but he did average ten points and four rebounds per game last year for Boston College. He’s not a deep ball threat, but can play the wing and handle the ball. Hamilton will have to sit out a year due to NCAA rules, but can help Syracuse down the road. Staying in the ACC could be appealing to him as well.
JALEN JOHNSON – Tennessee
Although Hamilton wouldn’t be able to play for Syracuse next season, Jalen Johnson could. The grad transfer from Tennessee has one more year left of eligibility because he injury-redshirted his freshman season. Since then, he hasn’t put up crazy numbers for the Vols, averaging just four points last year. Johnson could, however, add a veteran presence to a young locker room and be a solid bench player. He is a lanky guy, coming in at 6’6”, 196 lbs, but he is very quick and athletic. Johnson isn’t a big name and isn’t drawing national attention, so if Syracuse wanted him, it might not have too much competition.
DESHAWN CORPREW – Texas Tech
A player that is highly sought after is Deshawn Corprew, but Syracuse should still try to lure him to the Salt City. The 6’5” small forward will be eligible to play after the semester break, meaning he can play in January of 2021. He will only have to sit out half a season because he put his name in the transfer portal early due to being suspended at Texas Tech for alleged assault. Corprew doesn’t have a great reputation off the court, but if Syracuse could help him with that he would be a valuable addition to the roster. He is a very talented player. He came off the bench for the Red Raiders his freshman season and played in all but one game. The Virginia native averaged five points, three boards and shot 40% from beyond the arc for the national champion runner ups. Corprew is the type of talent that could fill Elijah Hughes’s absence. The only question is– is Syracuse willing to take the risk on him after his off-court issues?
MATTIAS MARKUSSON – Loyola Marymount
Syracuse isn’t losing a center, but let’s be honest, Bourama Sidibe isn’t going to cut it. If Syracuse wants to be a tournament team, it needs to upgrade at the center position. That upgrade is Mattias Markusson. The Sweden native is a grad transfer, giving him immediate eligibility. He averaged ten points and six rebounds, while shooting 60% from the field over the last two seasons at Loyola Marymount. All of that sounds great, right? Well, here’s the best part– Markusson is 7’3”, 261 pounds! If Syracuse was able to recruit him, the Orange would actually have a legit big man. Someone who has real muscle and size to him and not just another Paschal Chukwu, Bourama Sidibe, or Jesse Edwards. Markusson is getting a lot of interest from other schools, however, so the chances that he comes to Syracuse are slim to none.
MORRIS UDEZE – Wichita State
Staying along the lines of strong big men, Morris Udeze could be another transfer option for Syracuse. He is a sophomore, so he would have to sit out a season, but he would have two years of eligibility left and could take the starting role once Sidibe graduates. Udeze is 6’8”, so he’s not the tallest, but he weighs 240 lbs and has a 7-foot wingspan. He averaged four points and three rebounds off the bench for Wichita State last year. The Florida native isn’t a star, but he would be a big body that could bump and bruise with some of the other big men in the ACC.
With all of this being said and all of the potential targets laid out, the chances that Syracuse gets any of these transfers are slim. There aren’t any reports that the Orange are trying for any of them, but maybe Jim will read this article and start looking at some of these guys. Please Jim, please. Syracuse needs help.