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What Will the Syracuse Basketball Rotation Be Next Season?

The timeless tradition of trying to guess Jim Boeheim’s rotation. A game we play every season and almost seemingly always can’t get it right. One thing we can count on though is Boeheim will likely play less guys than we think. 

We went into last year thinking a team led by Jalen Carey at the starting point guard spot would maybe go 10-11 players deep at times. By the end of the season it was basically a six man rotation with a backup guard sprinkled in for roughly five minutes in the first half and Jesse Edwards used like an emergency goalie–except for foul trouble, which happened far too often. 

So what will next year bring? Well for starters, still plenty of time left in the transfer portal to grab someone and add another wrinkle to this. John Gillon, Andrew White and even Taurean Thompson (a high school commit) were all signed roughly three months from this point. There is a lot of time left, but we all have nothing to do so I figured I’d just write this article now. 

The other gigantic question mark about next season is the eligibility of Alan Griffin. Latest news projects this NCAA transfer vote likely will happen this summer and affect guys like Griffin. For the sake of this article, let’s play glass half full and operate under the assumption Griffin is eligible next season. 

With Griffin in the fold, Syracuse has six guys that likely are locks to see solid minutes. The four returning starters–Joe Girard, Buddy Boeheim, Marek Dolezaj and Bourama Sidibe. The other returning rotation piece, Quincy Guerrier. And then Griffin, himself. While it may take time for him to learn the zone, Griffin had to have been promised significant minutes in order to decide on Syracuse (he basically said as much). Also, he immediately becomes one of the more talented players on the team. Honestly, you could make the case that Griffin starts over Guerrier. 

Let’s just say, this is the starting lineup during game one of the season (whenever that day may be). Gut tells me Boeheim rides with the incumbents to begin with.

PlayerEst Mins
Joe Girard III35 mins
Buddy Boeheim 40 mins
Quincy Guerrier 25 mins
Marek Dolezaj30 mins
Bourama Sidibe30 mins

A couple things to address with those numbers. First off, the whole “which Bourama Sidibe will show up next season?” question. If he plays like he did at the end of the season, and most importantly stays out of foul trouble, 30 minutes isn’t unrealistic from the senior center. It’s likely his hypothetical 10 other minutes goes to whoever impresses more between Jesse Edwards and Jon Bol Ajak in non-conference play. To be clear, I’m viewing these minutes on kinda an ACC play basis, when Boeheim has made some cuts to the rotation. 

History suggests he won’t play more than 8 guys. History also suggests he won’t play both Edwards and Ajak in the second half of the season, especially with the potential of playing Dolezaj at the five, as well. 

You’d have to think Jesse is the frontrunner to get those backup minutes. Although the idea of redshirting Edwards this upcoming season is not something I’m totally against. Just from a “what’s the most we can get out of his four seasons?” perspective. This is sorta the last chance to redshirt him too, knowing it’s Sidibe’s last season. 

Anyways let’s give him the 10 minutes. Here’s my best–way-too-early–guess at the full rotation in conference play. 

PlayerEst Mins
Joe Girard III35 mins
Buddy Boeheim 40 mins
Quincy Guerrier 25 mins
Marek Dolezaj30 mins
Bourama Sidibe30 mins
Alan Griffin 25 mins
Jesse Edwards 10 mins
Kadary Richmond 5 mins 

So you’re probably saying “what about Robert Braswell?” or “what about Woody Newton?”. This is not the lineup I would like. It’s not the lineup we will see in non-conference play (all those guys will likely get a chance then). It’s my best guess at the lineup, I am expecting in ACC play, given Boeheim’s history (351st in the country in bench minutes per game last year, per Kenpom). 

Braswell, considering he is in his third year with the program, is the toughest one to leave out. If healthy, perhaps he impresses to the point where Jim puts him in during a fair amount of games. They could certainly use his shooting. I just find it hard to see him, Griffin and Guerrier getting significant minutes in ACC play.

As for Richmond, odds are he gets some chances to bring the ball up and be the backup point guard. Frankly, he is all they have that could fill that reserve role. If you remember last year though, Girard basically was the only point guard that played for 35 minutes of the game. Boeheim would just throw in either Goodine or Washington in the first half for a quick five minutes and rarely it was more than that. I wouldn’t expect Richmond’s role to be any more expanded than that, considering the minutes Girard and Boeheim will need to play this season. 

Who knows how next year’s team will be? When the season will start? Whether Alan Griffin will be a part of it? Whether another transfer or recruit will join? 

These picks are probably going to be way off, but I can promise you Jim Boeheim will play less guys than we think.

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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