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What to Expect from SU Basketball’s Freshmen

Well, it was only a matter of time before Frank Anselem signed with the Orange after committing on June 3. Now, Anselem will join the rest of the basketball team this fall after reclassifying from the 2021 recruiting class.

Syracuse has been on a tear on the recruiting trail recently, with some of that success attributable to its best commit. Now, it will add three intriguing commits to its roster.

Of course, a tough task awaits the team as it tries to replace Elijah Hughes. But, Woody Newton, Kadary Richmond and Anselem are all intriguing recruits with high upside.

Richmond is obviously the biggest name and may be the most important contributor of the three. Much of his playing time will depend on whether Alan Griffin is deemed eligible or not. Jim Boeheim still seems optimistic. If Griffin is eligible, Richmond likely won’t see much playing time at the wing. That’s fine, since he’s more suited as a guard – even though he’s six-foot-seven. That length could really help SU at the top of the zone, where Joe Girard’s smaller stature hurt the Orange. 

While Richmond seems to be a lock for playing time, it’s important to remember that Boeheim probably won’t play more than seven or eight players. If Griffin is eligible, Quincy Guerrier probably comes off the bench again. Along with Richmond also off the bench, that’s a seven man lineup. Throw in Jesse Edwards for an eighth.

All of this is to say, there may not be many minutes for Newton. That could give the freshman an opportunity to bulk up. Right now he’s only listed at 190 pounds. And this offseason, SU has done a great job of shoring up any depth issues. At power forward, Marek Dolezaj and Guerrier will be in front of Newton. Does he beat out Robert Braswell as the third option? Maybe, but even so that doesn’t guarantee any minutes.

If Griffin has to sit out this season, that changes things. Maybe Richmond plays more on the wing. It could also open up an opportunity for Newton depending on how well he shoots from deep. Newton can shoot the three, and if he is able to space the floor on offense, Syracuse could definitely use his 6-foot-8 frame in the 2-3 zone. 

As for Anselem, there may not be much playing time this season. He may have the highest potential of the four centers on the roster, but he’s still very raw. It’s also important to consider that he is supposed to be entering his senior season of high school – not contributing in ACC basketball. 

Towards the end of the season, Bourama Sidibe turned a corner and wreaked havoc down low. Behind him, Edwards showed potential, although he needs to get stronger on defense. However, he had a few nice moves on offense. It will also be interesting to see what John Bol Ajak can do after redshirting last season. If Anselem can beat out Bol Ajak and Edwards for the back-up role, that’s very promising for his future. However, given Bol Ajak and Edwards experience in the program, that won’t be an easy task.

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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