With the season officially over, one big question remains: will Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant return next year?
Both are projected to be mid-first-round NBA draft picks, but there are a lot of positives to staying another year.
It has been commonplace in the past few seasons for top freshmen to declare for the NBA draft only after one season. Nerlens Noel and Anthony Bennett were the first two freshmen to be selected in last year’s draft, and Bennett was the first overall pick.
How well did that work out for both of them thus far?
Of course, some players have very legitimate reasons for opting for the draft as soon as possible. Many players see a large signing bonus as too big to reject, especially with the issue of paying college players still at large. Other players do not want to blow an opportunity if they cannot perform the same way next year or suffer a major injury. Michael Carter-Williams was right for opting to go the NBA draft early, as he took advantage of the fact that scouts draft on potential and overlook how many turnovers he had a game. However, Ennis and Grant both have other factors that could make their path to the NBA unique.
Tyler Ennis shined his freshman year and showed what he can do in real-game situations. When the pressure was on during the 25-0 stretch, Ennis kept his cool on every possession and rarely turned the ball over. Unfortunately for the Orange, it was a tale of two seasons for Syracuse, which seems to diminish what Ennis actually did for this team. Ennis made some freshman mistakes during the Orange’s tough skid, including taking a shot at the end of the Dayton game instead of driving to the hoop. The Canadian has the intangibles you cannot teach, but another year to perfect some of the end-of-season mistakes could really go a long way.
As for Grant, the decision becomes much more interesting when you consider his security blanket of family. Syracuse fans know of Jerami’s strong basketball family background— his father Harvey, uncle Horace and brother Jerian. When you consider how much potential Grant has in addition to his ties to the game, an opportunity to play in the NBA is almost automatic, even if he stays an extra year at Syracuse. The Maryland product also needs to further develop his jump shot. He will not be able to rely on simply outmuscling NBA forwards if he wants to be successful in the Association.
If both were to come back, Syracuse would be considered a front runner for the national championship. Depth is something that haunted the 2013-2014 Syracuse squad but could be a major positive if Ennis and Grant return.
Posted by: Zephan Mayell