The last time Syracuse had three players from the previous season in the NBA draft was in the 2012, when Dion Waiters, Kris Joseph and Fab Melo were all selected.
This year, only two of the three were chosen. Tyler Ennis went 18th overall to the Phoenix Suns. Jerami Grant went 39th overall to the Philadelphia 76ers.
C.J. Fair was undrafted.
First and foremost, Ennis’ selection was a bit of a shocker. The Suns already have two point guards—both of whom will see a lot of playing time. This has its advantages and disadvantages for Ennis. He will have the opportunity to learn by watching, something he didn’t have much of at Syracuse.
Ennis came into his freshman season with very high expectations. He was running the show as a college freshman for a team with so much history. He did not fail, and he won’t fail in Phoenix. He has the opportunity to learn from two experienced guards and develop into a desirable option for teams in the future.
The biggest disadvantage for Ennis is the lack of playing time. He is ready to be a starting point guard. That would have been the best situation for him, especially after coming off his successful freshman season at Syracuse.
Grant joins former Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams in Philadelphia. This is a solid spot for Grant: he is a good team player, and playing with MCW should be in his comfort zone.
This team nearly looks like an all-star team built from the NCAA’s best from 2012 to 2014. MCW, Joel Embiid (Kansas), K.J. McDaniels (Clemson), Nerlens Noel (Kentucky), Russ Smith (Louisville) and now Grant—all of these guys are familiar with one another. At some point, these players have played against or with each other. MCW and Noel are friends; McDaniels played against Grant this season; MCW played with Grant and against Smith; and of course, Noel and MCW were teammates this past season with the Sixers. Philly is in a rebuilding process, and relying heavily on draft picks to help rebuild the team into a contender. Grant is a key piece to that puzzle.
These guys will bond, and with a strong coaching staff and a veteran in Jason Richardson for the Sixers, they aren’t too far away from competing in the Eastern Conference.
Some may have been surprised that C.J. Fair was not drafted. There was so much talent in this year’s draft, so he still has a chance. Any team could sign him to a contract and it’s likely that he will work out with teams in hopes of making it to the NBA, like Scoop Jardine. He kept on trying out for teams and never gave up. Fair could do the same thing, or he could take Brandon Triche’s route, and go overseas and play professional basketball.
Have no fear, Orange Nation. C.J. will likely end up somewhere.
Posted by: Austin Pollack