Orange nation was rattled in the aftermath of the NCAA investigation into the Syracuse basketball program. The program that is so beloved by so many self-imposed a post-season ban only to receive apparently devastating punishment from the NCAA. These new sanctions– 12 forfeited scholarships over four years, a nine conference game suspension for Jim Boeheim and vacated wins– may have seemed devastating at first, but have since been conquered by the Orange.
Let’s start with the Boeheim suspension. Yes, as of this minute Boeheim will still miss nine conference games, though the appeal is pending. Last month, newly appointed AD Mark Coyle announced that Mike Hopkins will be the next head coach of the Orange. While this was expected, this official announcement makes the suspension of Boeheim slightly less significant.
The man who will coach the team in his absence is his replacement and the suspension can now be viewed just as a preview of things to come. Hopkins has already taken a larger leadership role in team practices in recent years and when it comes down to it, the suspension of Jim Boeheim may prove to not be that big of a deal.
When the sanctions were first announced, the thing that worried many fans the most was the scholarship reductions. How can Syracuse build the great team its fans are accustomed too while losing three scholarships every year for the next four years? How? The same way the football team has approached recruiting; quality over quantity.
With limited spots available for the 2016-17 season, the Orange had to make their recruits count and they did just that landing 4-star forward Matthew Moyer and 5-star guard Tyus Battle. Battle, particularly before his injury in high school, was one of the most sought after guards in the Class of 2016.
247 Sports lists the Orange as the fifth best recruiting class of 2016. Obviously this will change as other teams add more players, but it is better to be in the top five now than not. They also managed to add Providence transfer Paschal Chukwu, who at 7-2 has the potential to be a key part of the 2-3 zone.
Of course, the sanctions may get reduced which would make the off-season that Syracuse basketball has had even better. Obviously, if there were no sanctions, the recruitment of Tyus Battle would be even better as the Orange would have the ability to add a few more recruits around him, however, the Orange have done a masterful job working within the sanctions to have a tremendous recruiting recycle.