After losing its top three scorers from last season, Syracuse fans began to slam the panic button on SU’s new look offense. But the long time staple of Jim Boeheim teams is the 2-3 zone, which is where the Orange is taking a huge hit next season. The departure of Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney leaves Syracuse without two of the ACC’s top four steals leaders. Malachi Richardson wasn’t too far behind the seniors’ paths. He tied for 13th as well as second in the conference amongst freshman. The Orange combats its losses with the arrivals of Tyus Battle, Matthew Moyer, John Gillon and potentially Taurean Thompson. Here’s how the new look Orange lines up in the notorious Boeheim defense.
At the top, there’s only one lock and his name is Frank Howard. The sophomore-to-be showed his worth throughout last year’s tournament and even earned Boeheim’s trust to play big minutes in important games. Howard’s prowess on the defensive end showed potential due to his length at the top of the zone. As for the other spot, that has yet to be determined. Battle is a premier defender, but that came from a man-to-man style of play. Gillon comes from a matchup defense as well. The Colorado State transfer doesn’t possess the length that previous Orange guards had, but makes up for it with his quickness which is essential to disrupting the passing lanes. There will likely be some growing pains at the top, but with time, expect to see an effective duo.
On the bottom lies experience as well as talent. So expect to see a lot of the same production from last year. The new faces in the frontcourt are 7’2 Providence transfer Paschal Chukwu and Moyer. The center will provide some much needed height to a relatively undersized group. As for the freshman, he brings a long body that fits perfectly into the zone. Of the returning bunch, Dajuan Coleman returns for a fifth season and started to show some of his strength in the latter half of the tournament. Tyler Roberson showed that he can be a force on the glass numerous times this season and was a consistent piece to last year’s zone. Finally, Tyler Lydon displayed his impressive rim protecting ability late in the season. The freshman averaged four blocks per game during the tournament. This group will pick up right where it left off and anchor down the lower three.