With a recruiting class that lacks a lot of star power, Bourama Sidibe provided Orange fans with hope after his performance in the Jordan Brand Classic. The center shined as one of three players with a double-double after he notched 18 points to go along with 12 boards. Sidibe was the only Syracuse commit playing in the game, but it also featured Syracuse targets like Jordan Tucker, who scored just 5 points, and Chris Duarte, who was more impressive with 18 points.
This year’s recruiting class may not have the highly touted prospect SU fans have become accustomed to, but the pieces largely make sense, especially given the Orange’s departures. One of those players in particular is Sidibe. His rim protection will prove to be extra valuable with Tyler Lydon moving on to the NBA. Sidibe provides another dimension that is offensive rebounding. The New Jersey product is great at creating and converting on second chance opportunities, which is huge for the Orange. Contrary to Syracuse’s rebounding woes, the team finished tied for third in the ACC in offensive rebounds per game, but a lot of that came from Lydon and Tyler Roberson, both of which are gone next year.
The trouble for Sidibe will be proving himself out of the gate. He will have to prove to Jim Boeheim that he is unfazed by college big men, which can be the biggest struggle for freshman centers because of the strength disparity between high school and college. Along with that fact, some centers are not used to playing against guys who are just as big as them since they are often times absolute monsters in size compared to their competition. There are also red flags about Sidibe’s offensive game. With no polished post presence, we could see Sidibe fall under the Roberson umbrella where his defense will be good enough to let him see the floor, but could be held back from his offensive deficiencies.