The Jordan Tucker pursuit came to a crushing end after the four-star forward tweeted that he committed to Duke after the Blue Devils made a last minute bid for his services. Now, understandably, Orange Nation is in a bit of a nervous state. Syracuse is left with the 62nd best recruiting class in the country and the 10th best in the ACC. Of course, there is still a chance that Syracuse improves on that number with a commitment from Sid Wilson or a reclassification and a commitment from Eric Ayala, but Tucker felt like Syracuse’s last, best chance to bring in a big-time recruit.
With Tucker out of the picture, the Orange are looking at a another year of a six or seven man rotation. Before the 2016-17 season, many fans and experts alike believed that the season would be different because the Orange had legitimate depth. Though Syracuse had lost its top three scorers from the Final Four run of the year before, Syracuse looked set to have a nine man rotation. Well, an early-season injury to Pascal Chukwu and poor play from DaJuan Coleman and Tyler Roberson led to the Orange falling back on a familiar six man rotation.
The 2017 season is very much shaping up to be the same story again, except this time, without a player who has experience playing 35-plus minutes every single game, like Tyler Lydon did last season. If the Orange fail to add another player in this recruiting cycle (ECU transfer Elijah Hughes is not eligible to play until the 2018-19 season), Syracuse has very little depth at any position. At guard, the Orange have Frank Howard, Tyus Battle and incoming freshman Howard Washington. At forward, Syracuse returns Taurean Thompson and Pascal Chukwu and brings in Matthew Moyer, who was red shirted last season, and freshmen Bourama Sidibe and O’Shae Brissett.
That is a total of eight scholarship players. It is impossible to know how good the three freshman and Moyer will be because they have never played a college game. Chukwu was underwhelming in his limited action last season and is coming off an injury that caused him to miss about four months of action. Jim Boeheim will have to find a way to use these eight players as efficiently as possible because he really has no margin for error. The Orange just don’t have enough players to be able to cope with one or two players not being ready to play a huge role next season.