The last two years, Syracuse has gone down the graduate transfer route with mixed results. From Andrew White carrying a team coupled with John Gillon’s heroics in 2016-17 to Geno Thorpe leaving the program after playing in just six games, there are both pros and cons to bringing in grad transfers.
For a program like Syracuse, it can be difficult to assimilate to the nation’s most complex defense. We heard Jim Boeheim talk about White and Gillon as having two extra freshman on the team. But they also bring a spark to the offense and can light up the stat sheet night in and night out thanks to experience. But in the case of Thorpe, he may have thought that he would have a bigger role after carrying the load at South Florida the previous season.
When you look at the Orange’s roster for 2018-19, there may not be a grad transfer being brought in. And that very well could be the case given the loaded recruiting class and potential remaining players. But it’s a possibility that can’t be ruled out given the recent track record as well as the potential for playing time. For this exercise, let’s assume that Tyus Battle is leaving, which would open up the shooting guard spot on the roster. Lastly, these are all speculative. There are no rumors swirling about these players talking to Syracuse. These are who would make sense for SU.
Cheddi Mosely, Guard, Boston University
Mosley has dealt with injuries throughout his time with the Terriers. He has only played 13 games over the last two seasons. But he’s one of the better scorers in what is a relatively thin crop. Mosley would not come in and be a starter for this team, but SU lacked bench scoring last season. He could provide exactly that to build upon a roster that could very well be one of the deepest in recent memory for Boeheim. At just 6-foot-3, he is not the ideal size or length for Boeheim’s zone. However, neither was John Gillon and most Syracuse fans were more than happy with his contributions as a bench-scorer turned starter.
Keyshawn Woods, Guard, Wake Forest
This is a name that may be familiar to Orange fans. While Woods never lit up Syracuse, he was one of the best bench players in the conference. Woods could pack a punch off the bench for SU and give it some overwhelming depth at guard if Battle chooses to leave. But like Mosley, his metrics don’t fit the Boeheim mold, but that doesn’t mean he can’t score in the Orange’s system. Thorpe and Gillon both did not fit that mold, but Boeheim took the chance on them.
Tariq Owens, Forward/Center, St. Johns
Owens is one of the most sought after big men on the market this offseason. He averaged 8.4 points and 5.9 rebounds with St. Johns, but the most intriguing stat for Owens is his blocks. He averaged 2.2 last year and 2.8 the year before. His body is what Boeheim would want in a big man. While Paschal Chukwu and Bourama Sidibe remain on the roster, both ran into foul trouble and health problems and the Orange wasn’t the same without a big guy on the floor. Owens would be a great option off the bench and could even compete for a starting job. However, Owens already has a short list of teams he is considering, but most of them are teams that missed or didn’t make deep tournament runs and were already working on next year’s roster, so maybe the Orange can make a late bid.
Ryan Luther, Forward, Pitt
Luther was off to a torrid start for the miserable Panthers before a foot injury ended his season. That allowed him to get a hardship waiver and be granted a fifth year by the NCAA. Before his injury, Luther was averaging a double-double. Luther plays like a guard, but at 6-foot-9, he can put his back to the basket and flash some post moves. He may not get much of a look given his size and the overload at forward for the Orange next season, but Luther is certainly one of the most talented players on the market.