Early this week, the first two members of the 2018 Boeheim‚Äôs Army roster for the The Basketball Tournament in July and August were revealed and they really weren‚Äôt a surprise. SU legend Eric Devendorf and the winningest player in the history of Syracuse basketball, Brandon Triche, will both represent the Orange this summer.
What‚Äôs more interesting about the announcement of the first two members of the roster, however, is what is still yet to come. To be eligible for the tournament, general manager Kevin Belbey has to have at least seven players committed to the roster by June 1st, so that means at least five more Orange alumni will be playing for Boeheim‚Äôs Army.
Belbey said that more announcements should become public later this week and that one of them would be new to the team. So now the question becomes what this team will look like come June 1. Well, we‚Äôve got some ideas about who we could see back, who might not make a return to the roster and who some new additions could be.
CJ Fair ‚Äì Fair is coming off a season in which he was signed by the Chicago Bulls before being waived the next day, dashing his dreams of making his NBA debut. Prior to that he had been playing well for the Windy City Bulls, Chicago‚Äôs G League affiliate, where he averaged 10 points and four rebounds per game. He contributed well to Boeheim‚Äôs Army in last year‚Äôs TBT (8.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and he‚Äôs a strong contender to return to the roster this year.
Trevor Cooney ‚Äì Although he didn‚Äôt play a ton in his time with the team last season, Cooney can still provide a nice scoring spark off the bench for Boeheim‚Äôs Army. He averaged 6.8 points and 2 rebounds per game in the tournament last season and in his time with Basquet Coru√±a in Spain, he‚Äôs averaged 9 points in a reserve role. He won‚Äôt be a star but could be a nice role player come this summer.
Donte Greene ‚Äì Outside of Devendorf, Greene was probably Boeheim‚Äôs Army‚Äôs most consistent scoring option last summer. He brought a consistent post game to a team that was otherwise offensively dominated by guards. He‚Äôs currently averaging 13.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists as a starter for Al Riyadi in Beirut. If for nothing more than bringing some much-needed size and rebounding to the team, it‚Äôd be nice to see Greene back.
MIGHT NOT BE BACK BECAUSE OF OFF-THE-COURT ISSUES
Rick Jackson ‚Äì Jackson was another one of the bigs that helped Boeheim‚Äôs Army march all the way to the semifinals of TBT last year. He was the team‚Äôs best rebounder at 7.4 boards per game and complimented Greene nicely as a post scorer at 7.4 points per game. He‚Äôs not currently affiliated with any G League or NBA teams, so that means his path to coming back would be a little easier. At least, it would be if he hadn‚Äôt gotten himself into a bit of trouble with some NSFW comments in a video that was leaked on Twitter in March. Boeheim‚Äôs Army is all about representing the Syracuse basketball program as proudly as possible and considering some of the comments in the video, Jackson may have a lot of bad feelings surrounding him.
IT‚ÄôS UP TO THE BOSS MAN, BUT SEEMS IFFY AT BEST
John Gillon ‚Äì Gillon was one of the later adds to last year‚Äôs Boeheim‚Äôs Army roster and that, in part, helped him be selected by the Texas Legends in the 2017 G League Draft in October. Since then he has moved on to the Erie Bayhawks, who are affiliated with the Atlanta Hawks, and he‚Äôs been great, contributing 9 points per game to an Erie team that made it to the Eastern Conference finals. The only reason he may not come back is because he did play so well in the playoffs and Erie/Atlanta may not want him risking injury. Boeheim‚Äôs Army would like to have him back, but he‚Äôs carved a role for himself in the Atlanta organization and that role may hold him back.
James Southerland ‚Äì Similarly to Gillon, Southerland played on the Boeheim‚Äôs Army team last year and was a consistent scoring and shooting option off the bench. Again, similarly to Gillon, Southerland finds himself at the mercy of a G League/NBA franchise as he was a key contributor to a South Bay Lakers roster that found itself in the Western Conference Finals. It will be interesting to see if Gillon and Southerland will find themselves back with Boeheim‚Äôs Army this summer.
Andrew White ‚Äì When I first saw that there would possibly be a new addition to the Boeheim‚Äôs Army roster, my first thought was Andrew White. He‚Äôs obviously a fantastic shooter and scorer and can also play a bit of small forward if they really needed him to. Then I remembered that White is on a two-way contract with the Atlanta Hawks, meaning that he is eligible to play for both Atlanta and Erie and he was pretty successful in his limited NBA action this season. I find it even more unlikely that the Hawks would let White play in TBT considering the fact that he played 15 games for the big club this season.
POSSIBLE NEWCOMERS/RETURNERS FROM PREVIOUS TEAMS
Rakeem Christmas ‚Äì This is the option that I‚Äôm most excited about in terms of what he can bring to the floor for Boeheim‚Äôs Army this summer. Just a year removed from playing in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers, Christmas now finds himself as a member of the New Zealand Breakers. Christmas brings size and rim protecting ability that this Boeheim‚Äôs Army roster desperately needs, plus he‚Äôs been a big supporter of the team over the years.
Locked into TBT #BoeheimsArmy
— Rakeem Christmas (@R_Xmas25) July 9, 2017
For a guy that‚Äôs still got #SyracuseAlum as the first thing listed on his Twitter bio, Christmas seems like the perfect fit as that mystery guy that Kevin Belbey alluded to.
Andy Rautins ‚Äì Rautins is another intriguing candidate because of his three-point stroke. He becomes even more intriguing if Gillon and Southerland can‚Äôt come back to the team. He wouldn‚Äôt be a star player by any stretch of the imagination, but he could bring some scoring and length off the bench and bring it to the guard spot. He‚Äôs currently a starter averaging 9 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists for Banvit in Turkey.
Baye Moussa Keita ‚Äì Keita played with Boeheim‚Äôs Army in 2016 but was sidelined with a biceps injury last summer that didn‚Äôt allow him to play with the team last year. He‚Äôs become a bit of a fan favorite over the last few years and even went as far as to still go to a lot of the team‚Äôs games in TBT last year. Keita‚Äôs one of those guys that would just be a lot of fun to have on the roster and he could provide some great defensive help in the post as a bench piece.
HONORABLE MENTION: Tyler Roberson, DaJuan Coleman, Kris Joseph