This year’s Syracuse basketball team is a guard-driven squad. The Orange don’t have as much height, as much depth or as much talent as past years. The depleted front court has only one returner that saw somewhat significant minutes at the center position last year. That player is Bourama Sidibe. The 6’10” forward’s shoulders will have a lot more riding on them as he steps into the starting center role this season.
When you think of notable SU alumni, big men aren’t the first to come to mind. Syracuse is great at producing talented guards, but forwards and centers, not so much. Sidibe has a chance this year to rewrite history and become a memorable front court player. He’ll get the minutes. Now it just comes down to if he can produce or not.
Why Syracuse Needs Him?
Look at the roster. There aren’t many other options. Paschal Chukwu graduated. Marek Dolezaj is undersized for the center position, even though he will sometimes play it in smaller lineups. Jesse Edwards and John Bol Ajak are unproven, unknown freshmen. So, Jim Boeheim doesn’t have much to work with.
Syracuse desperately needs Sidibe to have taken a big step in the offseason. The junior averaged just 1.9 points and 2.7 rebounds per game last year. Those are not numbers that a starting center can put up. Even though he didn’t produce last season, the Orange will rely heavily on him in the middle of their defensive zone. Plus, Sidibe will be called on a good amount on the offensive side under the basket and setting screens at the high post.
Sidibe is, currently, the only player that can make other team’s respect Syracuse in the paint.
Best Case Scenario
Sidibe doesn’t play like he did in his sophomore campaign. He’s on the court for 30 minutes a game and averages a double-double in points and rebounds. His presence in the paint forces opposing defenses to focus on him, allowing the sharpshooters on the outside to get open looks. To top it all off, Sidibe and the Orange make it to The Big Dance in March. Then he rides all of that momentum into his senior year.
Worst Case Scenario
Sidibe continues to play like he did his sophomore year. He struggles to grab rebounds against bigger ACC opponents. He doesn’t contribute on the offensive end. All leading up to him being replaced by Edwards in the starting lineup.
We’ll continue to unveil our top five up until Halloween. Check back here on these days as we continue to get you ready for the much-anticipated 2019 basketball season. Also, make sure to check out our audio content on SoundCloud at Orange Fizz. We post a weekly show, podcasts and more.
Thursday, October 17th: Quincy Guerrier
Monday, October 21st: Jalen Carey
Thursday, October 24th: Bourama Sidibe
Monday, October 28th: #2?
Thursday, October 31st: #1?