Syracuse’s 76-73 victory over NC State on Sunday may be the last game the Orange have to play without Bourama Sidibe. The center was supposed to return around the start of 2021, however his condition has taken much longer than expected to improve. But now, it seems like Sidibe is close to a return.
“We think Bourama might be able to play a little bit on Wednesday,” head coach Jim Boeheim said after the NC State win. “He practiced a little bit, but I don’t think he was full ready to go. He said he might be able to play today, but he didn’t really act like he was. “
Here at the Fizz we’ve bickered over whether Sidibe should return to the starting lineup, or be relegated to the bench. And it seems early on, Boeheim plans to use the senior sparsely as he re-acclimates to play. From there, it might be another Joe Girard Kadary Richmond situation where it truly depends on the flow of the game.
If Syracuse is losing rebound after rebound, perhaps Sidibe comes in for Marek Dolezaj. When Boeheim wants to space out the floor, he can take Sidibe out. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see some instances where Sidibe, Dolezaj and Quincy Guerrier are all on the floor together. Call it a jumbo package if Richmond joins that lineup in place of Girard.
But with Alan Griffin commonly yanked by Boeheim, there will be instances when this massive lineup works. Of course the shooting suffers but Syracuse should consistently out-rebound teams.
For the first time in years, Boeheim has enough depth to use differing strategies throughout the 40 minutes. Besides keeping opposing head coaches on their toes, this would allow Boeheim’s players to rest every game. There’s no need for anyone to be playing more than 35 minutes.
Whether he comes off the bench or starts games, Sidibe will likely be worked back slowly. And with two or three viable bench options, Syracuse will now have the versatility to match up with a variety of teams.