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Which Bourama Sidibe Shows Up?

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It’s only been one game, but Bourama Sidibe thoroughly underwhelmed in his return from injury against Clemson on Saturday. Granted he only played 11 minutes, and Syracuse may be slowly bringing him along. But it’s also possible that he played just 11 minutes due to his four fouls. It also doesn’t help Syracuse that the center didn’t grab a rebound.

This leads to an interesting topic discussed on Fizz Radio. Now that Bourama Sidibe is back, which version of the senior will show up? Will it be the player that finished with three double-doubles in Syracuse’s last five games in 2020? Or will it be the guy who fouled on six times in a seven game stretch?

On Saturday it was the latter. Going forward, there probably will continue to be inconsistency in Sidibe’s play. He’ll generally play better than his first game back since the season opener. But he may not string together a late-season six game stretch with at least 10 rebounds — as was the case last season.

To make the NCAA Tournament, Syracuse needs its center to be at least adequate in the paint. Sidibe is too important — and fills the biggest weakness — to be a net-negative on the court. The first issue to resolve is his consistent foul trouble. Last season he began to foul less near the end of the season. Granted that generally meant four fouls per game rather than five. 

Still, that’s the difference between Sidibe being on the floor in late game situations versus sitting near Jim Boeheim. Foul trouble will likely persist for at least the next few games as Sidibe regains a feel for the flow of the game.

Besides foul problems, Sidibe must grab rebounds. Syracuse needs him to gobble up boards much more than the Orange need Sidibe to score. If the senior averaged eight rebounds along with five points, that could change the course of a game. But for now, he just needs to prove he can stay on the court.

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