This isn’t the first mass exodus Syracuse basketball has seen recently. Prior to last season, the Orange lost three guards. Howard Washington (South Alabama), Jalen Carey (Rhode Island) and Brycen Goodine (Providence). Washington opted out of this season. Carey only averaged about four points per game. Goodine didn’t even average two points per game, a step back from his time on the Hill. Granted, 2021 is an unprecedented year in the transfer portal. But with so many players leaving, and the failure of last year’s departed players, it’s hard not to wonder how this year’s transfers will fare.
Richmond is the only transfer that already has a new home. The 6’5″ guard has the build, athleticism and skillset for the next level, and it’s likely that Seton Hall is a one-year stop before he turns pro. It seems like a perfect match with Pirates point guard Shavar Reynolds entering the portal. Reynolds averaged 7.7 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game in the Hall’s offense. It’s realistic to assume that Richmond will lap those numbers, and make a monumental impact on the defensive end with the starting role all but given to him.
There hasn’t been much buzz on Braswell to any specific school since he entered his name into the portal. But this one was a head scratcher. The former three-star decided to move on just when he was breaking into the rotation with some impact minutes. Braswell will likely have to wait his turn in the portal because not many programs will be calling him as their number one “three-and-D” wing in the portal. His success in, most likely, a lesser group of five program is contingent on his health. If Braswell’s legs hold up then his athleticism should make him a respectable man defender. More importantly, it will allow him to stay on the floor and get his shots up.
Ajak is another name that seems destined for a group of five program. The center showed some skill in limited action with Syracuse, but not much ability based on his size. It’s going to be even tougher for him to contribute in a man-defense when he is outweighed by 40-50 pounds. Don’t expect Ajak to be a name Syracuse kicks themselves over in the future.
Newton is going to be a case of “what could have been” for Syracuse. The freshman showed off his three-point jumper last year, hitting eight of 17 tries. More importantly, his athleticism seemed to make him destined to develop into a good slasher from the wing. Even though there’s not much tape to go off of, there will be a deep market for his services. Don’t be surprised if he lands with an ACC team in need of a jolt. He could be a thorn in SU’s side for years to come.