Jim Boeheim quickly patched up the leaks on his ship this week. After losing center John Bol Ajak, forward Robert Braswell, and future star guard Kadary Richmond to the transfer portal, Syracuse immediately responded by bringing in Marquette transfer Symir Torrence and Villanova import Cole Swider. It doesn’t seem like the turnstile will stop there.
Syracuse players have tweeted multiple cryptic messages which would make any sane person wonder.
Neither of these read well for SU, but if we’re being honest, it doesn’t make much sense for either player to hit the portal. Anselem was supposed to be a senior in high school this year, and Griffin, fresh from Illinois, struggled while trying to be a primary scorer for the first time in his college career. Other coaches would certainly take a flyer on them, but it seems like they haven’t made enough of an impact in Orange to leave.
We also have to keep in mind that this is a nation-wide phenomenon. Teams all over the country are losing starters, even all-conference dudes, to the portal. Georgetown center Qudus Wahab averaged 13 points and 8 rebounds per game, and made the All-Big East tournament team. He’s now heading to Maryland. West Virginia forward Emmitt Matthews played 25 minutes on a tournament team (even though he missed layup after layup)? See ya. Virginia Tech deadeye Jalen Cone? Gone. Pitt’s best jump shooter Au’Diese Toney? Outta there (in the middle of the season too. Yikes). The new one-time transfer rules have turned college basketball into the largest “one year free trial” in the U.S.
While it’s great for the players to have freedom, like testing the NBA Draft waters, you have to feel for the coaches. Not only do they have to recruit high schoolers, but there’s now another pool of talent in the mix. It might be easy for a team to load up with talent in one offseason, but it’ll be just as easy for a team (i.e. Pitt) to lose its stars in a matter of moments.
The transfer portal is going to be for college basketball what the subway is for folks in New York City. A commonly accepted way to get from place to place. While a player’s ego/reputation might take a small hit for leaving a school (like one’s bank account when buying a subway ticket), it’s ultimately worth it because better opportunity lies elsewhere.