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The Transfer Portal is Hurting SU’s Conference Opponents

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Syracuse has had its fair share of ups and downs in the transfer portal. The quick reaction to grab Symir Torrence and Cole Swider to replace the likes of Kadary Richmond, Robert Braswell and Woody Newton showed that Jim Boeheim still has a strong reputation among players in the college basketball world. Program departures are now commonplace, but replenishing that stock is another story. SU’s fellow ACC programs are losing talent left and right. Let’s take a look at some conference programs with serious holes to fill.


The Panthers lost their starting backcourt before the 2020-21 season concluded. Xavier Johnson (transferred to Indiana) and Au’Diese Toney (Arkansas) both entered the portal before the end of regular season play, marking rock-bottom for a Pitt team that threatened the top of the ACC mid-January. Toney and Johnson combined for almost 30 points a game. Forwards Abdoul Karim Coulibaly (St. Bonaventure) and Terrell Brown (San Diego) are also looking for bigger roles elsewhere.

North Carolina

New head man Hubert Davis has some massive empty spaces in his rotation. They’re massive because all of UNC’s big men are gone. Day’Ron Sharpe and Armando Bacot are heading to the NBA, and Walker Kessler, Garrison Brooks and the little-used Sterling Brown all want a change of scenery. The Tar Heels are bringing in the unproven Justin McKoy from Virginia, but with no bigs committed in the class of 2021, UNC’s play style should be a lot different than in years past.


The Hurricanes have also been a victim of mass emigration. Chris Lykes, the diminutive point guard who some called the hardest cover in the ACC, is headed to Arkansas. Former top-50 recruit Earl Timberlake (Memphis) is out after an injury-riddled freshman year, offensive sparkplug Elijah Olaniyi (Stony Brook) wants more of the rock, and sharpshooter Matt Cross (Louisville) could come back to torch the ‘Canes next year. Last but not least, starting center Nysir Brooks (Ole Miss) is heading to a sneaky good SEC team from a team that wasn’t anywhere close to competing a year ago. Good luck, Mr. Larra√±aga (who does have two four-star recruits incoming).

Boston College

Wynston Tabbs (ECU). Jay Heath. Rich Kelly. C.J. Felder (Florida). Boston College is starting fresh, with a new head coach in Earl Grant, and minus four-fifths of its starting five. The Eagles are a loooong way away from being anything else than the doormat of the ACC.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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