For Syracuse basketball, the past few weeks have been a whirlwind. There have been newcomers, departures and a couple of surprises sprinkled in. If you’ve lost track of what the team is looking like heading into next season, I don’t blame you.
Let’s break all the moves down and analyze where things stand for the program.
Two transfers have hurt the most for Syracuse so far. Freshman Kadary Richmond (G) transferred to Seton Hall, and freshman Woody Newton (F) departed for Oklahoma State. The loss of Richmond definitely stings after he played a major role off the bench in 2020-2021, and Woody Newton’s talent is still undeniable given that he was the #4 overall class of 2020 prospect in Maryland.
At guard, Syracuse now looks to Marquette sophomore guard transfer Symir Torrence (6’3 200 lbs). Torrence has good ability – he earned a four-star rating as a prospect in the class of 2020 – but he only played 13 minutes per game across 24 appearances last year. If Torrence can come in and be a sparkplug like Richmond was, it’ll go a long way in deciding how deep into the season SU plays.
At the forward position, Villanova junior transfer Cole Swider (6’9 225 lbs) and incoming freshman Benny Williams (6’8 180 lbs) join senior Cornell transfer Jimmy Boeheim (6’8, 215) in the position mix. Swider’s defense is a bit of an unknown quantity, but he’s a career 36% three-point shooter with perennial improvement on his resumé. Williams comes out of IMG Academy ranked as the 26th overall prospect in the nation, so his considerable talent is definitely intriguing. Boeheim didn’t get the chance to play for Cornell last year after the Ivy League canceled Winter sports, but he shot 43% with 16.7 PPG for the Big Red in 2019-2020. Boeheim’s addition brings experience and more proven play than either Swider or Williams.
It’s yet to be seen how any of Syracuse’s newcomers will spell minutes for its departed starters who possessed different skillsets. Marek Dolezaj and Alan Griffin both announced their intentions of going pro on April 7th and April 12th, respectively. The combination of Swider, Williams, and Boeheim will likely see minutes in tandem to replace Dolezaj and (potentially Griffin’s) minutes.
At the end of the day, Syracuse returns enough talent (Boeheim, Girard, Sidibe/Edwards at center, likely Griffin and Quincy Guerrier) to avoid needing substantial contributions from every one of its new additions. However, solid work from any one of SU’s new transfers would go a long way in ensuring SU’s competitiveness in next year’s ACC and validate lofty early predictions for Jim Boeheim’s squad.