Following the departures of Alan Griffin, Robert Braswell and Quincy Guerrier, questions arose about the Syracuse formula. Why did so many players leave after a Sweet 16 berth? But luckily for the Orange, they answered that question with help from the NCAA’s new transfer rules. It specifically brought two stretch forwards to Central New York who change the complexity of this SU team.
Those two include Villanova transfer Cole Swider and Cornell grad transfer Jimmy Boeheim.
There’s plenty to break down between this pair of scoring, lengthy, athletic forwards who are able to compete on both ends. However, their ability to work as a tandem was evident in SU’s exhibition wins over Pace and Le Moyne and have a chance to stay that way in the regular season.
Swider, at 6’9”, is a force beyond the perimeter. He can work off the dribble while sizing up defenders within 15 feet. Both were apparent in his 39-point combined effort over the past week. His efficiency from long range also forces opponents to respect his shot, opening up holes off a pump fake, while clearing room for his teammates to spot up and receive the ball of a dribble drive. The transfer’s lengthy attribute carries over to the defensive side as well.
No Guerrier meant a lack of size attacking the boards out of the zone. Swider solves that dilemma. His frame allows for a quick show and recovery from the wing to his post at the bottom of the 2-3, giving him great position to snatch rebounds. It’s quite the level up from a skinnier Robert Braswell or even an undersized Alan Griffin if Guerrier was sitting.
Boeheim is the cherry on top of an already icing-filled cake. He brings size and strength to the other side of the zone, and the ability/speed to halt baseline drives from the corner or wing. The former Cornell forward knows the scheme well and can keep up with smaller guards attacking from the perimeter. It also helps that Swider and whoever is in at center are focused on rebounds, allowing Boeheim to leak out on either lane and play the role of the wide receiver ready to catch an outlet pass.
His experience translates to scoring too. A 17 point per game player a couple years ago for the Big Red, Boeheim spaces the floor with his shot-making prowess and tight lefty handle. His frame even gives SU an option to use him in the pick-and-roll or a pick and pop (set the screen and leak out to an open space for a shot, rather than rolling to the rim) scenario.
These different play designs leave a defense on its heels when a player is so versatile on the offensive end. A sentiment related to both Swider and Boeheim, a pair that patches the gaps of last year’s 18-win regular season team.
These two are lethal in transition too. That can also be said about the comradery they’ve developed this summer, with Swider as a senior and Boeheim as a grad student. With a tight bond, these two are impenetrable on the defensive side and create a whole lot of matchup problems and second guessing when it comes to offense.