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Syracuse Basketball Positional Preview: Forwards

Basketball season is right around the corner, literally, it starts next Tuesday. With that in mind, we here at the Fizz want to do everything possible to get you ready for the year. We doled out preseason awards, gave our predictions on the starting lineup, and answered every question out there. It’s now time to look into each position group. Last Thursday we talked guards, today it’s all about forwards.

Forwards are a huge part of Syracuse basketball. Recently that’s been true more than ever. Guys like Oshae Brissett, Elijah Hughes, CJ Fair, and of course Carmelo Anthony are a few of the names that defined the 2000s and 2010s for SU hoops. With new transfer eligibility rules, the transfer portal became a pseudo-free-agent market this past offseason. Syracuse both lost and gained players, let’s dive into what the Orange offer at forward:

Cole Swider

Among all new players on Syracuse this season, Swider has by far been the most impressive through two exhibition games. The Villanova transfer can do just about everything on the offensive end. Shooting seems to come easy to the Rhode Island native, he dropped 9 threes on 15 tries against Pace and Le Moyne combined, but if those two games don’t convince you he did it in the Big East all last season. Swider shot over 40% from distance for Nova. His offense isn’t the only part of his game, however. Jim Boeheim said it’s not even the best part. At SU basketball media day, the Hall of Famer contested that Swider’s defense is better than his offense. At 6-9 220 lbs, the senior is perfect for the zone. If those numbers ring a bell it might be because they are nearly identical to former SU forward, Hakim Warrick (6-9 218 lbs), and we all know how great he was in the zone. Look for Swider to be incredibly effective for the Orange this season, he’s already looking like the best newcomer.

Jimmy Boeheim III

It’s a family affair! Whichever way you slice it, this is a nice story. Jimmy and Buddy playing for their dad at one of the highest levels in the world in the place they grew up. Cmon, this is heart-warmer. It’s not just a good story though, as well all know, Buddy can play, and Jimmy can too. Jim’s eldest son played 3 strong seasons in the IVy league at Cornell, including a final season in which he averaged over 16 ppg. Obviously, the competition over there isn’t what it is in the ACC, but regardless, Jimmy should prove incredibly valuable to a team that lost a lot of shooting and defense with the departures of Robert Braswell (Charlotte), Quincy Guerrier (Oregon), and more. JB3 (yes that is his new nickname) should fit in really nicely with the team, at 6-8 225 lbs, he too fits perfectly into the 2-3 zone.

Benny Williams

The excitement in Syracuse is palpable for Benny Williams. Every time he touched the ball against Pace or Le Moyne the Dome was on its feet, and when he delivered with a basket, the fans erupted. It’s been a long time since the Orange have had a guy come in with the expectation that he’ll make a big difference his freshman season. Williams is that guy. He can dribble, shoot from mid-range, score inside, rebound, play stout defense, and most noticeably, utilize his athleticism unlike anyone else on the court. He’s just so much fun to watch. He’ll play a huge part in the success of Syracuse this season. Everyone in the world of Syracuse basketball should be excited for what the team has in this kid. 

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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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