Syracuse needs an influx of new talent. Plain and simple. When Jim Boeheim said last week on his weekly radio show that his son Jimmy Boeheim would be seeking a 6th season in college via a waiver from the NCAA, Orange fans were up in arms.
Boeheim has played admirably through 18 games at the highest level of college basketball. He’s averaging over 14 points per game and almost six and a half rebounds a game while shooting 48% from the field. Despite these strong numbers, he is consistently out of place on defense.
Boeheim has an age and size advantage over a lot of forwards with his 6’8 225 frame, yet his inability to move his feet on the wing of the zone has heavily contributed to Syracuse’s 228th ranking in defensive efficiency on kenpom.com after last night’s 91-78 win over Clemson.
It’s not just kenpom where the Orange have struggled, SU is ranked 230th in adjusted defensive efficiency on Bart Torvik’s “T-Rank” for the 2022 college basketball season. Boeheim has been a complete liability on the wing of the zone despite having the same name as the man who invented and perfected it.
It’s also not just about Boeheim. Syracuse has options at forward going into next season. Benny Williams will be a sophomore, and he’s indicated numerous times he’ll return to SU next season. Cole Swider has a remaining year of eligibility, but it’s yet to be seen if he’ll use it. Then, you have two incoming freshmen in top-100 recruit Chris Bunch, and three-star Maliq Brown as well.
Both of those players are more fit to play in the two-three zone with their length and athleticism. It took Jimmy Boeheim four years in college to get to Syracuse after playing in the Ivy League, and everyone is now seeing why he did not come to SU straight out of high school.
Boeheim returning next season could force a logjam on the wing. Maybe Swider also returns and then you’re in the same position as this season with two guys dominating the playing time when they probably should not be your only options.
Williams will have a full offseason to develop his shot and earn Jim Boeheim’s trust, and he’s undoubtedly one of the most talented forwards to come to SU in a long time. The Maryland native should be a starter next year for the Orange.
Coach Boeheim may have said on Monday that Benny isn’t playing well in practice or games right now, but he said the same thing about Jesse Edwards a year ago, and look where the Dutchman is now. A lot can change in one offseason.
All in all, Boeheim returning to Syracuse next season would be disastrous for the future of the Orange program. The dominoes that might fall in the form of transfers or decommitments could hurt the program for years to come.
Jimmy, you’ve had a great college career. 1,000 points, an Ivy League degree, playing with your brother for your father, but it’s time to leave college life after this season. Next year is about changing the mold of Syracuse basketball for the future. It’s time to move on.