At basketball media day inside the Carmelo K. Anthony Center earlier this season, hall of fame coach Jim Boeheim claimed that the 2022 recruiting class set to hit campus next fall is the “best he’s ever had.” Quite a claim from the longest-tenured active coach in college basketball. There have been plenty of classes that on paper certainly rival that claim such as the 1986, 2002, 2007, and 2010 classes just to name a few.
Regardless, SU does have a highly rated class according to 247, currently rated as the 16th in the country, 4th in the ACC. With the comments that Boeheim made about the 5 guys coming in and the gravitas of Syracuse basketball culture, these guys surely have a lot on their shoulders entering next season, but what does this year’s lack of success add to that load?
Syracuse has never, ever, been this bad under Boeheim. In 46 years, the worst the HOFer has finished was back in 2017 when Andrew White, Tyler Lydon, and company screeched to a halt at 19-15. This season is already looking more bleak. With 14 games left on the regular season schedule, the Orange would be pretty hard-pressed to come close to 20 wins, which seems to be a sort of magic number for big-name programs. They’d have to beat some pretty good teams such as Duke or North Carolina to achieve that mark, rest assured it’s not happening.
So say Syracuse misses the tournament for the 1st time this decade, 7th time this century, what then? Well, with likely Buddy, Jimmy, Swider, and Bourama all gone next season, plenty of minutes are up for grabs. The starting lineup Boeheim will trot out there will include at least a couple of freshmen. They’ll be forced to go out there and attempt to avenge the season SU had this year, and the Orange don’t seem all that keen on building year, so they’ll expect results.
The headliners of that class, Chris Bunch and Justin Taylor will be expected to make an immediate impact, which we now know is a total toss up after 32nd ranked recruit Benny Williams showed he’s not anywhere close to ready to playing meaningful minutes in big games. Syracuse could absolutely be staring down the barrel of a couple losing seasons straight, and it’s hard not to blame all the transfers. Think about what this team could be if Quincy Guerrier, Kadary Richmond, and Robert Braswell all decided to stay. After a Sweet 16 run last year, I’m sure fans would be willing to bet this team would make the tournament with ease, maybe even be ranked! Wow, what a crazy feeling that would be! The Orange haven’t been ranked at the end of a season since 2014!
Without a doubt, SU’s new toys are going to have plenty on their shoulders entering next fall, if they can pull off a successful season it would be a miracle for the program.