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Looking Ahead: SU’s Potential 2022-23 Depth Chart

Photo courtesy of SI.com

Syracuse is looking at potentially having a very different roster heading into next season. Jim Boeheim has reiterated this week that Buddy Boeheim, Cole Swider, and Jimmy Boeheim will not return. Bourama Sidibe is out of eligibility. 

But, there’s always the potential for transfers. We’ll look at these players in three groups instead of five positions that more reflects modern basketball. So, with this season winding down, let’s take an early look at who will be back, who might be gone, and who could start on Jim Boeheim’s 47th Syracuse team.

Guards:

Joe Girard III (Senior)

Going into his fourth year in the program, Girard has started all but two games in his Syracuse career and will undoubtedly be back to lead the Orange in his senior year. Although his career has not been to the delight of many SU fans, next year’s team will need senior leadership, and Girard can provide that, while hopefully improving his game in a couple of key areas (decision-making, shot selection, and conditioning)

Symir Torrence (Senior)

Torrence will also be a senior next season and is likely to stay in his role as the first guard off the bench. Torrence just does not have the scoring ability to be a consistent starter and someone who can be relied upon to put up points every night. His defense and passing are okay, which is why he deserves 10-15 minutes a night, but his best role is as the third guard on a decent team, and that’s what he should be next year.

Quadir Copeland (Freshman)

What a drop in age and experience. From two fourth-year college players to a first-year college player. Copeland is likely the fourth guard on next year’s team, and potentially even lower on the depth chart if Boeheim brings in other pieces. With good height and length at 6’6, Copeland has the makings of a prototypical zone defender but might not see much action his freshman year with two seniors on the roster. Copeland’s sophomore season will be the one to watch for him to take a leap.

Judah Mintz? (Freshman)

Syracuse has been recruiting four-star Judah Mintz, who was in attendance for the Orange’s loss against Duke. Mintz would provide an immediate upgrade in the backcourt with an ability to score at all three levels. The Oak Hill Academy guard comes from a program that has produced a couple of Syracuse legends (Carmelo Anthony and Eric Devendorf). With Mintz in the fold, SU’s recruiting class would shoot up the rankings and he could even start as a freshman next to Joe Girard.

Transfer Potential

At this point, it seems unlikely that anyone in this group would transfer considering that Girard and Torrence are the only returners and they have significant ties to the area and the program.

The only wildcard is Copeland, who could potentially be shoved down the bench if Mintz is wearing Orange this summer in practice and could be a redshirt candidate with the number of guys in front of him. But, it’s likely all three (maybe four) of these guys are seeing time for Boeheim next season.

Wings:

Benny Williams (Sophomore)

Williams is the eldest wing on this team. Some may see that as a problem, some as a blessing. This season Jim Boeheim decided to go the transfer route and started two upperclassmen who had never played the 2-3 zone in their lives. That did not go well.

After one year in the system and a career performance against Duke, Williams should be ready to take the next step and start at one of the wing spots in the zone next year. A good spring, summer, and fall of hard work at the Melo Center refining his jump shot, Williams should make the leap to ACC starter and one of the leaders on this team.

Chris Bunch (Freshman)

As the roster is currently constructed, Chris Bunch should be the likely candidate to start opposite Benny Williams on the wing next season. A good shooter with good size and length, Bunch is more of the prototypical Syracuse forward than they’ve had the past couple of years.

Unless a transfer is brought in, Bunch will have a chance to compete for a starting job, as Boeheim did say a couple of weeks ago on his radio show that 2-to 3 freshmen could start next season. Bunch will have a good chance to be one of those freshmen as the current highest-rated recruit in SU’s class, and he’s filling a position of need.

Justin Taylor (Freshman)

You might be surprised to see Justin Taylor in the wing spot of this chart, but he’ll likely see most of his offensive minutes on the wing as a shot-maker and creator. Buddy Boeheim is a wing, but because of the 2-3 zone and him playing most of his minutes at the top he’s considered a guard. He’s a wing.

Justin Taylor will likely play at the top of the zone, but with his good size at 6’6 (similar to Buddy), he could slip right in for the departing senior with one of those other freshman spots in the starting lineup. His game is similar to Boeheim’s, and he’ll likely see good minutes as a freshman regardless.

Transfer potential

Of all the positions for Jim Boeheim to bring in a transfer, the wing/forward spot seems the most likely. Benny Williams is the elder statesman of the group, and that could potentially be a problem if Boeheim wants more experience in that position. A third or fourth-year player would be the likely target here, but it’s too early to tell who that could be at this point. If Syracuse dips into the transfer portal, look for it to be at the wing/forward position. 

Big Men:

Jesse Edwards (Senior)

Edwards might be the best player on Syracuse next season. With the way the junior center was playing before his wrist injury, it’s not ridiculous to say he is even better next year after averaging around 12 points and six rebounds this season. With a full recovery from his injury and a bit more bulking up, Edwards can turn into a dominant force in the ACC next season and take the leap to an all-conference player and be a force to be reckoned with for the Orange.

John Bol Ajak (Redshirt Junior)

The other fourth-year player on next year’s team will be John Bol Ajak. It’s been an interesting career for the current redshirt sophomore, who redshirted his first season, tried to transfer after his second, and still has not received meaningful minutes in his third season. It would not be a surprise to see him head to a small school, similar to Robert Braswell, but if he sticks around, it’ll likely be in a depth role as a forward/center option.

Frank Anselem (Junior)

Here is the player who is most likely to transfer from Syracuse this offense. Jim Boeheim has not been very nice to Anselem in his press conferences over the past few weeks since his strong performance against Virginia Tech.

Bourama Sidibe has been seeing more minutes than Anselem since Edwards’ injury, and that does not bode well for Frank’s future prospects. If he decides to leave, it would make sense, but Anselem definitely has potential. He has three more years of eligibility after this season, and would still be an asset to the Orange.

Maliq Brown (Freshman)

Moving down to the freshman, Brown is a forward but plays like a big man. At 6’9 he has an impressive motor and aggression in the paint and would be a rebounding force for the Orange on the wing of the zone, likely in a depth role in his first season. Expect the Virginia native to see time as a freshman, but don’t expect more than 10-12 minutes a game with players like Williams and Bunch in front of him.

Peter Carey (Freshman)

Carey is another interesting situation. He clearly needs to put on weight at only 190 pounds in his 6’11 frame. If Frank Anselem returns, it would not be a surprise to see a redshirt applied to carry to gain an extra year of eligibility and allow him to work on his body, as he’s still a raw prospect.

If not, he could follow the Edwards route of small minute stretches here and there while slowly developing over his first couple of seasons before taking over down the line for the dutchman. 

Transfer Potential

If Anselem transfers, then a transfer could be in play. Someone who provides size and could give Jesse a breather while providing depth in the minutes he’s out would be key for this team if Anselem heads out the door. A forward seems more likely at this moment, but don’t be surprised if Boeheim brings in another center this offseason.

Debrief

Syracuse will look very different next season without its three starting wings. Jim Boeheim has a lot to manufacture when it comes to improvements from current players, recruiting, transfer options, and more. But, one thing is clear. He’ll be back to coach the team and will be motivated to make up for a bad season now.

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