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SU’s Post-Swider, Boeheim Choices Will Define A New Era

Credit Dennis Nett/Courtesy Syracuse.com

If you woke up this morning to an influx of Hakim Warrick gifs on social media, there’s a reason why. Today marks 19 years to the day since Syracuse won the 2003 National Championship over Kansas. SU’s program is obviously in a very different place than it was 19 years ago, but it has failed to put together a title run since, even as eras come and go along with talented players. Gerry McNamara and the rest of SU’s ‘03 core couldn’t do it, nor could Kris Joseph and Dion Waiters’ early 2010s squads. The team’s most recent era (one I would personally define as 2019-2022) just came to a definitive end with the departures of Buddy and Jimmy Boeheim and Cole Swider – three of last year’s five regular starters.

With that many minutes and that much offensive firepower gone, SU is now hedging its bets on its sparkling incoming recruiting class that just secured its sixth intriguing player. If things were set in stone today, the class would be Syracuse’s best within the ACC since 2015 and its largest since 2007. It remains to be seen what kind of impact they’ll play with holes opening up in the lineup.

Swider’s departure for the NBA is the most recent and highlighted the challenges now facing head coach Jim Boeheim. Potential winners of Swider’s forward spot opening up include now-sophomore Benny Williams, who looked unpolished while laboring through a disappointing freshman season. Williams could very well play more with another year of practice under his belt, but what about incoming 4-star freshmen Justin Taylor and Chris Bunch who likely both expect to play? There’s now three players vying for two forward spots, and this is before any transfer portal activity.

Syracuse finished with a losing record in 2021-22 partly because its only two players on the roster from its 2020 and 2021 recruiting classes were the aforementioned Williams and backup center Frank Anselem, who just entered the transfer portal. With only so many options, the team had to run its starters into the ground and start role-player transfers. 16 wins and 17 losses later, it’s clear it wasn’t a sustainable formula.


To avoid a depth crunch and over-reliance on transfer players, SU needs to work hard on keeping its Class of ‘22 around. In the hyper-transfer era, that means more playing time. It’s not what Jim Boeheim usually does, but he seems to understand that multiple freshman may start next year. No matter how many end up doing so, it appears that next Fall will mark the start of a new era of SU basketball.

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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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