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Analyzing Syracuse’s Roster as the “Offseason” Starts

Photo courtesy of syracuse.com

The Syracuse basketball news cycle has finally decided to start winding down. With May here, teams and coaches can finally take a deep breath and relax for the first time in months. Syracuse’s offseason has been much less hectic than 2021, but that does not mean there is no news to talk about.

Over the weekend, Jim and Juli Boeheim hosted their “Basket Ball Gala”, where the SU headman made some comments about next year’s team and where things stand at this point in the offseason.

Before this, Frank Anselem was already in the transfer portal, and Chaz Owens had joined him. Four of the elder statesmen either ran out of eligibility or decided to leave Buddy Boeheim, Jimmy Boeheim, Bourama Sidibe, and Cole Swider. But, even with those six losses, the Orange are bringing in six freshmen this summer to round out the roster.

But, the most important returnee might be Benny Williams. After talk all season about his struggles and the possibility he might take the Kadary Richmond route and leave, the Maryland native is not going anywhere. Here’s what Boeheim had to say about the forward on Saturday night.

“He’s going to show people what he can do,” Boeheim said. “A lot of people give up. … It’s his birthday today and I can tell you we’re so happy to have Benny Williams coming back next year.”

Williams will have a chance to earn a spot in the starting lineup as the Orange’s only returning forward along with John Bol Ajak, who has not played significant minutes in any of his three seasons on the hill. Three incoming freshmen are capable of playing on the wing, but Benny will have experience on his side when it comes to those battles.

The opportunity is there for Williams to take a big leap in year two, and become a leader on the team to help Syracuse get back to the NCAA Tournament.

But, even with Williams returning, the Orange still have some holes in their roster. With Anselem gone, there is a big hole at backup center. Boeheim and staff went after Syracuse native Quincy Ballard from Florida State, but he went elsewhere. 

Boeheim told Syracuse.com’s Mike Curtis that he does not believe anything is missing from next year’s team.

“I’m happy with what we have,” Boeheim said. “It’s a good group.”

The head coach also spoke on the departures of Anselem and Swider, who commented that the two did what was best for them, and in terms of the former, if you’re not starting, you’re probably going to go somewhere you can start. That’s what Frank believes he has at Georgia.

But, Boeheim’s comments throughout the night were overwhelmingly positive than negative, as he also maintained his claim about recruiting ratings being underrated for his recruits. Overall, next year will be very different than this past season for SU, and Boeheim is excited about it.

“Benny saw that there’s a great opportunity here and he knows what he has to do to get it,” Boeheim said. “He just has to go do the work. He knows that. If he does, he’ll be fine. We’re lucky we have Joe and Benny and Jesse and Sy back. We’ve got four guys with experience right there. Two starters, so that helps the younger guys come in and be ready. It doesn’t have to be five young guys. I think it’ll be a good group. We’ve got more size and we’ll see how it works out.”

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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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