The expectations are high for most Syracuse freshmen. Since the Orange moved to the ACC, every top recruit (there haven’t been many) has been burdened with significant hopes from the SU faithful. Benny Williams in 2021, Kadary Richmond in 2020, Jalen Carey in 2018, Tyus Battle and Matthew Moyer in 2016, and Malachi Richardson in 2015. Some of those have hit, like Battle and Richardson, and others have not.
SU fans have high standards, and they should based on the pattern of excellence Jim Boeheim had demonstrated in the three-plus decades of coaching in the Big East before his school moved conferences. Judah Mintz is now the next freshman on this list. A top-50-rated player, like most of the above listed, the guard committed to Syracuse for a reason. To play right away.
Unlike with Williams last offseason, Boeheim did not bring in multiple veteran transfers, including two at his position to play in front of him. Joe Girard and Symir Torrence are the veterans, but Mintz is almost a hybrid of the two of them. He can drive, score, find teammates, and has the athleticism and quickness to play strong defense.
So, that brings up the real point of the article, how good can Mintz be, and how far will fans have to go back to find a freshman that was as good as the Oak Hill standout. It won’t be hard to top the likes of Williams, Carey, and Moyer, all four-star recruits who either transferred out or struggled in year one.
Battle did not do much early his freshman year but turned it up late against Clemson and Duke and everyone knows how successful his second and third years were in orange. Richardson started right away and had an impact, but he’s really only remembered for the NCAA Tournament. Richmond could have been the best player on the list, but Boeheim had a vendetta against him and did not play him enough minutes.
So, it’s pretty clear what needs to happen for Judah Mintz to be the best Syracuse freshman since it joined the ACC. Start, average double-digit points a game, really spearhead the offense as a point guard with Joe Girard III on the floor, and be able to play off the ball when Symir Torrence enters the game.
Additionally, he can put up good numbers like Girard did (over 12 points and 3 assists per game) but needs to make an impact on the defensive end, where Girard struggles. Facilitating will be key to Mintz’s success if he can set up his teammates to score, whether that be Girard or Syracuse’s plethora of wings on the perimeter or Jesse Edwards inside.
Thus, Mintz has the tools, ability, and opportunity to become the freshman star Orange fans have yearned for. It’s just about putting all the tools together, and while it might not be immediate, the possibility is there and the opportunity is ripe.