The calendar has officially flipped over to August, and that means a few things for Syracuse men‚Äôs basketball. The first is that we‚Äôre way past the threshold for any kind of recruiting splashes akin to last year‚Äôs Class of ‚Äò22 bonanza. Another is that we‚Äôre that much closer from the Orange retaking the court – for better or for worse.
Last year‚Äôs Syracuse team doesn‚Äôt necessarily require a recap, but as we venture onto the next season of Orange hoops, it‚Äôs worth remembering how ‚ÄòCuse ended its year. The 2021-22 SU squad was Jim Boeheim‚Äôs first-ever losing bunch – they were defensively porous, inconsistent, and almost immediately forgettable. Now minus Buddy Boeheim, this year‚Äôs group has stirred unrest among an Orange nation accustomed to winners.
With the season still a good three months away, it‚Äôs a tad premature to try to predict who the Orange are going to trot out onto the court. In a now often-referenced interview conducted late last season, Boeheim said he expects multiple freshmen, perhaps simultaneously, to log starts for the 2022-23 Orange. It would be a radical shift for Boeheim‚Äôs usual tactic of staggering freshman minutes, but this year‚Äôs roster construction may dictate that SU‚Äôs head man gets creative.
On that front, at least one outlet – Jon Rothstein‚Äôs College Hoops Today – hasn‚Äôt shied away from predicting who the Orange will thrust out onto the hardwood on November 7th against Lehigh.¬†
In Rothstein‚Äôs recent ACC-wide breakdown, he tabs Syracuse as the 8th best squad in a 15-team ACC, slotted in between Virginia Tech at No. 7 and Clemson at No. 9. The predicted starting five for SU breaks down as follows:
- G Judah Mintz
- G Joe Girard
- G Symir Torrence
- F Benny Williams
- C Jesse Edwards
With this lineup, the Orange would be short on both length (with three guards) and experience, with Girard and Edwards as the only two returning starters. Williams also brings comparatively little experience minutes-wise after scattered playing time last season. Mintz is the only member of the Class of ‚Äò22 to be slotted in as a starter, with other incoming class members in Justin Taylor, Chris Bunch, and Quadir Copeland listed on the projected bench. Rothstein, like others who have examined SU‚Äôs most recent class of recruits, seems to be the highest on Mintz – he lists the 4-star Oak Hill Academy product as one of 15 ‚ÄúImpact ACC Freshmen‚Äù.
Projections are just that. Three months out from the season‚Äôs start, they only mean so much. However, it seems fair to place SU in the middle of the ACC and to mark just one freshman as a likely starting candidate for now. It‚Äôs not groundbreaking, but serves as a good visual reminder of what Jim Boeheim and staff are dealing with depth-wise in 2022-23. Even as we venture towards the season, there will be far more questions than answers by the time ‚ÄòCuse‚Äôs opening game tips off.