There’s a lot going on with Syracuse basketball right now. The Orange just returned home after a couple of grueling days in Brooklyn at the Empire Classic. Next week presents a tough two-game road trip to the midwest to take on a ranked Illinois squad and the group’s first ACC game of the season against Notre Dame. That will be tough.
But, through the season’s first five games, there’s a lot to be thankful for in the Thanksgiving spirit, but there are also some things that maybe SU fans are hoping did not have a place on the team they cheer for. So, let’s alternate between the positive and the negative and get right into it. Let’s start with something everyone should be thankful for.
What to be Thankful for: The Judah Mintz-Dior Johnson “Swap”
In a crazy turn of events, Mintz and Johnson have almost swapped places, with the former having originally committed to Pittsburgh and the latter to SU. Now, their places have changed and there is a clear winner. There’s no need to get into what’s going on with Johnson right now, but let’s just say Syracuse won this “trade” in a landslide. But, despite that recruiting win, that doesn’t mean everything is positive on the recruiting trail for SU.
What to not be Thankful for: Syracuse’s 2023 Recruiting and Beyond
This is a layup, an alley-oop, a slam dunk, whatever you want to call it. The Orange are still struggling to recruit in future cycles, and Jim Boeheim’s age/pending retirement is no doubt having an effect on that. SU needs to get on its horse after the season and get to work because not everyone on this year’s team will be back next year. That’s for certain.
What to be Thankful for: Roster Depth
This is the first season in a long time where Boeheim has different options of who to throw in for a spark every night. If someone doesn’t have it, he can go somewhere else. There’s a backup center capable of holding down the fort for long stretches. There are multiple backup guards capable of playmaking and handling the ball, there’s shooting, and more. Obviously, all of that comes with the caveat of inexperience, but it’s good to have depth.
What not to be Thankful for: Jesse Edwards’ Continued Foul Trouble
This has to improve. It cannot continue. Edwards is too valuable to this team offensively to be out for such long portions of the contest. Yes, Mounir Hima was terrific off the bench in Brooklyn, but he has a long way to go in terms of finishing at the basket and Edwards does that at an elite level. The Orange need him on the floor for 30-35 minutes a night against top teams, and that hasn’t happened so far.
So, that’s just a snippet of what’s going on, both good and bad with the Orange. There are obviously more things on both the positive (the return of good defense) and the negative (Joe Girard III’s streaky shooting), but Syracuse has a competitive group ready to play hard every night in the ACC. We’ll see where that takes them.