It’s been another up-and-down season for Syracuse basketball, and that all starts with the man in charge, Jim Boeheim. After going with an experienced-laden group last season, Boeheim created a youth movement with the Orange to go along with his senior leaders, Joe Girard III and Jesse Edwards, plus backup point guard Symir Torrence.
Aside from them (and the occasional John Bol Ajak appearance), players with just one or no years of prior experience at SU are getting the bulk of the playing time, and that has shown some sharp growing pains. Judah Mintz is the only player ready to take on this role, which is perfectly fine. Not everyone coming from high school is ready to play 15-20 minutes a game at an ACC program.
But, that’s the situation Boeheim has put his team in, sometimes players need two or three years to develop before they shine. Sophomore Benny Williams is still extremely raw in terms of development and has shown flashes, but it’s clear that even he could use more seasoning and development after 15 games.
Relying on guys like Chris Bell and Justin Taylor, the latter of which is more physically ready than the former, is hurting the Orange significantly defensively and on the boards because both lack the physicality to mix it up with big guys down low. Maliq Brown has been good in both of those departments, defense and rebounding, but he provides next to nothing offensively outside of putting back offensive rebounds and flashing in the paint.
All this is to say that Syracuse’s struggles, despite a 10-5 record, continue to hurt it in recruiting. Despite Adam Weitman’s $1 million offer to Elliot Cadeau, he still chose to go to UNC. Maybe Boeheim is planning on all of these youngsters returning to develop for next year and take over. But, Mintz is likely headed to the NBA draft, and at least one if not more will transfer to find bigger roles or better places to go.
On 247 Sports, typically the most accurate recruiting database, the Orange have two players on their “Prospects” page left in 2023. Both unranked, 6’10 center Tichyque Musaka from Durham, NC, and 7’2 power forward William Patterson from Maryland. Patterson is a three-star, and Musaka has no ranking. Patterson is the more sought-after recruit, and said earlier this week he’s looking at an April commitment and has been in constant contact with SU assistant coach Allen Griffin.
That’s a good sign, and every SU fan should sign up for getting a 7’2 guy in the building, but it’s still unlikely that will happen at this point. In 2024, the Orange seem to be once again shooting for the stars, but after missing on Cadeau are back to the drawing board. Syracuse and Boeheim continue to fire and miss on the recruiting battleship, and it’s only a matter of time before panic starts to set in, because the only safety net left might be the transfer portal, and we all know how Boeheim feels about that.