Ah yes, the ultimate-play-on-words name is not just back in the picture, but is on next year’s roster portrait for the Orange. After choosing Auburn over Nebraska, Syracuse and LSU last year, and subsequently playing only nine minutes per game, the 6’6 combo guard has transferred to Cuse in year one of Adrian Autry’s head coaching reign.
Westry’s first offer back in his high school days was the Orange, thanks to his lead recruiter, and new SU associate head coach, Gerry McNamara. But a program stockpiled with commits and returning guards seemed like an unlikely destination for a “I want to contribute now” scorer. Now with the departures of Joe Girard and Symir Torrence, plus the uncertainty that surrounds Judah Mintz’s return, Westry fits right into the mold and his desired role.
Although the former four-star, and top 40 player in his class, is unproven at the college level, we at the Fizz covered him enough to know his untapped and high-ceiling potential. The best way to describe Westry is evident in his labeled position, a “combo” guard. That entails a point guard and shooting guard demeanor with the height and/or weight of a shooting forward. At 6’6, Westry can get to the rim with a sleek dribble move or with his back to the basket. He runs the floor and passes the ball like Mintz, while finding his spot like Girard.
The extra benefit of the former Arizona basketball star is he lengthy enough to defend the opposing team’s “3” guard or stretch forward, while running the floor like a gazelle, similar to how Maliq Brown covers space, but with the ability to spot up from three-point range. Any combo guard is an additive, but especially when they can run the sideline with the intent to get downhill or space the floor in a fast-paced offense.
All that being said, Westry’s role is highly determined by if Mintz doesn’t get drafted and chooses to return to Syracuse. If SU’s star guard returns, then Westry’s starting spot is far from a given, and he might bump Chris Bell, Benny Williams or Justin Taylor out of the starting five. If Mintz does not come back for the ’23-’24 season, then Westry’s commitment is pivotal in ensuring depth off the bench or a breath of fresh air in the scoring department.
Either way, this move is big for Syracuse in more than one way. Not only do the Cuse bulk up on potential, scoring and defensive ability, but Boeheim’s exit, and Autry’s reign, looks very good in pursuit of a transfer portal presence. Westry and JJ Starling (two former SU recruits, and now Cuse transfers) are possibly just two pieces to a championship-driven program over the next decade.