A lot has changed in the month since Syracuse went one and done in the ACC tournament. In the case of Jim Boeheim’s retirement and Adrian Autry’s promotion, more has changed than at any point in nearly five decades.
However, while there’s a new man in charge and Brenden Straughn was added to the coaching staff, not much else is different, at least as of now. The roster hasn’t been overhauled. Joe Girard, who led the team in scoring with almost 17 points per game, is both in the NBA Draft and the transfer portal. Symir Torrence and John Bol Ajak also left.
However, there wasn’t as much turnover as most would have predicted down the stretch of the season. Benny Williams and Chris Bell are still here, Jesse Edwards is rumored to be returning for a fifth year, although that’s not confirmed yet. And other guys like Maliq Brown, Justin Taylor and Quadir Copeland are also set to be back.
Only two additions have been made, recruit William Patterson and, perhaps the biggest transfer target in the country JJ Starling.
Answering the question of whether or not the Orange are a better team now than they were a month ago is difficult without knowing what Judah Mintz will do. If he returns, a guard pairing of him and Starling would be one of the most dynamic not only in the ACC, but the entire country. The issue is we don’t know if Mintz will be back or not.
So, from a talent standpoint, it’s impossible to say right now. The thing this team will certainly have going for itself next year is continuity and a year of growth. While the transfer portal is a great way to improve a roster and do so quickly, it’s most effective as a way to add pieces, not overhaul the entire situation. Take this year’s Final Four as an example: 16 of the 20 starters across UConn, San Diego State, Miami and FAU played at their respective school the season prior.
An extra year of understanding how everyone operates will certainly be important, and a year of development for the five remaining-potentially six with Mintz-rising sophomore will also help.
In the end, it’s simple. Syracuse is better positioned for the 2023-24 season than it was for 2022-23, that much is clear. The question is can they reach the talent threshold needed to really make noise. That will be determined by Mintz and Edwards. If they’re back, Autry and company have what they need to at least fight.