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Someone’s Getting Left Out of Syracuse’s Rotation

Syracuse's rotation

Someone is going to get left out of Syracuse’s backcourt rotation next year. There’s plenty of guards, plus potential future additions in Ken Evans Jr., Braeden Smith, and others. With that much manpower, Adrian Autry won’t be able to put everyone on the court.

Before looking at who’s going to play, let’s first find out how many slots there are historically. Boeheim usually played three guards consistently, with one getting rotational minutes. Last year, though, says more about Autry specifically.

In 2023-24, SU had a two-headed monster at guard. Judah Mintz and JJ Starling each played 34 minutes per game. Then, Quadir Copeland played around 22 minutes per game. Rounding out the group was Kyle Cuffe, down at 11 minutes per game. 

The complicating factor last season was the lack of size for Syracuse. Bell and Justin Taylor are arguably best described as taller shooting guards, although they were forced to line up as forwards last season. Going forward, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Bell play more as a guard. He’s 6’7”, but only 188 pounds and defends best in the backcourt. Plus, he’s not much of a rebounder, so guys like Jyare Davis might play more at the small forward position. As for Taylor, he’s headed to James Madison, so he doesn’t factor into this.

This year, there won’t be a duo like Mintz and Starling, so there could be more minutes to go around. Let’s do the math, though, using the 80 minutes per game at the two guard spots available.

Starling will likely get around 34 minutes a game, just like last year. After that, it’s a lot harder. Jaquan Carlos, the Hofstra transfer, will likely get close to starter-level point guard minutes, but the offense could totally run without him. 26 minutes per game is a fair assumption. Westry could play starter-level minutes eventually, but he hasn’t played in over a year and has injury concerns. At his best though, Westry could play at least 20 minutes per game. And then… wait. That’s 80 minutes per game already. That doesn’t factor in freshman shooting guard Elijah Moore, Kyle Cuffe, or factor in minutes Bell could play as a guard.

Let’s redo the math, then. Starling gets 30 minutes. Carlos and Westry get 20 minutes, with Westry playing half his time as a small forward. Moore and Cuffe each get 10 minutes. That does add up to 80… but SU could still add another guard in the portal. Plus, in conference play and close games, the starters will play a lot more.

Don’t be surprised if someone, or more than one person, is left out of Syracuse’s rotation. Cuffe is the easy pick. Moore could play less than he wants too. Plus, any new transfers will feel crowded out.

This is a good problem to have, but it’s still something Autry and co. will need to handle.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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