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Trust What Adrian Autry is Building

Photo courtesy of @Cuse_MBB on X

By the end of Adrian Autry’s first season as head coach of Syracuse, he was down to essentially a six-man rotation, all sophomores, and now four of them will likely not return to the Orange next year. Justin Taylor, Quadir Copeland, and Maliq Brown have entered the transfer portal, and it was reported yesterday by syracuse.com that Judah Mintz would not be returning to Central New York and would likely be turning professional despite a sophomore season that did not see him markedly improve the skills he wanted to show NBA scouts.

With Mintz out the door as well, that means on top of those four players, Syracuse is losing Benny Williams who is in the portal after getting dismissed from the team in February, Peter Carey, who is in the portal after not finding his footing at the power-conference level, and Mounir Hima, who is graduating and will not use his extra year of eligibility. That’s seven players who played this season that are not returning for next season. So far, there are only three players to fill those spots, Eddie Lampkin Jr., the transfer center from Colorado, plus high school recruits Donnie Freeman and Elijah Moore. Additionally, Chance Westry can be looked at as an addition as well since he did not play at all this year. So, that’s still three more spots the Orange could fill in their rotation which looks strikingly slim at the guard and wing positions at the moment.

All this is to say, that despite the disappointment of losing a lot of the players who contributed to a 20-win season in Autry’s inaugural year at the helm, this is now a part of what college basketball is. These Boeheim recruits decided to stick it out for another year and play for Autry, and now he is making the team his own and molding the roster in his image, what he wants in players and less round pegs in square holes.

He obviously has a big hole to fill on the bench with the departure of Gerry McNamara to Siena, but adding players is a more important need at the moment with the portal open until May 1st. The Orange clearly have a need at point guard, someone who can work in the backcourt with Starling, and you have guys like Westry, Moore, and Kyle Cuffe who can all play different backcourt roles.

Bell and Freeman are your starting forwards/wings, and Westry has the size to play at the 3 if needed, but another wing, particularly a strong shooter after last year’s struggles from downtown would be a big-time addition to this roster and really fill out some of the weaknesses that they present on paper. But, the biggest thing is that even if the roster right now does not look as good as the previous year on paper, you can see what Autry is building, and how the pieces fit together better than the past year.

It’s a strong mix of different skillsets and sizes, you have guys who are at Syracuse because they want to be there and make an impact at SU, and it has a much better blend of experience and youth, instead of swinging too much towards experience, or worse, youth, like we saw at the end of last season. There’s still plenty of time for Autry to keep adding, and we all should keep faith in his project because it has the potential to be something special. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was Syracuse. Trust what Autry has in mind for this program in the present and the future.

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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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