Sunday, November 1, 2009
Around the League: Syracuse
This is the first installment of Around the League, a look at what other bloggers think about their teams. We start with Sean Keeley from the excellent website Nunesmagician.com.
How do you feel about the exodus of your key players?
The not-so-dirty secret is that Syracuse fans were actually kinda okay with losing Eric Devendorf and Paul Harris. Both brought a lot to the table with their abilities to score and make plays but both were prone for defensive lapses and brought a lot of off-the-court issues with them, especially Devo. We wouldn't have minded if they stuck around, but we're not crying about them leaving anymore.
We ARE crying about Jonny Flynn leaving. As evident from his debut in the NBA, he was ready to move on. Still, imagine what he could have done this year had he stayed in college. He would have dominated. He would have been the preseason Big East player of the year (imo). He would have been an All-American. And Syracuse would have been a preseason top ten team. That's how good he was.
How are the freshmen looking and who needs to step up?
We got a nice surprise in the first preseason game out of freshman James Sutherland. Sure it was against Cal State-LA but he showed up for 19 points and a game worthy of a "here I am" declaration. No one had him tabbed for much PT this year but that might change in a hurry. He's already drawing comparisons to solid former Orange, Preston Shumpert.
Brandon Triche is on schedule to be the heir apparent to Jonny. He's not quite the pure talent that Jonny was at his age but he's got a chip on his shoulder and the motivation of junior Scoop Jardine muscling for playing time. We expect him to step up and be a leader quickly.
For the upper-classmen, we're looking for Andy Rautins to be even more of a scorer and outside threat. We have huge expectations that transfer Wes Johnson is The Next Big Thing, Boeheim has already gone on record saying he could be a one-and-done player. And if Arinze Onuaku can get his free-throw shooting under control, he'll be one of the most feared big men in the nation.
Predictions on the upcoming Syracuse season?
I can see this team struggling with a lot of the top tier teams that have been together for a few years now. It's going to take some time for these guys to come together cohesively. The OOC schedule isn't too brutal other than the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic so they've got a chance to really work out the kinks before January. The Big East will be the Big East...every win will be hard to come by and valuable.
If I had to venture a guess, I'll put the Orange around 4th or 5th in the Big East when it's all said and done and a 6-seed in the NCAA Tournament. But...it's October...what the hell do I know?