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Sacred Heart
73
Sacred Heart
00:00
2nd
Boston College
83
Boston College

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2014-15 Syracuse Orange Basketball Preview

   Posted by WebMaster at  10/31/2014 8:09:52 AM  |  Follow us on Twitter: @scacchoops
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There aren't many teams across the nation that lost more talent than the Syracuse Orange, but Jim Boeheim reloads with a team that is ranked in the Top 25 in most preseason polls.  Gone are CJ Fair, Tyler Ennis, and Jerami Grant, a trio that accounted for 62% of the offense a season ago.  The good news is Boeheim has a number of talented, albeit unproven options.



Record: 28 - 6, 14 - 5 ACC
Roster/Stats
Schedule

Backcourt

Trevor Cooney returns as the leading returning scorer for Syracuse.  Cooney averaged 12.1 points per game last season and was largely a three point threat, making 38% of his attempts from long range.  For the second straight season, Cooney will have a talented freshman guard beside him.  Kaleb Joseph (RSCI #52) is a big point guard who shouldn't have any issues adapting physically to the college game.  Joseph will have to avoid the Tyler Ennis comparisons, but it should be clear the two are different players.  While Ennis was an all-around elite talent, Joseph isn't as polished and relies on his size and strength to attack the basket.  Michael Gbinije is the likely starter at small forward after being a sup-sub last year for the Orange.  Gbinije has drawn praise from Boeheim over the summer on his improved play, but the former McDonald's All-American has much to prove.  Gbinije has the size and athleticism to be a good college player, but has yet to show me the shooting ability to stretch defenses or the ball-handling to attack offensively.  Until he improves in these areas, he'll continue to be an above-average defensive player and offensive liability.

Syracuse is quite limited in the backcourt and outside of sophomore Ron Patterson and Graduate Transfer Carter Sanderson doesn't have any experience.   Patterson saw limited time last season, but does have the ability to knock down the three.  Sanderson played at David Lipscomb and averaged 5.3 points per game.  BJ Johnson is 6'6" sophomore that could see time on the wing as well.

Frontcourt

Rakeem Christmas will anchor the frontcourt after averaging 5.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game a season ago.   Christmas will be the rock beside the gem of the 2014 freshman class.  Chris McCullough (RSCI #19) is the perfect player for Boeheim's system.  McCullough stands 6'9" and has a 7'2" wingspan which will make him a nightmare in the Syracuse 2-3 zone.  Almost any scouting report you find on McCullough will mention his ability to run and his freakish athleticism.   Offensively he is a step behind at the moment, but his athleticism will carry him early on in his career.   Tyler Roberson will be one of the first bigs off the bench.  Roberson averaged just 2.2 points per game a season ago.  Also seeing time will be Chinoso Obokoh, a Baye Moussa Keita type player.  Obokoh has a chiseled frame and is a player whose strength is on the defensive end, protecting the rim.

Its still uncertain whether Dejuan Coleman will be back this season for Syracuse after an injury plagued 2013-14 season.  Coleman is still recovering from a knee injury and Boeheim said at ACC Media Day it would be a bonus if he's able to play this season.

Projected Starters
Kaleb Joseph
Trevor Cooney
Michael Gbinije
Chris McCullough
Rakeem Christmas

Schedule

Syracuse will face California in their first challenge of the year in mid-November.  December holds a tough 4 game stretch for the Orange.  In early December they'll take on Michigan in the ACC/B1G Challenge and then host St. John's 4 days later.  After hosting a sneaky good Louisiana Tech team at home the next game, they'll play at Villanova.

In conference play, Syracuse gets Duke, Virginia Tech, and Boston College twice.  Notable single matchups include playing at UNC, NC State, Notre Dame, and Pitt and hosting FSU, Virginia, and Louisville.

Prediction

One thing that is apparent in writing up this preview is there are a ton of question marks and depth issues for Syracuse.  There's nobody better to answer these quesitons than Boeheim.  Just last year Boeheim lost Brandon Triche, James Southerland, and Michael Carter-Williams and Boeheim's team won 28 games.  For that to happen this year, Trevor Cooney will need to find some consistency is his scoring and Joseph and McCullough have to be the real deal.  Counting on freshmen is always tricky though, I'd expect a very inconsistent Syracuse team early with possibly 3 or 4 losses entering conference play.  If Boeheim can keep things focused, and Syracuse can find enough quality wins to make the tourney, they could be a scary matchup for teams in the NCAA Tournament.

by Jon Pence @scacchoops

Fantasy Player to Watch

The top returning scorer from last season is Trevor Cooney and he would seem to be the obvious choice here until your realize Cooney doesn't contribute in many other ways. Instead I'll take a freshman point guard, Kaleb Joseph is a big guard and should get plenty of shots for Syracuse this season. Joseph also should pickup a few assists, grab rebounds, and get plenty of steals in the Syracuse 2-3 zone.

Projected Statistics (Returning Players Only)

Explanation of Statistic Projections

Name Pts Asts Rbds Stls Blks TOs % Correct
 Trevor Cooney 10.9 1.8 2.4 1.0 0.2 1.6 86
 Ron Patterson 4.7 0.9 1.5 0.4 0.1 0.9 96
 Michael Gbinije 4.6 0.8 1.6 0.5 0.1 0.8 92
 Rakeem Christmas 4.1 0.6 3.7 0.5 0.8 0.9 86
 Tyler Roberson 3.5 0.6 2.2 0.3 0.3 0.7 95
 BJ Johnson 2.8 0.6 1.5 0.3 0.2 0.6 97
 Albert Nassar 1.1 0.3 0.9 0.2 0.1 0.3 99
 Nolan Hart 0.5 0.1 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.1 99

Last Year's Player Statistics

Syracuse
Name GP Mins Pts Asts Rbds Stls Blks TOs FG% 3P% FT%
 CJ Fair  34  37.8  16.5  1.3  6.4  1.3  0.8  2.5  42.9  27.6  72.5
 Trevor Cooney  34  32.1  12.1  1.1  2.1  1.9  0.1  0.8  40.4  37.5  84.1
 Tyler Ennis  34  35.7  12.9  5.4  3.4  2.1  0.2  1.7  41.1  35.3  76.5
 Jerami Grant  32  31.4  12.1  1.4  6.8  0.8  0.6  1.2  49.6  0.0  67.4
 Rakeem Christmas  34  23.6  5.8  0.7  5.1  0.5  1.9  0.8  61.3  0.0  72.6
 Michael Gbinije  34  14.6  3.4  1.2  1.8  0.7  0.2  0.5  38.0  34.9  64.6
 Baye Keita  32  15.5  1.8  0.3  3.8  0.4  0.9  0.8  50.0  0.0  55.6
 Tyler Roberson  20  8.1  2.2  0.3  1.9  0.2  0.2  0.4  29.8  0.0  68.2
 DaJuan Coleman  13  13.0  4.3  0.2  4.2  0.3  0.5  0.8  58.3  0.0  50.0
 Ron Patterson  10  5.4  2.8  0.5  0.7  0.4  0.0  0.3  37.9  31.6  0.0
 BJ Johnson  10  5.5  1.4  0.2  0.9  0.1  0.3  0.4  25.0  12.5  0.0
 Nolan Hart  4  1.0  0.3  0.3  0.5  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  50.0
 Albert Nassar  4  1.5  0.0  0.0  1.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0
 Russ DeRemer  4  1.5  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.3  0.0  0.0  0.0

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