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Syracuse forward Cole Swider will forgo his final year of eligibility and declare for the NBA draft after signing with an agent, he announced on Twitter Sunday morning. Swider spent his first three collegiate years at Villanova before transferring to SU for the 2021-22 season.
“I’ll be forever thankful for the opportunities Syracuse provided,” Swider said in his statement. “I believe it is time to challenge myself at the next level.”
All Glory to God. Words can’t describe how much this year meant to my family and I. I will be Orange for Life. Thank you Syracuse. 🧡 pic.twitter.com/wivODyLnHH
— Cole Swider (@coleswider21) April 3, 2022
With the Orange, Swider averaged 13.9 points per game while securing a spot in their starting lineup. He also led the Orange in rebounds per game (6.8) and total rebounds. Swider called the decision to transfer to SU “just a mixture of right place, right time” entering the year, and he turned that into a starting role he never relinquished throughout the year.
He only made 3-of-22 3-point shots in four games to open the season, but against Arizona State on Nov. 25, he connected on four of his five attempts from beyond the arc — kick-starting a stretch that continued for the rest of the season that helped him shoot 44.1% from 3. Swider’s 3-point percentage ranked 138th nationally, per KenPom, and it was the highest on SU.
The best output for Swider came on Feb. 28 against North Carolina, when he made 7-of-11 3-pointers and finished with 36 points on 14-of-21 shooting overall. It served as a career high for Swider for total points, and the 21 attempted shots and seven made 3s also served as season highs.
“I had three years where I was a backup at Villanova, and I went through a lot just to kind of get to a place like Syracuse where I can be myself, get in a system where I can do the things that I know I can do,” Swider said after the UNC loss. “And tonight, I feel like, was just like a byproduct of all the hard work.”
He was best known for his shooting and ability to string together makes from beyond the arc, as Swider converted 3s at a 40.2% and 35.7% clip in his sophomore and junior seasons, respectively. But throughout the year, he gradually became a player who created his shot off the dribble. In daily practices, he said he’d shoot most shots off the dribble. And when opposing defenses tightly covered him, Swider wouldn’t settle or force as many catch-and-shoot 3s. He said after SU’s win against Boston College on Feb. 8 that shooting off the dribble is “obviously not the strongest part of my game, but it’s something that I’m working on.”
With his decision to enter the draft, he joins Buddy Boeheim, Jimmy Boeheim, Bourama Sidibe and Frank Anselem as members of the 2021-22 Syracuse roster who won’t return for next season. Buddy and Jimmy, like Swider, will try to join a professional roster — whether in the NBA, the NBA G League or overseas — while Sidibe has no eligibility left and Anselem entered the transfer portal. The Orange, though, have secured the No. 14 recruiting class, and No. 4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, with six commits, including the latest, four-star prospect Judah Mintz announcing his decision on Thursday.
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