Syracuse has the look of a nice sturdy rotation to start this upcoming season.
Freshman Kadary Richmond and sophomore Quincy Guerrier will have to come off the bench, but they’re too good to stay there for long. It’s been a while since the Orange had that kind of player: maybe since Tyler Lydon came off the bench in 2016. We’re talking about the kind of bench player who doesn’t have to be a bench player.
Richmond will play in the backcourt with either Joe Girard or Buddy Boeheim, whichever isn’t resting. Expect a meteor-sized step up from what we saw from Brycen Goodine and Howard Washington in that same role last season. Guerrier will provide reinforcements when forwards Alan Griffin or Marek Dolezaj need to sit. The Canadian expects to be much improved this season, after playing last year through injury.
Depth! It’s wonderful!
So why aren’t we talking about Frank Anselem? It’s not a topic as sexy as Elijah Hughes’s replacement or even Guerrier or Richmond’s potential breakout. But it’s going to be darn important.
Bourama Sidibe is going to need a backup. He literally averaged four personal fouls per game last season. Jesse Edwards was not always ready to fill in those minutes productively, especially in conference play.
Despite assumed improvements from Edwards, it’s Anselem who brings the intrigue at the reserve center position. He’s 6′ 10″ with a 7′ 5″ wingspan, great mobility and leaping.
“We haven’t seen this type of athleticism at his position in a long time in terms of the way he can move and the way he can jump,” SU assistant coach Allen Griffin told Syracuse.com.
Anselem also has a 15-foot jumpshot, but hopes to extend his range. Recruiting websites aren’t gospel, but he’s only a fringe top-200 prospect according to 24/7 Sports. That suggests he may or may not be ready to play ACC minutes as a freshman.
One thing’s for sure: his role off the bench is a major key, and a vastly underlooked one.