Another year and Syracuse is again losing three huge pieces of their offense. Last year it was Flynn, Devendorf and Harris who left and no one thought Syracuse could recover from that. But a No. 1 seed later, losing three more pivotal players and...no one thinks they'll recover from that.
They're losing Andy Rautins, Arinze Onuaku and Wes Johnson but have a very strong recruiting class. These rankings are a bit outdated but ESPN had them ranked as the fourth best class and Rivals.com had them as the second best. And still, analysts don't expect the Orange to do much. It's not as bad as last year when no one had them in their top 25 but it will be another year where expectations aren't particularly high. Joe Lunardi of ESPN has them as a four-seed in the unbelievably ridiculously premature bracketology for 2011, Luke Wynn of Sports Illustrated has them at 19th, Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports has them just inside the top 25 at 24, and Andy Katz of ESPN doesn't even have them in the top 25. He has them "on the cusp."
One of their top recruits Dion Waiters would take these all as personal insults. This kid makes Devendorf seem humble. Kevin Armstrong of SI, talked to four different recruits and asked them a series of questions. Here are some of Waiters' responses:
Best dunker in this year's class? Dion Waiters.
Best skill player? I'm gonna say Waiters. (Yes he did just refer to himself in the third person).
Best player that you have gone up against? This year's No. 1 draft pick, John Wall. It was at Peach Jam and they said he got a triple double, but I didn't see all that. I got 22 points and the win.
So there you have it. He's the best dunker, most skilled, and he's pretty much better than John Wall. He can definitely dunk.
The gem of their recruiting class is Fab Melo.
He's so good they actually named the new training facility after him
even before he arrives on campus. Fab Melo looks forward to training in
the Melo Center...oh...it's after Carmelo Anthony? Huh. Anyways...Melo
is the top rated center in the class and performed well in the
McDonald's All-American game. It's tough to shine as a center in that
type of game since no one wants to give up the ball. But Melo blocked
three shots, had a couple of steals and grabbed seven boards in limited
play. Everyone who watched practices said he looks like he's in great
shape and has amazing foot work for a seven-footer. Melo has only been
playing basketball for a few years but has made amazing strides during
that time. He'll be perfect in that 2-3 zone and has a great chance of
leading the Big East in blocked shots.
The other big recruit is CJ Fair. Here's a little montage of Fair in action.
At 6'7 he'll be perfect at the 3 spot in the 2-3 zone. It looks like
he'll be able to step into those passing lanes, pick a few off and go
the length of the floor.
It seems like all three of these recruits will be seeing a fair amount of playing time. With these three, Scoop Jardine, Brandon Triche, Kris Joseph, Rick Jackson, DaShonte Riley, Mookie Jones, and James Southerland - they have the possibility to actually have a great bench and Boeheim can play more than his typical 5-7 rotation.
While the season didn't end the way Orange fans had hoped - there's always next year.