My 2022-3 SU Basketball Preview - The Conference teams we place once | Syracusefan.com

My 2022-3 SU Basketball Preview - The Conference teams we place once

SWC75

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Teams we play once:

CLEMSON went 17-16 but 8-12 in the conference. Brian Brownell, who has now been there for 13 years, lost two double figure scorers but gets two of them back to build around. 6-10 240 PJ Hall averaged 15.5p, 5.8r, 1.3b, playing with a left foot fracture not discovered until the season as over. He had surgery in the spring, then dislocated a kneecap in a separate injury in July. Brownell hopes he will be ready to play to start the season, but he just doesn’t know. 6-8 215 Hunter Tyson (10.0p 5.5r), “is a vocal leader who has gained confidence since last season, adding more dribble drives and improved passing to his skill set”. Brothers Chase and Dillon hunters are in the backcourt. 6-4 205 Chase (6.7p 2.7r) was a “solid sixth man…the Tigers need him to score.” 6-4 180 Dillon is a freshman. 247 rates him #158/#22 combo guard, (although Lindy’s article said he was #64 overall on page 51 but doesn’t list him in their top 100 on page 220). 6-4 195 Alex Hemingway (5.2p) shot 40.6% from three. Brownell wants him to “make plays off the dribble”.

6-2 215 Brevin Galloway, (8.3p, 25.6% from three but 41.9% the year before), transferred in from Boston College. Brownell: “He was never fully healthy last season. He’s an older guy who can make shots and stretch defenses. He should create space for our big guys in the post.” 6-3 180 Josh Beadle was #175/#16 combo guard per 247 who redshirted last season. If Hall can’t go, look for freshmen 6-7 225 RJ Godfrey, (RJ for PJ? #152/39 small forward), and 6-9 205 Chauncey Wiggins, (#180/#33 power forward).

DUKE, in Coach K’s final season, went 32-7, including 16-4 in the conference. He left with 5 national championships and an NCAA record of 1,202 wins vs. 368 losses. (Even if the NCAA reinstated Jim Boeheim’s 101 wins, he’s still at 1,099 wins vs. 426 losses and will have to win another 104 games to pass his friend.) They lost seven players from that team, including five double figure scorers and had to try to reload, (Duke doesn’t rebuild), with former assistant Jon Scheyer, who has a career record of 0-0. Will Duke’s decline now begin so the rest of the league can get some revenge for their domination?

Well, Scheyer went out and recruited, (per Lindy’s ) the #1, #4, #8, #14, #40 and #66 players coming out of high school, (compared to our best, Judah Mintz , who is at #79). Looking at 247, Duke’s guys are Dereck Lively, (#1 overall and #1 center), Dariq Whitehead, (#2 and the #1 small forward), Mark Mitchell, (#22 and the #3 power forward), Kyle Filipowski, (who we wanted badly – 247’s #4 and the #2 center), and Christian Reeves (#140 and the #25 center). They will have plenty of depth at the center position. Lively, (7-1, 215) is “a skilled pivot who is also known as an excellent teammate”. [Yes, you want to be on the same team as the #1 national recruit.] Whitehead, (6-6 190), is “explosive and excels in the open floor”. Mitchell (6-8 215), is a “slasher who can get to the rim, rebound well and defend. Filipowski (6-11 220) is a “skilled big man who can face the hoop, pass and handle”. Reeves (6-11, 210) “can protect the rim, finish inside and hit the boards. There are two other freshmen: 6-5 170 Australian Tyrese Proctor, who didn’t make Lindy’s top 100 but did 247’s: #27 and #4 point guard. He reclassified to join this group. Welcome to the party. He is “a great three point shot and plenty of ways to score”. Also 6-4 175 Jaden Shutt, #69 and #6 shooting guard and “will provide long-range marksmanship”. That gets them 7 of the top 69 players in the county, all higher rated than any of our six guys. It must be nice.

Our guys are Judah Mintz, (#51 and the #7 Combo guard), Chris Bunch/Bell, (#107 and the #27 small forward), Justin Taylor, (#124 and the #30 small forward), Quadir Copeland, (#135 and the #17 combo guard), Maliq Brown (#220 and #48 power forward) and Peter Carey (#248 and #55 power forward). Lindy’s called 11 conferences “majors” for basketball. Those conferences have 135 teams in them. If each team recruited a ‘team’ each year, the top 135 players at each position would be judged good enough to start when their turn came as a major conference school. So four of our guys would make the cut. I think our guys are all good prospects, although some may have not reached their potential yet. We can have a good team. But how do we compete with Duke? What are they doing down there to pull in classes like this even without Coach K.? Oh yes, they are “doing it right”. We went on probation twice. Top prospects wouldn’t want to come to a place that cheats. (Silly rant over.)

Even a talented young team needs veteran leadership. Their one returning starter is guard 6-2 172 Jeremy Roach (8.6p 2.4r, 3.2a), “a good distributor and is strong off the dribble but must improve his long range shooting eye, (or likely lose his job). 6-2 208 Jaylen Blakes (1.0p) is the only other returning scholarship player and “can set up his teammates. Scheyer brought in one transfer, Jacob Grandison ((6-6 210, 9.6p, 3.8r, 2.3a), “will provide production” and leadership.

FLORIDA STATE was 17-14 overall and 10-10 in the conference, which was a disappointment after a pre-season top 20 ranking. We played them three times, stopping their 25 game home court winning streak 63-60, losing 71-76 in the Carrier Dome and then blowing their doors off in the first round of the ACCT, 96-57. Their Coach Leonard Hamilton has been very successful, winning 617 college games at Oklahoma State (1986-90), U of Miami (1900-2000) and now at Florida State (2002 onward). He’s the antithesis of JB in one respect: Jim famously likes a tight rotation for continuity and to get his best players out there as much as possible. Hamilton likes to send in players in waves to wear the other team down, which puts fresher but also sometimes less talented players out there. JB is 17-9 against Hamilton as of this writing.

Hamilton also loves 7 footers and often has multiple ones on his team. This year he’s got 7-4 255 Naheem McLeod, (4.5p, 2.1r). He shot 68% from the field, (he’s closer to the basket than anyone). He’s the only one actually measured at that height but Hamilton can also call on freshmen Cameron Corhen (6-10 225), D’Ante Green (6-10 210) and Baba Miller, (6-11 205, with a 7-2 wingspan). Corhen “could be a stretch 4”. Green was Hamilton’s “top American recruit” but will miss time due to knee surgery. Miller is an “elite talent with guard skills”. He was a 6-2 guard when Hamilton first saw him. 6-9 220 Brown transfer Jaylen Gainey (9.3p, 6.9r, 2.2b) is an “ace defender” who “scores mostly on dunks and put-backs”. 6-7 220 Cam’Ron Fletcher (6.8p, 3.4r) shot 36 percent on three pointers last season. Hamilton: McLeod and Fletcher were our most improved players this summer”.

Hamilton’s theory on point guards is: “Anyone who gets the rebound is my point guard. We share the ball and we share playing time.” 6-6 200 Jalen Warley (3.7p 1.9r 2.5a), averaged only 33 percent form the field and 30% on three pointers but improved during the summer, according to Hamilton. Freshmen Chandler Jackson (6-5 215) and Jeremiah Bembry (6-6 185) could also fill that role in a tall backcourt.

LOUISVILLE was a very uncharacteristic 13-19 last year, 6-14 in the conference. After their second coaching era went down in flames in five years, old hero Kenny Payne, (from their 1986 champions) has come back to save the program – again. But Louisville has a rich basketball tradition and they bounced back very quickly from the 2017 Rick Pitino crisis. They could do the same after the Chris Mack/Dino Gaudio mess, although they are still awaiting the results of the FBI and NCAA investigations. This year will be a bumpy ride.

Payne lost 7 players from last year’s roster. Lindy’s lists only 9 players on this year’s roster and only six who have been assigned numbers. I checked the current Louisville roster and found five more names, including the coach’s son, Zan, who scored 8 points in three years at Kentucky, Aiden McCool who scored 4 points in two years at Maryland, Hercy Miller, who scored 12 points last year at Tennessee State and Ashton Myles Devore, who has yet to score in two years at Louisville. There’s also one late high school recruit, 6-4 175 Fabio Basili, a former high school teammate of current Louisville player Mike James. 247 rates him #290, the #53 point guard.

The newcomer who really matters to Louisville, and SU fans, is 6-8 200 Kamari Lands, who like Pitt’s Dior Johnson, was a Syracuse commit at one time and then backed off. We’ll be facing both of them this year. 247 has Lands #66 and the #20 small forward. Lindy’s: “Elite scorer who averaged 33 points per game” and “can help with the ball-handling”. The one returning starter is 6-8 230 Jae’Lyn Withers (5.8p, 4.6r). he is “back in the mix at power forward after an inconsistent sophomore campaign, one he began with hopes of a star turn and NBA draft selection”. “Breakout candidate Sydney Curry, 5-8 260, 7.1p, 4.4r), is back after a run of highlight-reel performances in February of last season. The 6-8 senior slimmed down his frame from north of 300 pounds to become an interior scorer with a mix of sly and sledgehammer moves around the rim.” We’ve been having problems stopping these kind of players for years. And Coach Payne brought in Danny Manning to train his big men.

In the backcourt, 6-3 175 senior El Ellis, (8.7p, 1.6a), takes over at the point. He “showed immense talent as a scorer” but will have to prove himself in the new role. 6-6 195 Mike James missed his freshman season with Achilles surgery but is “a tough, physical wing”. 6-8 195 Devin Ree is “a sharpshooting freshman” who decommitted from LSU to come here.

U OF MIAMI was 26-11 and 14-6 in the conference and made it to the Elite 8 in the NCAA tournament. They also live rent-free in our nightmares. We twice had 18 points leads on them, (ironically both were 44-26) and twice they came back to beat us, the later game being the one that basically clinched a losing season for us, (it made us 15-16 for the regular season with Duke looming in the second round of the ACCT). They did it with a withering press that took advantage of our having a two-guard at the point surrounded by a bunch of jump shooters. It will be interesting to see if they can do the same thing against our current line-up.

But it’s not the X’s and O’s: it’s the Willies and the Joes. And the Canes have some outstanding players. The best is conference player of the year candidate Isaiah Wong, (6-4 185, 15.3p 4.3r), who can “score in clusters”. 6-7 195 Jordan Miller (10.0p 5.9r) is “an emerging stand-out” and “an inside-out scorer with rebounding chops”. Jim Boeheim (and Jimmy Satalin) look-alike Jim Larranega, (all Jims look alike at that age), had brought in transfers Nigel Pack (6-0 180, 17.4p, 3.8r, 2.2a) from Kansas State and Norchad Omier, (6-7 232, 17.9p, 12.2r, 1.9b) from Arkansas State. Pack is “one of the nation’s top transfers” and Omier “gives Miami serious interior credibility…with disruptive defensive capabilities”.

NORTH CAROLINA after a couple of down years and a 12-6 start the Tar Heels won 17 of their last 21 games including what must have been a most enjoyable 94-81 win over Duke in Coach K’s last home game and, after a disappointing performance against Virginia Tech in the ACCT, an improbable run from an 8-9 game to losing to Kansas in the title game to finish 29-10, including 15-5 in the conference regular season. It was quite an achievement for rookie head coach Hubert (“Get yourself an offensive dude”) Davis, who has three starters back from that team.

6-11 235 Armando Bacot (16.3p 13.1r) was a tower of strength in the NCAA run. He is “a monster on the boards, especially on the offensive glass. He’s an excellent finisher inside, can block a pile of shots and is a competent passer.” Their back court, (Bacot and the back court) comes back: 6-4 200 Caleb Love (15.9p, 3.4r, 3.6a) and 6-0 175 RJ Davis (13.5p, 4.3r, 3.6a). “Both are playmakers who can score” but Davis has a better overall shooting percentage (42.5% to 37%) and takes better care of the ball, (1.9 to vs. 2.7). 6-8 200 Paul Johnson (3.1p, 2.0r) is “a solid finisher inside and can rebound some but needs to be more reliable at the other end”. 6-3 192 freshman Seth Trimble was #37 nationally and the #7 guard, per 247. 6-6 210 Dontrez Styles (2.0p, 1.4r) is “a wing man who can score inside the arc and will help on the boards”. Then there’s the worst nickname in the conference “Leaky” (real name Rechon) Black, bad because he’s the best one-on-one defender in the conference - he doesn’t ‘leak’. He’s 6-9 205 and quick enough to cover guards. He’s a steady ballhandler who scores 4.9p, 4.3r) a bit as well. 6-11 230 Pete Nance, son of Larry, transferred from Northwestern (11.1p, 6.8r, 1.8a). He’s a “strong inside-out weapon”. 6-10 225 freshman Jalen Washington was ranked #48, #11 center by 247 but had endured two ACL surgeries, (the first was botched – the second came a year later), but “he should be ready to go”. He can “shoot well from 15 feet and in”. 6-7 220 Tyler Nickel #80 and #15 power forward “won’t dazzle” but scored 2,909 career points in high school, rebounds well and can shoot it behind the line.

The Heels are back baby! (When will we be?)

NORTH CAROLINA STATE was actually first tobacco road program to make it big. In 1946 they hired Indiana High school legend Everett Case, (4 state titles) to build their program. He won 9 straight conference titles in the Southern and ACC conferences and had 8 ranked teams after the polls started in 1949, 4 in the Top ten, the highest being #2 in 1956. They built Reynolds Coliseum for him in 1949. It was the Carrier Dome of it’s era, easily the largest college basketball arena in the country, seating 12,400 in a era when most schools were still playing in gymnasiums. They led the country in attendance for many years. They never did break through to win a national championship in Case’s time but did under Norm Sloan in 1974, (breaking UCLA’s run of seven straight) and then won another under Jim Valvano in 1983. At that juncture the score in the ‘Triangle’ was North Carolina 2 national championships, NC State 2 and Duke none. The thing is they slid down to long-term mediocrity, at least by the standards North Carolina, (6 titles) and Duke (5) have set since then. Their last single-digit loss season as under Valvano in 1988-89. He had to give up the job due to terminal cancer a year later. Since then they’ve had Les Robinson (78-98), Herb Sendek (191-132), Sidney Lowe (86-76), Mike Gottfried (123-86) and now Kevin Keatts (90-68), who last year went 11-21 and 4-16 in the conference. The days of being the flagship program of the region and a national championship contender seem long ago – and they were. [Is that our future?]

Keatts has brought in five transfers to try to get things turned around. He’s also got three starters and a good-looking freshman guard. The big catch was 6-4 160 Terquavion Smith, the best of the three returning starters, who decided not to jump to the NBA despite averaging 16.3p, 4.1r, 2.1a. “Smith is a volume scorer who can shoot it from the outside and get to the basket. He rebounds well for a guard, can set up his teammates and is an opportunistic defender.” 6-3 200 Casey Morsell (7.2p, 3.6r), “a solid wing option who can shoot from long range but struggles inside the arc”. 6-11 225 Ebenezer Dewuona (maybe my favorite ACC name: 4.1p, 4.1r, 1.7b) is the third returning starter.

The transfers are: 6-1 180 Jarkel Joiner, (“What have you decided to name your new baby?” Well, we thought about it a lot and finally decided to call him Jarkel”) came in from Mississippi, where he averaged 13.2p, 3.0r, 2.3b. 6-9 275 DJ Burns, (15.0p but only 4.5r) came in from Winthrop, a strong mid-major, where he was player of the year in the Big South. 6-8 215 Greg Gantt (4.0p, 3.1r) transferred from Providence, “a solid forward who will provide needed depth”. 6-8 200 Jack Clark (12.0p, 5.8r) came not from the Giants or the Cardinals but from LaSalle. He’s a “wing man who can help inside but also step outside and shoot from long range.” 6-10 225 Dushan Mahorcic, (5.5p, 4.1r), from Utah played only 13 games last year due to an injury and a suspension, (violating team rules). “He brings inside heft and some skill.” The one freshman is 6-2 190 L J Thomas, “a scoring point who can score at all three levels”. (247: #178, #29 point guard.)

WAKE FOREST rose like a souffle’ last season, going from 6-16 (3-15) to 25-10 (13-7). Somehow they weren’t chosen for the Big Dance and went to the NIT quarterfinals. The question is: can they now build on that? Coach Steve Forbes has just one of his top five scorers back.

6-1 180 Daivien Williamson, (11.8p, 2.5r) is the one who stayed. At the end of the regular season, he dropped 28 points on NC State on 11/14 shooting. “He is a strong long-range marksman who can also convert closer to the hoop.” 6-6 225 Damari Monsanto (7.3p 3.4r), “is a long-range threat who can also help out on the backboards”. 6-4 195 Cameron Hildreth (3.9p, 2.9r), “showed he could get to the basket and set up his teammates but needs a better outside shot.”

6-1 165 Tyrone Appleby (10.9p, 3.7apg), a transfer from Florida, will be the point guard. 6-1 198 Jao Ituka, (15.3p, 3.1r), was the MAAC Rookie of the year at Marist. 7-0 Davion Bradford (3.3p, 1.9r) from Kansas State, was ill last year, (he was 7.7p, 4.6r the year before). “If healthy, he can score inside and hit the boards. 6-9 200 Bobi Klintman, from Sweden is rated #175, #30 power forward by 247. He “shoots the ball and can defend and is athletic”. 6-10 225 Zach Keller was #127/#24 power forward. “A skilled 5-10 forward, he can score inside and out.”

Summary: The eight conference teams we will only play once were 83-75 during last year’s conference regular season. The six teams we play twice were 53-65, (X 2 = 106-130), so you’d have to say that the conference schedule is favorable. That, plus a lighter non-conference schedule could help us get back on the winning track, even if the regular season with so many young players proves to be a bumpy ride.

Overall, I still have hopes that this will turn out to be a good college basketball team, despite their disturbing performance in the exhibition games. I think Jim Boeheim will get things sorted out and get the right people in the right spots. Off of what I’ve seen, that would mean Symir Torrence and Quadir Copeland at the point, Joe Girard and Judah Mintz at the 2, (although a 2012 style rotation when we had Scoop Jardine, Brandon Triche and Dion Waiters sharing time, (each played between 22-25 minutes) while Michael Carter Williams matured, (and played 10 minutes per game). Chris Bell(Bunch) and Justin Taylor would be at the three, (I think Taylor is better but we’ll see). Bennie Williams, Maliq Brown and John Bol Ajak would man the power forward position while Jesse Edwards, Mounir HIma and Peter Carey would be the centers. That could turn out to be quite a team.
 

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