My 2023-24 SU Basketball Preview Part 9 | Syracusefan.com

My 2023-24 SU Basketball Preview Part 9

SWC75

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(this is the last one- I promise)

Saturday 2/3/23 7:45PM in Winston-Salem Wake Forest The CW
Wake was a power until an 8-24(1-15) collapse in 2010-11 they have never recovered from. That, again, is this league: if you fall behind it’s like climbing a sand dune trying to get back to the top, as we have experienced. Coach Steve Forbes had seemingly experienced a breakthrough two seasons ago when the Deacons went 25-10(13-7) but didn’t get to the NCAA tournament with that record, Last year they fell back to 19-14(10-10) and this year may determine their future direction. (We’ve experienced that in football.)

Forbes has three starts back and three top reserves and the newcomers include a pair of players from Gonzaga. 6-4 195 Cameron Hildreth (12.4p 5.3r) and 6-6 225 Damari Monsanto (13.3p 3.6r) gives him a large, veteran backcourt. Hildreth is “good off the dribble and defends well” but “will be asked to be a playmaker and a bigger outside producer.” (He was 32.8% on threes). Monsanto is “an excellent long-range shooter who will get a chance to be more versatile”. 6-0 165 Kevin Miller from Central Michigan averaged 13.1p 4.6a in 30 games two years ago and 18.5p 5.3a in just four games last year when his season ended due to a foot injury. “He has great speed, scores well and moves the ball willingly.” [That’s better than moving it unwillingly.] 6-6 200 Italian Abramo Canka didn’t play much for UCLA but “Forbes hopes he can shoot from the outside and rebound”. 6-6 195 freshman Aaron Clark is so good Lindy’s listed him twice. “He can create off the dribble and hit the three pointer.” 6-3 195 Parker Friedrichsen decommitted from Notre Dame when Mike Brey left. He can “score inside and out”.

The former Zags are 5 star small forward 6-5 175 Hunter Sallis, who “never could get traction in Spokane” (4.5p) but who has “All-Conference potential” and 6-11 238 Efton Reid III (just 2.1p with no starts for the Zags last year but 6.3p 4.3r in 34 starts at LSU the year before), “who can provide help on the boards while scoring close to the hoop”. 6-9 210 Andrew Carr (10.7p 6.0r) ”is a productive scorer and rebounder who also protects the rim and hits the occasional 3 pointer”. 7-1 250 Matthew Marsh (6.1p 4.2r) “is automatic around the hoop and rebounds well”.

Wednesday 2/7/23 7PM in the Dome Louisville ACCN
What happened to Wake Forest in 2010-11 and Georgetown two years ago happened to Louisville last year. The turmoil of the end of the Rick Pitino Era and the subsequent Chris Mack regime finally overwhelmed the Cardinals as they fell to 4-28 and 2-18 in the conference. Coming back from this could be a long road, as it’s been for the Deacons. Kenny Payne, who played on Louisville’s 1986 national champions, will lead the effort. He may be on a short leash, and that may be part of the problem. He was the coach last year and some people wanted him fired in his first year. They are in desperate need of continuity. They won’t wait forever but Payne has to be given a chance to rebuild the program.

He's brought in 9 new players. At least the mix will be different than last year. 6-3 200 Skyy Clark (7.2p 3.7r 2.1a) “was a prized prep prospect but didn’t put it together at Illinois.” He “gets the reins to the offense” this year. 6-5 195 Mike James (10.1p 3.3r) is “an efficient wing who’ll benefit from more surrounding talent”. Another big guard, (everyone seems to have them) is 6-7 185 Koron Davis, a JUCO transfer who is “the most mysterious addition of the bunch”. There seem to be questions about the level of coemption he’s faced to this point. Freshman Ty-Laur Johnson, (6-0 160) is a “tough-nosed point guard from New York City”.

6-7 190 USC transfer Tre White (9.0p 5.1r), “could be the most impactful of any transfer in the ACC” He “brings scoring and tournament experience. A pairing of 7-1 250 Dennis Evans and 6-9 220 Emmanuel Okaflor (4.4p 4.2r) “should result in a large increase in blocked shots”.

Saturday 2/10/23 Noon in the Dome Clemson the ESPN family
People criticized Joe Girard III for four years and now he’s playing his Covid year for Clemson – who will play us twice. He had his limitations but one thing he could do is hit from deep, something we may be short on this year. He’ll get two chances to do it against us – this game in the Dome and the regular season finale. Last year, his new team was 23-11 but a strong 14-6 in the league, the most ACC basketball games Clemson has ever won. Somehow, that wasn’t good enough to make the NCAA tournament, indicating how the prestige of this conference has declined in recent years.

Brad Brownell is optimistic about the new season: We have good depth that will allow us to play 10-11 guys. One of them will be point guard Chase Hunter, (another cool name). Chase is 6-3 204 and averaged 13.8p, 4.5a, with a 2-1 assist to turnover ratio. Joe averaged 16.4 points and 3.0 assists, with a 5/4 ratio. Brownell: “He’s crafty. He can score a bunch of ways. He knows how access a defense and attack accordingly.” Yeah…

6-10 235 PJ Hall is “one of the best big men in the league”, (15.3p 5.7r). “He can score with his jump-hook over either shoulder. He hasn’t been healthy the past two off-seasons but now he is.” (Has he been healthy in the season?) NC State transfer Jack Clark, (6-8 200) spent four seasons at LaSalle before that. Had a sports hernia injury while with the Wolfpack. “He’s a rebounder” (9.0p 6.2r). 6-8 225 Ian Schieffelin (5.5p 4.1r) started 22 games last season. 6-10 220 Bas Leyte transferred in from UNC-Greensboro (7.6p 4.3r).


Tuesday 2/13/23 7PM in the Dome North Carolina the ESPN family
(see 1/13/23)


Saturday 2/17/23 5:30PM in Atlanta Georgia Tech The CW
Georgia Tech is another once-powerful program that fell from it’s perch and has struggles to get back o it. Under Bobby Cremins, they were a power in the 80’s and 90’s but have been just another ACC team most of the time since. They were 15-19 last year and 6-14 in the conference. Former Arizona star and recent Celtics assistant Damon Stoudamire, who remembers that, under Lute Olson “We did the same thing ever day for four years”. Lindy’s: “What that process taught Stoudamire was consistency and discipline, building habits. Consistency is an important word, because consistency has been evasive for Georgia Tech.” Maybe Lute Olson wasn’t insane.

Miles Kelly (6-4 171) averaged 19.8p over the last 8 games of the season. And 14.4 for the season. He also averaged 3.3 assists and “needs to add more playmaking to his game”. 6-2 198 Kyle Sturdivant (8.6p3.3a) is a “reliable point guard who sets the table”. 6-2 180 Lance Terry (10.1p) “could be a star with more consistency”. 6-6 215 Deebo Coleman (9.5p) “has to shoot it better from the three” (32.6%). 6-4 190 Amaree Abram (8.0p) transferred in from Ole Miss and Kowacie Reeves(8.5p) is “an athletic wing” from Florida. Carter Murphy (7.2p) was an Air Force cadet who bring “defense and positional versatility”.

Tyshaun Claude “lead the well-respected Southern Conference in rebounding and posted 11 double-doubles. (15.4p 8.6r) He “eases some of the physical void for Tech”. So does Ebenezer Dowuona (6-11 235, 1.7p 1.9r), an NC State transfer. Also 6-9 205 Tafara Gapare 3.4p 2.1r) from UMASS. Freshmen 6-9 220 Baye Ndongo and 6-6 222 Ibrahim Sacko (with a 7-1 armspan) will also help.


Tuesday 2/20/23 7PM in Raleigh North Carolina State the ESPN family
(see 1/27/23)


February 2/24/23 Noon in the Dome Notre Dame the ESPN family
Notre Dame is still another once good program that is not so good anymore. They may be in store for a Louisville-type year. New coach Micah Shrewsberry is looking in the opposite direction. “I came here because I think you can win a national championship here. I really believe that…We have a good, young core that will be the group that we build with and we grow with.” Last year the Irish were 11-21 and 3-17 in the conference. Mike Brey may have retired because of the state of the program – or the state of college basketball – or both. The Irish lost five double-figure scorers from last year, (I’m counting a 9.9 guy), plus a sixth man who scored 8.4. (one of the loses, JJ Starling, will be in our backcourt). Everybody abandoned ship and Shrewsberry will be starting from scratch.

He's going at it the old-fashioned way, trying to build that nucleus he craves. Three freshmen, 6-4 175 Logan Imes, 6-1 175 Markus Burton and the coach’s son, 6-3 170 Braeden Shrewsberry, will see a lot of minutes in the backcourt. Burton was Indiana’s Mr. Basketball with 2,200 career points. “He’s a strong three point shooter and creates for others. Imes “has the size to rebound and defend multiple positions and sets up his teammates well”. Shrewsberry “has a diverse game and can play on the ball or wing”. Northwestern transfer Julian Roper, (6-3 180, 4.4p 3.7r) played only 15 games last year due to an ankle injury. He “demonstrated an ability to score beyond the arc”, (42.1%).

6-10 237 Kebba Njie (3.4p 3.5r) followed Shrewsberry from his previous head coaching job at Penn State. “He scores close to the hoop, rebounds well and has a solid frame that will be helpful defensively.” 6-9 204 Tae Davis (2.8p 2.8r) transferred from Seton Hall. He’s “leaner but still provides help close to the hoop.” 6-10 205 Carey Booth originally signed with Penn State. “He’s a lean inside-out performer who is athletic, rebounds well can hit the outside shot.

Shrewsberry has only 9 scholarship players to work with, most of them very young. In a couple of years, some of these players could be on a good team. Not this year. Hammer, meet nail.


Tuesday 2/27/23 7PM in the Dome Virginia Tech the ESPN family
The Hokies were once pathetic. Then they became quite feisty under Buzz Williams and Mike Young. Last year they had a bumpy ride but finished with a winning record, 19-15, but just 8-12 in the conference. They split with us, losing 72-82 in the Dome but gaining revenge in Blacksburg, 85-70, thanks to 13 three pointers. They led by 19 at the half in an ugly game for us. They lacked defense and depth last year and, (of course), have looked to the portal to correct that.

Sean Pedulla is another one of the excellent point guards in the conference, (6-1-190, 15.0p 3.6r 3.8a). He “was wearing down at the end of last season, playing nearly 36 minutes a game”. (But what about the TV time outs?) He’s “a strong distributor and defender with the ability to hit the long ball”. Hunter Cattoor (6-3 200, 10.8p 3.7r) “is back to snipe from the outside” (42.4%). 6-4 195 Rodney Rice (7.4p 3.3r) played only 8 games due to an injury “but he showed scoring potential when he was on the court.” 6-4 195 freshman Jayden Young “attacks the basket and plays tough defense”.

6-7 195 Mekhi Long had 11 double-doubles last year for Old Dominion (10.7p 8.7r). 6-9 215 Robbie Beran (7.5p 4.7r) from Northwestern “can rebound, defend and hit the occasional three pointer”. 6-7 200 Tyler Nickel (2.1p 0.6r) didn’t play much at UNC but is the highest scoring high school player in Virginia history. 6-10 235 Lynn Kidd (5.0p 3.4r) can “provide interior scoring and productive boardwork”. 7-0 235 Patrick Wessler redshirted last year but “was a productive interior player and good rim protector as a prep”. (At 7-1 in high school, he should be.)


Saturday 3/2/23 8PM in Louisville Louisville ACCN
(see 2/7/23)


Tuesday 3/5/23 7PM in Clemson Clemson the ESPN family
(see 2/10/23)

In compiling these summaries, I note that everybody seems to have big guards. Being 6-3 or 6-4 doesn’t give you the advantage it once did. Being a seven footer isn’t the advent age in the paint it was, although I think 7-4 is still pretty impressive. But bigness seems to be a minimum requirement these days. The real big thing is to be good.


I think we have more talent on the team than we’ve had in years but I’m concerned that we lack proven players, (which can change by the end of the season), have too many similar players, (four centers, five guards who can get to the basket but don’t shoot very well), lack the perimeter game to stretch the defense so our penetrators will have someplace to go and face the toughest and most unforgiving schedule we’ve ever played. With a new coach and playing style and the influx of interesting talent, optimism is understandably high, (and now is the time to have it), but that can turn into disappointment and bitterness. The optimistic view is that all the tough games will give this team an opportunity to make a reputation for itself and the new talent and style will enable them to do so. I’ll be delighted if that’s true. If it isn’t, I’ll focus on the development of the players, most of whom figure to be on next year’s team and will be joined by one of our best recruiting classes in years. Sports is about undying hope.
 
Bravo, Steve! (Pant pant pant). It has been a challenge to be an SU fan lately, but I think we see a breaking dawn in basketball. I hope we don’t freak out too much about early losses to excellent teams. I think we’re going to go places this year, and I want to be on the ride!
 

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