For the past three years or so we have been spoiled by having perenial basketball success to lean upon during the cold winter months here in Syracuse. But next year will present a different challenge such as has not been experienced in quite some time. And that challenge is talent. Or more precisely the fact that there will be more of it (allegedly) in this recruiting class than there has been in years past. We have seen what our hall of fame coach can do with with a bunch of no-names and one star, but what about when he has multiple stars to align? Will we be like the recent Connecticut or North Carolina teams that had highly touted recruiting classes and then proceeded to fall flat on their faces when that talent had difficulty meshing? The simple answer is that only time will tell if a collective group of young talent can be coached into working together to pick up where a veteran squad left off. But for the more cerebral individual who prefers to analyze and predict, the answer is more complicated due to several variables which will determine the course of next year's team.
For instance, what if Wesley Johnson stays? Please allow me to premise this as purely hypothetical because the odds of a talent such as our beloved number four staying and turning down millions to help an unproven squad with whom he has never played, is as crazy as it sounds. But if he stayed that would add a credibility and leadership to a squad which could then be immediately viewed as was Kentucky's band of freshmen this season. But all things being as they are in the world, we have a better chance of getting a million dollars and a Mercedes Benz parked in our front yard by a mysterious donor than having that smiling talent gracing our court next year.
The next variable is improvement. Can the young and or sporadic talent that remains from this year's team truly improve? Will we see a more wise Brandon Triche? Will we see a stronger more coordinated Riley? Will Scoop and Kris truly step up and become leaders and not just excellent supporting cast members? We have every reason to believe based on their track records that they can and will rise to the occasion as well as mentor these young incoming players. But somewhere in the back of the mind some of us still have our doubts.
To summarize, the outlook is good. For a change, the question is not whether we have talent but rather we can utilize it. But there is one thing we do know. With our support, and willing the team onto victory just as we did this year, the odds are in our favor to be surprised and not disappointed.