There's nothing strange about Franklin Howard committing to play basketball at Syracuse University. Why would there be something off about a highly touted recruit deciding to play for Jim Boeheim? Syracuse isn't exactly Kentucky or Duke when it comes to Blue Chippers, but throughout Boeheim's run, there haven't been a lack of stars flying around the dome either.
Now, what about Franklin Howard committing to Syracuse the very day Jerami Grant bolts Syracuse? Is that strange? Ironic? Or even serendipitous?
Really, it's none of the above because, and this is not to be offensive to Grant or Tyler Ennis, who is also leaving SU early, it's just Syracuse rolling along. The Orange program isn't a Blue Blood but it's damn close in terms of relevance, importance and consistency. Winning begets winning around here, regardless of who actually suits up. Yes, there has "only" been one national championship in 38 years of the Hall Famer running things, but I think most fans of other teams would take what Syracuse routinely gives its followers.
And think about this, programs like North Carolina or even national champion Connecticut have had down years recently because so many young players bolted the program early. SU? Well, Ennis and Grant will likely give Syracuse eight first round picks in the last seven NBA drafts. And somehow SU continues to win at an all-time clip.
Sure, next season will be strange, relying on so many players who aren't even on campus yet. And given some of the players that we know will be on other school's campuses, well, I'm betting SU won't be on most people's radars come next November. A definitive switch from the last couple of years that brought preseason top-ten predictions, right? A team with Ennis and Grant would probably be top two or three, a team without both of them may not even be top-25 in the first rankings of the season. And most of the ACC talk will absolutely revolve around Louisville's debut and its legit shot at another title. Then there's Duke, which, if Jabari Parker is back, could be the odds on favorite to reach the Final Four. Don't forget about North Carolina and Virginia, too.
So, what about Syracuse?
Well, 20-plus wins is a lock, as is a preseason tourney title (do you realize that SU's last loss in a November tournament was in the 2007 NIT?) and I'm betting there will be a few more huge Dome wins and maybe a classic or two against those Blue Devils. Basically, what we can all expect is Syracuse to be Syracuse -- probably minus the 25-0 start and a No. 1 ranking, but things should be status quo.
And...yada, yada, yada really. I mean, the preceding paragraphs are about as useful as directions on a bottle of shampoo. Not because of the words on the bottle, which would fit here too, but because if you're picking up a bottle in the shower, chances are you know what to do with it. If you're reading this, if you're already thinking about Syracuse Orange basketball 2014-15 then you know what's going to happen: Syracuse is going to win more than it loses and it's going to be, for better or worse for your heart, entertaining as hell.
Howard's commitment for 2015, along Kaleb Joseph's and Chris McCullough's arrival next season, is all apart of the process. A process, by the way, that includes the departures of an Ennis, Grant and Michael Carter-Williams. Because for every successful program there are successful players to be courted by the NBA. It's the way it goes when things are going well.
I believe the fans call it reloading not rebuilding.
For every Grant there'll be Howard, for every departure an arrival, for every season there'll be excitement because it's just the way of life for Syracuse basketball. And even though there's some random pitfalls and rarely a lack of drama, life is still pretty damn good.
- Thinking Out Loud: What Does The 2014-2015 Syracuse Basketball Lineup Look Like?
- Syracuse Daily Links - Will Syracuse Try To Add A Transfer?
- Syracuse Basketball Recruiting: 2015 Guard Franklin Howard Commits To Orange
- Syracuse Basketball: Sophomore Jerami Grant Is Going Pro
- Jerami Grant Watch: 'We'll See What Happens'