Wes Johnson may indeed end up being the marquee player on the Syracuse Orange this season. But until he comes through on his expectations, the league looks at Arinze Onuaku at our big man on campus for now. The only Orangeman mentioned on the preseason teams (Honorable Mention) by the coaches, Onuaku adds that accolade to all of the expectations currently resting on his right knee.
That knee, which was operated on in the off-season for tendinitis, will be the difference between Onuaku continuing to grow as a player and leader and seeing him spent more time on the bench to rest. For his part Onuaku seems to be doing everything necessary to ensure that he'll be in tip top shape come Big East play in January, but his road to recovery is still ongoing.
"I’m doing all right. I still got some ways to go," he said. "It’s just getting my legs back used to running and the pounding and the pushing up against guys – big guys – battling and rebounding. I’m just trying to train my legs again. It’s been a whole summer of doing none of that."
Boeheim said he was confident Onuaku would be healthy enough to help the Orange once November signals the start of serious games. Onuaku said he lost 15 pounds over the summer; that loss of body volume with help the tendinitis merely because his legs will have less weight to support.
It's hard to remember that, despite his free throw horrors, Onuaku led the Big East in field goal percentage last year. The Orange will be relying on him more than ever to provide a foundation for the offense, a strong core for the defense and, God willing, an improved free-throw percentage.