Every year, there's one Syracuse basketball player, usually a big man, who sheds some weight, gets some muscles and transforms his game. This transformation can come as a player steps into a leadership role (Scoop Jardine), realizes he needs to get it together for the NBA Draft (Rick Jackson) or is making a transition from freshman to sophomore (Fab Melo).
This year, we can all look at Rakeem Christmas' arms and say he's the guy. However, for the first time ever, we might actually see a freshman make the transformation before he even gets here, that freshman being DaJuan Coleman.
Donna Ditota wrote about the intriguing and interchangable Christmas & Coleman today and how both look extremely different than the previous versions of their selves.
I checked with SU officials about the weight listed for Coleman and was assured that 288 was an accurate measurement taken earlier this month. I asked because Coleman has never looked leaner (aside from his eighth-grade playing days at Fowler High School, when he was pencil-thin). And SU coach Jim Boeheim said last week that Coleman has significantly reduced his body fat from the start of the summer.
Boeheim, too, said he was pleased with the physical transformation of Christmas, whose upper body displays the fruits of a summer of weightlifting labor...Christmas said last season that he preferred the center spot, especially for defensive purposes, where he was more familiar with the middle of the zone. But his experience on the back line of the SU defense, where he must stretch to the corners to reach the shooters from the power forward spot, will help him this season.
Of course, Boeheim is quick to note that "you never can predict what a freshman’s going to do" and Syracuse fans can point to many more cases of freshmen underwhelming than those of a freshman delivering fully on potential right away.
Still, having quality, interchangeable possibilities at the big man spot is a nice problems to have headed into this season.