Nothing seen is seen the same by all. A monster triple-decker cheeseburger to someone may be murder on a sesame bun to someone else. A baseball field could be a stop-you-in-your-tracks thing of beauty or that-place-where-they-play-that-game to others. That old cliche is true in that it's all about the eye of the beholder.
In this case, for example, I see Syracuse's incoming recruiting class and the words "loaded" and "exciting" come to mind.
- Malachi Richardson, six-five guard
- Moustapha Diagne, six-nine forward
- Tyler Lydon, six-nine forward
- Frank Howard, six-six guard
Sure, there's not a bonafide shooter in the bunch (UPDATE: As pointed out in the comments, I glossed over Richardson's ability. Meant more as he is unproven at this level, but I was wrong, he can shoot.), but all four players are likely to push for major minuets in year one. Actually, Richardson could prove to be a star right from jump. And, regardless, adding all of those players to the group that is likely to come back? In the words of my four-year-old son Brady, "Whoazers!" Syracuse may have too many legit players next season.
But, then again, where I see something complete other people see something lacking. Specifically, one Thomas Bryant, a six-nine forward who is coveted by just about every school out there -- including John Calipari and
One-and-Done Univeristy Kentucky. Yet, there is a strong believe that Bryant, a Rochester native, wants to play for Jim Boeheim and Syracuse. Should that happen, there's a believe that would truly solidify that 2015 recruiting class.
There is one glitch, though, and everyone knows what it is: Syracuse is out of available scholarships to offer for next season.
Which brings me to another eye test of sorts.
I think like B.J. Johnson could prove himself relevant to Syracuse basketball. I mean, he's only a sophomore and he has scored in double figures in two of the last four games. Seriously, if Johnson didn't make three of his four three-point attempts, SU wouldn't have had a chance against Pitt. And Johnson was a big reason why the Orange was able to pull away from Boston College, too.
But where I see some slow, and still kind of painful, growth, Boeheim may see something entirely different. In talking about both Ron Patterson and Johnson to Brent Axe on ESPN 97.7, Boeheim sounded...well, resolute in what he expects from both players.
"You've got to look at the facts. They're both shooting about 20 percent from the 3-point line. The percentages say that it's going to be difficult for them to shoot well, but we're certainly going to give them an opportunity and we would like them to shoot well and hope that they can, but as a coach, you don't feel confident that they'r going to be able to. But we're certainly going to give them the opportunity in these remaining games to get some shots up."
Okay, so Ron Patterson has struggled mightily. Hell, he's shooting 18 percent from three and just 29 percent from the floor overall. Johnson, for his part, has been mostly a ghost who has really only earned playing time because of Chris McCullough's injury. But there's just something about Johnson's game that makes me think he could be valuable going forward. Patterson? Well...I don't know...they both have more obvious negatives than positives right now. And it sounds like Boeheim is clumping them both together.
Maybe I'm seeing something that's not there, maybe you see something different, but it sure seems as though Patterson and or Johnson are kind of on this weird fringe. Boeheim's saying they're getting "opportunities" to show themselves sounds as though they're auditioning, doesn't it? Do something with this time or maybe you go somewhere else that better suits you and your game.
That's certainly putting words into Boeheim's mouth and I don't want to do that for him. But it's no secret Bryant would be a big-time get and would probably have a more positive impact on Syracuse next year than either Johnson or Patterson. Which leads us to a really strange couple of weeks ahead, no? While I have more confidence in Johnson, both players are talented enough to get to this level, both players have clearly worked hard to stay at this level, and yet, it's kind of a competition over the last four games of the season.
The Bachelor: Syracuse Basketball Scholarship Edition
"Tune in to see who Jim Boeheim will pick to be on his team! And don't forget to tune in after the show when we hear from Tony Bland, Bobby Lazor and Matt Roe!"
(I'm betting Chris Harrison is reading this and thinking, "Yes, I'll host the sh*t out of that show!")
If Johnson continues to show us something, is it Patterson that's outtie? What if Patterson continues to do some of the little things well, he has shown a knack for creating big steals and has keen awareness on the court, is it Johnson left without a rose? How does that even work? Does Boeheim take the player into his office for a one-on-one conversation on a giant sofa near a roaring fireplace or do they meet at an overlook on a picturesque mountain side? Is it as awkward as the real version of The Bachelor? Is that even possible?
And don't forget about Chino Obokoh, too. In the last 320 possible minutes, the big man has played in exactly seven of them. Centers, as we have seen with Rakeem Christmas, take time to develop. But the fact Obokoh isn't even seeing the court for such a depleted Syracuse team must say something. Although, there's talk he's a close friend of Bryant's, soooo....who knows.
So many questions. Like, what if Patterson and Johnson turn it up the next four games and actually lead Syracuse to some big (albeit meaningless) wins? Would Boeheim actually relent on Bryant? Maybe. Maybe not. Probably not. I think, anyway. It's strange to predict who won't be back with the team not because they'll go pro but because they may not be considered good enough. Very murky and muddy waters.
Something tells me, though, one way or another, whatever happens with any of them, it will be crystal clear for us all to see soon enough.