Syracuse has lost a few players to the offseason shuffle in recent weeks. A couple -- Ron Patterson (IUPUI) and B.J. Johnson (LaSalle) were sort of expected. The other, Chris McCullough, who declared for the NBA Draft, was sort of a surprise. And then there was the unfortunate news about top recruiting target Thomas Bryant, who decided to go play at Indiana.
With all of those moves out of the way, though, we're sort of set in terms of the 2015-16 Orange basketball roster. Now who gets the lion's share of the minutes. Or, more accurately:
Who are "the 8?" (The guys Jim Boeheim -- and Mike Hopkins -- will lean on after tiring of playing the full roster)
The starting five's too easy -- Joseph, Cooney, Silent G, Roberson and Coleman -- so no need to really dive into them. Obviously Coleman's health is a concern, but if he stays on the court, this team will be able to transition into life without Rakeem Christmas (no offense, Rak) just fine. And if someone other than (or sometimes including) Cooney can shoot a jumper, this is a pretty formidable lineup.
Where things can get a bit (read: very) iffy is off the bench. Chino's going to play, and should provide some great rebounding off the bench. Again, if everyone stays healthy, Coleman, Roberson and Chino alone should have us looking very good on the boards. Outside of that, though... I sort of expect Richardson and Howard to get a lot of burn, especially if one of them shows they can put up a decent jumper. Lydon's a wildcard, because while it may not make sense for him to play at first, he may be a jump shooter, in which case: GET ON THE COURT NOW, PLEASE!
Diagne could be the odd-man out, but not because of skill -- just because of what we need to get this team rolling. Whoever take to the zone first is likely to stay in, as fair/unfair as that may sound.
How about you? Who are "the 8" in your mind?