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Friday Roundtable: Who Are "the 8" for Syracuse Basketball in 2015-16?

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We're pretty certain on who's on the Syracuse roster... so who's going to actually play in the games?

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

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)

Brandon Ross

PG: Kaleb Joseph. Not saying he's the best point guard we've had to date, but he's definitely our best option at this point.

SG: Trevor Cooney. As long as he can stay consistent with his shooting, there's no reason to believe he'll lose his spot.

SF: Michael Gbinije. Duh.

PF: Tyler Roberson. While he is no Chris McCullough, he did provide a role as a solid replacement in the lineup at the 4.

C: DaJuan Coleman. What other option do we have? Chino Obokoh? He does need to show that he can still play, but the job is as good as his for now.

Sixth Man: Malachi Richardson. The McDonald's All-American has great shooting capabilities and should provide quality minutes off the bench during his freshman season.

Other contributors: Moustapha Diagne, Franklin Howard. Being the only player on the team with the size to take on the PF/C positions besides Coleman and Roberson, Diagne will certainly see his share of minutes throughout the season and also has the potential to grab a starting spot if either Coleman or Roberson show signs of struggle. Howard is a maybe. His playing time this season will depend on the improvement of Kaleb Joseph. If Joseph shows a lot of improvement, Howard may see minimal minutes or even be redshirted. However, if Joseph's woes continue, it wouldn't surprise me if Howard got the opportunity to show what he can do.

Michael Burke

I'm not even sure there are eight guys Boeheim will feel comfortable giving regular minutes to. The way I see it, Kaleb Joseph, Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinije, Tyler Roberson, and DaJuan Coleman will be the starters from opening day onward. Malachi Richardson should get a typical starter's minutes, sort of in the same fashion that Gbinije did at the beginning of last season. After those six, Moustapha Diagne seems like the next best bet to get some burn. Someone will have to spell Coleman from time to time, and unless Chinonso Obokoh figures things out, that will likely be Diagne. From there, it's difficult to imagine that Franklin Howard and Tyler Lydon will get significant playing time. At least based on what we know right now, a seven-man rotation seems pretty realistic.

Sean Keeley

We can assume Kaleb Joseph is getting his starting PG spot back and obviously Trevor Cooney is SG. You can't not have Michael Gbinije on the court as much as possible so I would expect to see him at the three spot, mixing and matching with Joseph depending on whose on the court. We also assume DaJuan Coleman is healthy and on his way to becoming the next Syracuse Big Man Who Makes the Leap. As for the fifth spot, it's Tyler Roberson's to lose.

After that,  Malachi Richardson should make a case for solid playing time, if not an outright assault on Roberson's starting spot. Just based on depth and need, Chino Obokoh is going to be needed and that could also mean Moustapha Diagne gets PT out of it, or at least a chance to prove he deserves to be yelled at by Boeheim for every little mistake he makes every time he takes the court.

Can't imagine Tyler Lydon sees much playing time this season and I'd say the same about Franklin Howard until we know more about him. In more injuries or transfers, please...

John Cassillo

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?