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Jim Boeheim on Syracuse’s depth: ‘We could go to nine’

Jim Boeheim usually doesn’t like to go much deeper than seven players but this year he’s got too much talent.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional-Virginia vs Syracuse Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Woe unto Jim Boeheim.

The Syracuse Orange head coach is known for his persnickety sensibilities when it comes to roster depth and rotations. More often than not, Boeheim likes to get down to around a seven-man rotation. Sometimes that’s due to a lack of depth and sometimes that’s just because Boeheim seems to like the lack of complications that go with expanding his roster.

This year, however, Boeheim’s roster is overflowing with talent. He’s got four seniors, tons of talented underclassmen, highly-touted freshman, and depth at every position. It’s enough to drive a control freak crazy.

Boeheim, however, is appreciating what he’s got, as he tells Donna Ditota in a recent interview.

"I would say this year, we could go to nine very easily. Just depends on how they play," he said. "Redshirting is always a good thing for some guys. We'll have to see when Matt gets healthy and gets clear and how he feels. The minutes will be spread out a little more this year, for sure. We'll play at least eight guys. I wouldn't be shocked if nine guys play."

If you’ve followed Syracuse long enough, you learn when to read between the lines. As such, you can feel pretty confident that Boeheim is leaning towards redshirting Matt Moyer. Not only is he a freshman who will battle for playing time, but he’s going to be behind everyone as he recovers from a toe injury without a solid recovery timetable.

That would also mean that Boeheim sees freshman Taurean Thompson as a viable member of “the nine.” While Thompson and the other new players will have to find their footing as the roster comes together, Jimmy B already has a keen sense of what the team’s strategy will look like this season.

"We'll press a little bit, do a few things differently, see how it all works out. It'll be an interesting team to watch," Boeheim said. "Last year we had no (bench) options really. We tried to get through each game. We couldn't press or do anything else without wearing everybody out."

More press? That sigh you just heard came from Charlottesville.

As much as this team looks exciting on paper, there’s still a lot of questions to be answered. You can throw a lot of talent together but whether or not they can work together is a whole other issue. Boeheim will find out soon enough.