Although the Class of 2017 recruiting cycle is still figuring itself out, we’re going to jump ahead a year and take a look at what Syracuse basketball will need come 2018.
Who will likely leave early for the NBA, who will return and which positions will be of need/concern heading into the 2018 season?
Tyus Battle, a rising sophomore, will likely head to the NBA after next season. Nothing is certain, but if he has the type of season that most are expecting — it’s almost inevitable.
Taurean Thompson, another rising sophomore, has an interesting situation. At the very least I expect Thompson to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft, but depending on his season, he could very well leave for good or return for his junior season. I, personally, think he’ll be gone — but that’s just me.
Aside from those two, I think Syracuse is safe in regards to players leaving early for the NBA. There could, however, be transfers out of the program, but those are unpredictable.
The Orange doesn’t have any seniors of next year’s roster that play meaningful minutes, which bodes well for the following season in regards to turnover.
How many scholarships can Syracuse use in 2018-19 and how many will be open?
Again, this is all assuming Battle and Thompson DO NOT return for their junior seasons.
Syracuse can use 12 scholarships in the 2018-19 season, which is also the final year SU will have any sort of reductions. The normal number is 13, but Syracuse is still battling the NCAA sanctions handed down a few years ago.
Projected scholarship players:
1. Frank Howard
2. Paschal Chukwu
3. Matt Moyer
4. Oshae Brissett
5. Bourama Sidibe
6. Howard Washington
Now this also depends on who Syracuse adds to the 2017 class, who stays past next season, who leaves early, etc.
If Thompson has the type of season that he’s capable of, NBA GMs will be drooling at his offensive potential, and he’l be gone. Same thing goes for Tyus Battle, although he’s more complete across the board than Thompson (defensively, athleticism, basketball IQ, skill-set) in my opinion.
What does Syracuse need to add to its roster?
To be honest, a little bit of everything — but most importantly a scoring 2-guard. SU will likely lose Battle, and that will be a major scoring void to fill.
This also depends on what Tyus and Taurean end up doing — but this is assuming both leave.
If SU lands Jordan Tucker, a Class of 2017 scoring wing, he could play major minutes at the 2. He’s said he can play either the 2-guard or small forward, depending on what is asked of him wherever he goes. Each situation is different, and he’s versatile which is very appealing.
Syracuse will also need to add depth at the forward and center position. The verdict is still out on how good Paschal Chukwu can be. The other center, Bourama Sidibe, still isn’t a student at Syracuse, and it’s virtually impossible to predict what he’ll be like in two years from now.
And at forward, Matthew Moyer still hasn’t played meaningful minutes for the Orange, while Oshae Brissett hasn’t even put on the SU uniform yet.
It’s easy to say adding a prospect like five-star Cam Reddish will solve a lot of needs — and it will — but how realistic is it to believe he’s coming to SU? All the blue-blood programs are after him, and John Calipari is in weekly contact with the top 5 prospect.
Naz Reid, another Class of 2018 five-star, is a promising target at the forward position — but he’s similar to Reddish in the standpoint of everyone wants him. He just recently picked up an offer from Arizona, while John Calipari, Bill Self and others have been in constant communication. You can add SU to that list, but Mike Hopkins, who was Reid’s primary recruiter, is now in Washington, and it’s unknown how much that’ll affect his decision.
There’s a lot of time between now and the 2018-19 roster, including an entire offseason where Syracuse can add potentially three more players to the 2017-18 roster, let alone the following season.
Your guess is as good as mine for who Syracuse adds this spring/summer. One thing I have learned, it’s never a quiet “offseason” when it comes to Syracuse basketball.