Syracuse basketball went from having three open scholarships to one in a matter of just under two weeks. With the additions of Elijah Hughes and Marek Dolezaj, the Orange quickly filled up the 2017-18 roster heading into the summer.
With the current roster for next season - and the remaining available prospects - one player stands out in my mind: Geno Thorpe.
Thorpe is a 6-foot-4 graduate transfer from South Florida, and has the ability to give the Orange another scorer on the floor. And not only that, Thorpe would provide Syracuse with another point guard.
The verdict is still out on Frank Howard, who played well towards the end of his freshman season, and was up-and-down his sophomore year. And Washington is yet to step on campus as a student-athlete.
Syracuse needs someone proven at the point guard position, and Thorpe is just that.
He averaged over 15 points per game last season for the Bulls, and will be immediately eligible for one season at his new destination. He’s reportedly down to Syracuse and Pittsburgh, according to Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports.
From a basketball standpoint, Syracuse seems like the better opportunity on paper. But Thorpe is from Pittsburgh, and that could be a major factor in his recruitment.
Elijah Hughes will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer rules, which is another reason Thorpe would be a good option. Hughes can learn the system and get acclimated with his teammates without battling (potentially) three other point guards for playing time.
Once Thorpe’s time (hypothetically) is over at Syracuse, Hughes will have three years remaining to battle with Howard and Washington in SU’s backcourt.
One other name that continues to float around due to the uncertainty of his status is Class of 2018 point guard Eric Ayala.
Ayala, who has contradicted his own statements multiple times on whether he’ll reclassify or not, has a standing offer from the Orange to join the program now or in 2018.
He’s not in any rush to make a decision, but his coach has told TNIAAM that he would be eligible to play in college next season if he chose to do so — grades/eligibility isn’t an issue, it’s a matter of if he feels ready for the next level.
The worst case scenario for Syracuse is they don’t add anyone, which will have the roster looking like this:
Guard: Frank Howard, Tyus Battle, Howard Washington, Elijah Hughes*
Forward: Taurean Thompson, Matt Moyer, Oshae Brissett, Marek Dolezaj, Bourama Sidibe
Center: Paschal Chukwu
*=not eligible to play in 2017-18 season