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Syracuse basketball preseason player profiles: Bourama Sidibe

The big guy’s back for another season in Orange.

NCAA Basketball: Niagara at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time for another preseason player profile for the Syracuse men’s basketball team. To look at all our player profiles and more preseason content, visit the men’s basketball section here.

At the very least, we got confirmation yesterday that the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball season will start on schedule. With Friday’s opener looming, I take a look at another returning starter in the frontcourt: Bourama Sidibe.

After being one of the regular bench players that saw time during his first two seasons in Orange, Sidibe inherited the starting center role from Paschal Chukwu. Although he did a decent job at getting rebounds, fouls kept him out of action for a large majority of games. Sidibe only had six games last year with three or less fouls.

Another offseason has theoretically made Sidibe even more of a physical presence in the paint. What can he do in his (potentially) last season in Orange? Will we see the foul-prone Sidibe or the Sidibe that finished strong through the final stretch of last season?

“Bourama is clearly the dominant player at that position, which you would expect,” Jim Boeheim says. “We’re not looking back and saying, ‘Well he had a bad year.’ We’re looking back and saying he finished the year, he played really well against good teams down the stretch in the ACC. He averaged double-doubles.”

NCAA Basketball: North Florida at Syracuse Richard Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Center

Class: Senior

Vitals: 6-foot-10, 218 lbs.

Stats: 2019-20: 6.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 0.2 assists per game. Sidibe averaged the lowest amount of minutes per game among the starters last year with 24.0. He only played 30 or more minutes in five games last season.

Strengthens/Weaknesses: Defense is still Sidibe’s biggest strength. His shot-blocking is solid, with 44 blocks last year to lead the team. His rebounding slowly improved as the season went along last year to help secure a few more possessions for Syracuse.

Sidibe’s offensive influence was severely limited. He only recorded six double digit games throughout the season. But the biggest issue with Sidibe is his foul trouble. The last thing Boeheim needs is to lose Sidibe’s defensive presence as the game winds down. Marek Dolezaj and Jesse Edwards don’t provide the same defensive influence in the middle of the zone.

Ceiling: Sidibe limits his fouls and becomes a monster in the middle of the paint to make scoring around the rim tough for opponents. He also improves offensively by putting himself in good positions to get open buckets, or even post up other bigs.

Floor: Much like Dolezaj, Sidibe can’t stay out of foul trouble as he’s forced to sit out for large chunks of the game. The strength he puts on also isn’t enough to bully opponents away from the rim. His offensive mistakes compound also to the point where Boeheim sits him just to find more ways to score underneath the paint.