In the last decade and a half, Coach Jim Boeheim and his staff have dipped into the offseason transfer with more frequency. And most of the time, those additions have eventually proven to be important contributors to future Syracuse Orange men’s basketball squads.
Recent transfers like Wesley Johnson, Michael Gbinije, Elijah Hughes, Andrew White III and John Gillon all went on to become successful players for the Orange. The only real bust that stands out is Geno Thorpe, who transferred from USF for the 2017-18 season but averaged 14.3 minutes and six points off the bench in six games before leaving the team.
SU has also been effective at turning players who didn’t put up big numbers or play heavy minutes at their previous schools, such as Gbinije (Duke), Hughes (East Carolina) and Paschal Chukwu (Providence), into key players.
The recent commitment of Illinois transfer wing Alan Griffin to Syracuse looks to be a smart pickup for the Orange. Hughes’s likely departure for the NBA Draft and SU’s thin backcourt should present ample opportunity for Griffin to carve out a role for himself at shooting guard, small forward, or potentially both. And in some areas, Griffin, who’s 6-foot-5, might eventually be able to surpass the versatile Hughes.
Last season, Griffin averaged 8.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 0.5 steals, all in just 18.1 minutes per game off the bench. He shot 48.3% from the field, 41.6% from 3-point range, and 86.1% from the free throw line. Griffin possesses deep range on his jumper but also the athleticism to drive to the hoop and rebound at an impressive rate.
Due to the loss of three scholarship guards to transfer this offseason, Griffin can provide the Orange with much-needed depth in the backcourt. And given the unknown of incoming freshman Kadary Richmond’s readiness for the college game, Griffin is more of a proven option.
With Joe Girard III and Buddy Boeheim the only other proven 3-point shooters projected on the roster for the next two seasons, Griffin will present the Orange with a third reliable option from the perimeter. He should also improve SU’s rebounding from the guard spot, an area which Boeheim was critical of.
Griffin is applying for a waiver to play in 2020-21 and it would seem likely that goes through given the incredible amount of player movement this offseason. Whether he plays this coming season or not, if given a larger role in the future, his efficiency last year at Illinois and SU’s recent success at developing transfers suggest that Griffin has a good shot at becoming a valuable piece for the Orange.