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Syracuse men’s basketball preseason player profiles: Cole Swider

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In his first year playing for the Orange, Swider looks to make an immediate impact.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-North Texas at Villanova IndyStar-USA TODAY Sports

Today we continue along with our preseason player profiles for men’s basketball. See previous profiles be checking the men’s basketball section here.

The Syracuse Orange men's basketball season is weeks away from its official start. There are some new faces joining the team this year from the transfer portal worth highlighting to Orange faithful that can make an impact for the team this upcoming season.

Cole Swider, a senior forward, is one of those fresh faces who Syracuse hopes will make an immediate impact. Swider spent three years at Villanova before transferring to Syracuse this year.

Standing at 6-foot-9 tall with a 225-pound frame, Swider averaged 5.2 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 0.7 assists all while shooting 35.7% from three and 42.4% from the field in 16.2 minutes per game while suiting up for the Wildcats in three seasons.

It's worth noting that while Swider’s shooting efficiency and volume doesn't scream impact player on a stat sheet, he improved his shooting efficiency beyond and within the arch each year playing at Villanova.

Swider joins Syracuse this season looking to edge out playing time in a five-forward rotation with Qunicy Guerrier, SU’s starting forward last year, transferring to Oregon after failing to get drafted by a team in the 2021 NBA draft.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Villanova at Baylor Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Forward

Class: Senior

Vitals: 6’9, 225 pounds

2020-21 Stats: 5.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game while shooting 40.2% from three, 75% from the line, and 42.6% from the field last season in 25 games.

Quote (via the D.O.): “He’s a really focused kid,” Jim Hart said. “(Jim) Boeheim just got a kid who’s going to be there an hour before and stay an hour after. That’s how he is.”

Strengths/Weaknesses: Swider’s biggest strength that could lead to a prominent role with Syracuse this season is his shooting. His ability to shoot the spot-up or catch and shoot three along with the ability to create shots off the dribble are all valuable assets that could translate to high usage. Swider also demonstrates a strong presence around the rim finishing many contested lay-ups and dunks. This diverse repertoire of scoring ability makes him an appealing option to get minutes this season.

Swider’s weaknesses start with his shooting inefficiency and inability to show proper defensive timing, and anticipation. Swider has a legit shot at being the starting forward for the Orange men going into this season because of his strong shooting abilities, but his weaknesses on defense may make him the third forward in the rotation.

Ceiling: Swider has had experience playing for a prominent division one program before transferring to Syracuse, meaning playing on a big stage, like the Carrier Dome, isn’t going to be much of an issue for him. If he can make the proper defensive adjustments to his game could very easily be the starting forward for Syracuse. His 40.2% 3-point percentage last season would have made him Syracuse's most efficient scorer behind the arc last year. He has all the intangibles to be great in the offense.

Floor: Swider’s floor for this season truly depends on the adjustments to his game on defense. If he can't improve and demonstrate presence on the defensive side of the ball, Swider will most likely come off the bench at the forward position for Syracuse unless Boeheim and his coaching staff see defensive ability in his game.