Syracuse Orange men’s basketball is one of many programs this offseason that are seeing players come and go from the roster. Many of these programs, including Syracuse, are waiting to see if seniors will use their extra year of eligibility to play another season. The Orange got one answer today as Bourama Sidibe told Mike Waters at Syracuse.com that he’ll return to SU for his fifth season.
After missing almost all of this past season, Syracuse center Bourama Sidibe says he will return for a 5th year with the Orange.https://t.co/EmwdNiNML4— Syracuse Basketball (@syrbasketball) April 5, 2021
From Waters’ article, it seems like Sidibe is looking to use his fifth year as an opportunity to show what he can do on the basketball court when fully healthy. Professional basketball aspirations are on his mind, and the big man didn’t get a chance to showcase his abilities after only playing 15 minutes in the 2020-21 season. Sidibe tore his meniscus in his left knee during the team’s season opener against Bryant, an injury that required surgery. He came back to play 11 minutes at Clemson on February 6 but sat the rest of the year.
“I just want to give myself a chance get healthier and play one more season,’’ Sidibe said to Waters. “I want to get in better shape so I can give myself a better look in basketball.’’
This isn’t the first time that Sidibe is looking to battle back from a knee issue. Tendinitis in his knees plagued the center throughout the 2018-19 season, his sophomore year, which also required surgery at the conclusion of the year. After a slow start to his junior year, Sidibe started to flash some game-changing potential more consistently, averaging just under 10 points per game and 11.7 rebounds per game over his final six contests of the 2019-20 season.
Sidibe looked to carry that momentum into the 2020-21 season, but the aforementioned meniscus injury meant that Syracuse was stuck without an experienced true center in the middle of the zone. Jim Boeheim was forced to play Marek Dolezaj at the five and the Slovakian did as best as he could against more physical opposition underneath the rim. However, teams did exploit the size disadvantage at the middle of the zone multiple times until Jesse Edwards started to get more minutes towards the latter part of the season.
The Mali native’s return to the middle of the zone should give Syracuse a defensive and rebounding boost, two areas that were not a strength of the latest Orange team. The experience that Sidibe brings also allows Boeheim to further develop Edwards into the star center that he thinks he can be. Sidibe’s return also means that the Orange get some much needed depth back in the middle of the zone.
Sidibe joins Joe Girard, Buddy Boeheim, and Edwards as the returning Syracuse players from the 2020-21 season. They’ll be joined by Syracuse native and Marquette transfer Symir Torrence and Villanova transfer Cole Swider. Highly touted five-star recruit Benny Williams also joins the Orange next season.