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Syracuse basketball: Early impressions from Orange Tipoff event

“The only thing we learn from Orange Tipoff is that we learn nothing from Orange Tipoff at all.” - Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, probably

Georgetown v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Syracuse, N.Y. — Following its annual local media event, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team gave fans the first look at the 2022-23 team from inside the JMA Dome. Last week, the team put on a similar event in Rochester as part of Monroe Madness.

Earlier in the day, Jim Boeheim spoke to reporters from the Carmelo K. Anthony Center with the usual witty remarks that many have grown accustomed to over the years. Following that event, both the men’s and women’s basketball teams filed into the dome around 6 p.m. for the 7 p.m. event tip. Teams and players were introduced in front of a sparse crowd spread out only among the lower level of the dome.

Both head coaches of the women’s and men’s teams were interviewed. Felisha Legette-Jack first stating, “I promise you one thing. We’re going to give you everything we have.”

Boeheim first thanked the fans for coming out and encouraged them to come back for the Syracuse football game against N.C. State, saying, “Let’s get the sixth win tomorrow.”

Both teams competed in a three-point contest and a dunk competition. Chris Bunch edged out Justin Taylor in the three-point contest, making 12 out of 15 threes, including a perfect second rack. Taylor made 11. Joe Girard made ten and Symir Torrence made four.

Benny Williams, noticeably more muscular than a season ago, displayed his bounce and won the dunk contest.

The women’s team scrimmaged first. For the Blue Team, Asia Strong had success with... ~strong~ inside play. On the Orange squad, Olivia Owens stood out and so did Dyaisha Fair, shifty in transition and a certain flair in the form of no look dimes.

As for the men’s scrimmage, Chris Bunch shined with 12 points on a pair of threes and two transition dunks, one a tomahawk slam in transition (reminiscent of Dion Waters) and another finish coming off a lob from Mintz.

Least surprising, Joe Girard did what Joe Girard does and he knocked down three threes. He’s good at that, as his 40.3% shooting percentage last year (from beyond the arc) would suggest.

Maliq Brown had a nice moment when he gathered a feed from Mounir Hima and finished with a dunk, plus a foul.

Edwards and Copeland had four points. Symir Torrence, Justin Taylor and Benny Williams each had two


It’d be foolish to make any declarative statements from a glorified scrimmage, but that’s never really stopped us before.

  • Syracuse has depth and options at each position, a good problem that Jim Boeheim hasn’t had of late. What Syracuse lacks in experience from the freshmen it will attempt to make up for with depth and talent
  • Speaking of young talent, Judah Mintz is the real deal. His athleticism and explosiveness off the dribble were most apparent. He’s got a quick first step. He also knocked down a pair of threes in the scrimmage
  • Justin Taylor is a big dude. He’s all of 6-foot-6 and has a big upper body frame. No reason to think he can’t play the forward position when he’s not giving Girard a quick breather from the two
  • It’s going to be hard to keep Quadir Copeland on the bench. He continues to surprise with his athleticism and passing. Earlier at media day, Peter Carey said he has to be consistently alert to Copeland, who finds creative ways to pass him the ball. That was on display in the scrimmage and Copeland found interesting angles the feed the ball inside. He scored four points and at one point tried to throw the ball off the backboard to himself. To no avail, but points from media row for being crafty. Earlier at media day Jim Boeheim said Copeland can play the one through three positions
  • Syracuse is athletic on the wings. Bunch, Brown and Williams all fit the part of traditional Syracuse forwards
  • Who backs up Jesse Edwards at center? TBD
  • Mintz looks the part of a starting point guard, but Torrence had some nice moments — including a tough lefty lay through traffic — and picked Mintz’s pocket on one occasion

We’ll learn more on October 25 when Syracuse hosts Indiana of Pennsylvania as part of the first exhibition.