We don’t get deep into Syracuse Orange recruiting here until there are commitments or signings but a recent development caught my interest. Last week I noticed that Syracuse was getting heavily involved in the recruitment of guard Judah Mintz of Oak Hill Academy (h/t to Neal at InsidetheLoudhouse for their recruiting updates)
If Syracuse is getting involved with another player for 2022 something is brewing. I'm not speculating a transfer per se but the coaching staff must think there is going to be room/need. The fact that it's a guard says at least one thing to me-Buddy won't be back for the extra yr https://t.co/UpEnlG0YBG— Kevin Wall (@kwallcuse) February 2, 2022
Since Twitter isn’t always the best place for nuanced discussion, let me expand a bit more on my thinking. Jim Boeheim has said he likes to have at most 8-9 players in his rotation otherwise players are unhappy with their minutes. Unhappiness can lead to transfers like we saw after last season and impacts the future plans of the staff. So why are the Orange still recruiting when this is the projected 2022 roster:
Guards; Girard, Torrence, Taylor*, Copeland*
Forward: Williams, Bol Ajak, Owens, Bunch*, Brown*, Carey*
Center: Edwards, Anselem
*= 2022 signee
This doesn’t include a potential return for Buddy, Jimmy or Cole Swider, all of whom have eligibility remaining. Adding another guard would rule out any likelihood of Buddy signing up to run it back, but does it tell us anything else? Sure you can imply that Bol Ajak and Owens might seek a new opportunity elsewhere but that’s two non-factors in the rotation and even the likely Carey redshirt leaves nine players not including Mintz.
When I posted last week I heard people suggest that Girard would transfer and honestly that did give me a chuckle. With two more years of eligibility and a lot of shots heading his way there is an outside chance that Joe could finish as Syracuse’s all-time leading scorer. He’ll be about 1200 points behind Lawrence Moten and with 60 games plus post-season he’s going to be in range of that mark (which will be quite the story should it happen). That doesn’t leave us any closer to solving this puzzle so why the sudden desire to add another guard?
I don’t want to get into speculation about Benny Williams who has been clear he’s returning in multiple interviews during the year. Besides he’s a forward so replacing him with a guard would be curious when the Orange could dip into the transfer portal if he did depart. If you’re thinking Symir Torrence would leave home just to sit out a year, that doesn’t make sense. So there’s a reason the coaching staff wants to land Mintz, who will be visiting campus during this little game against the Duke Blue Devils, but we’re going to have to wait so be sure to stay tuned and don’t say no one warned you that something was afoot in the Melo Center.