The NBA Draft is tomorrow and Syracuse Orange fans won’t be glued to their television with hopes of hearing any former Orange have their names called by Adam Silver. Will Cole Swider or Buddy Boeheim sneak into the late second round? While it’s unlikely they do, both players are generating interest and should find themselves with opportunities to earn a two-way contract at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
The Orange haven’t produced a first-round pick since Tyler Lydon in 2017 and Elijah Hughes in 2020 is the last second-round pick. We’re looking at a five-year drought for a Syracuse first-round selection which will be the longest since Jim Boeheim took over as head coach. It coincides with the period of NCAA recruiting sanctions and the departure of Mike Hopkins but it highlights Syracuse’s inability to land (or hold onto) NBA talent.
It’s hard to tell if next year’s Orange squad has anyone ready to end the drought. Will Benny Williams take a big step forward and show a better offensive game to go with his athleticism? Could Judah Mintz show enough potential as a combo guard to put his name on draft boards? Outside of those two it’s hard to see another Syracuse player ready to emerge as a first-round pick. The way the NBA is trending away from traditional big men at the center doesn’t mean Jesse Edwards can’t make a roster but unless he shows he can knock down 3s this year he’ll probably have to take a different path.
A different path is what Cole Swider has done. After three seasons at Villanova he made the move to Syracuse and found himself getting the opportunity to show his talents in a featured role. Swider has had workouts with twelve teams and his ability to make shots and rebound has opened some eyes.
The 22-23 Orange will have the same opportunity to seize playing time and impress scouts and hopefully keep this drought from going longer.