Is it ever too early for Syracuse Orange basketball season?
The answer is no.
Syracuse looks to rebound from an under-.500 season, the first in the Jim Boeheim era. The reinforcements for the Orange come in the form of five incoming freshmen. Boeheim said towards the end of last season that he expected two or three of the young guns to be in the starting lineup this season. And early indications say that statement is true, as Jon Rothstein reported on Monday.
Well embedded moles in Upstate NY have relayed that Syracuse is committed to playing Joe Girard at SG this year with 6-4 freshman Judah Mintz at PG. Two other freshmen --- Chris Bunch and Justin Taylor --- will be in mix to start.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) September 19, 2022
If you missed our starting lineup roundtable a couple of months ago, you’ll know that some of us (not me) predicted that Mintz would be the starting point guard instead of Symir Torrence, who has a year of experience in Orange. The name that none of us expected is Justin Taylor as he profiles very similar to Buddy Boeheim in not just his basketball skills, but also his physical attributes.
If Taylor does end up starting, the lineup configurations get interesting for a couple of reasons. Taylor doesn’t have the length you would typically expect from a wing on the 2-3 zone. Taylor is 6-foot-6, 205 pounds (ironically the exact same as Buddy Boeheim). Bunch is only 6-foot-7, so length at the bottom of the zone becomes a question. It asks a lot of Jesse Edwards to protect the paint, get rebounds and stay out of foul trouble.
The other reason this is an interesting development is the presence of Benny Williams in the locker room. We all pretty much expected Williams to be one of the starting forwards this season, and this recent development, if true, raises questions about what has happened to a once highly-touted prospect.
The good thing is that Syracuse seems to be adjusting its offense to play to Joe Girard’s strengths as a catch-and-shoot off-ball scorer. We all expected Girard to play at the two and have one of Mintz or Torrence play as the point guard, and it seems like Mintz is the front runner to win the job.
As usual, take these early reports with a grain of salt, as you never know what Jim Boeheim is cooking up in the Melo Center. But if Syracuse does trot out a starting lineup of Judah Mintz, Joe Girard, Justin Taylor, Chris Bunch and Jesse Edwards, how do you feel about Syracuse Orange men’s basketball?