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Proximity to home and a key relationship encouraged Chance Westry to transfer to Syracuse

After sitting out the majority of his freshman year with a knee injury, Auburn transfer Chance Westry looks to establish himself at Syracuse.

NCAA Basketball: Auburn at Memphis Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Just weeks into Adrian Autry’s tenure as the face of the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball program, Chance Westry became the second transfer to offer his commitment to the first time head coach. Westry, a 6-foot-6 guard, entered the transfer portal from Auburn and sought to play closer to home. He chose Syracuse over Creighton, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Penn State.

After injuring his knee during his freshman year, Westry played in 11 games but sat out the 2022-23 season. He had arthroscopic surgery last fall and returned to the court, but eventually decided to sit out and obtain a medical redshirt. He’s still in the process of applying for that medical redshirt, but he’ll have four years of college eligibility remaining.

For Westry, Syracuse was closer in proximity to home. It’s a short trip from campus to his hometown of Harrisburg, PA. And the key was the relationship he built early on with the coaching staff during his time at Trinity High School in Camp Hill, PA. Westry said the relationship with Syracuse Associate Head Coach Gerry McNamara dating back to his freshman year of high school helped in choosing the Orange.

“[McNamara] recruited me out of high school. Syracuse was my first scholarship,” Westry divulged. “So just believing in that.”

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: JUN 08 Pangos All-American Camp Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Autry estimated at Media Day last Friday that Westry was back to practice at full speed for about two weeks. Westry, who’s mentality is to be “better than yesterday” says he’s healthy.

“The rehab process came along well. I’m actually cleared so I’ve been practicing, getting up and down,” Westry said. “I feel good.”

Westry admits he’s working on getting back into rhythm, getting his decision-making and timing down. It takes repetition to retain feel for the game. If there’s rust to shake off, he didn’t show many signs in the intrasquad scrimmage in Orange Tip-Off. He was able to get by defenders and he’s particularly skilled at making plays for others.

A silky-smooth guard, Westry is used to having the ball in his hands. He excels in ball-screens but can get by defenders with either speed or tact. He’s good in the lane, too. Judah Mintz and JJ Starling are the presumed starting guards, but Westry says he’s comfortable playing wherever Syracuse needs him.

“I mean our team’s more positionless. We’re all good guards. ... Whatever role they want me to play,” Westry says.

Before playing at Arizona Compass Prep and enrolling at Auburn last fall, Westry spent one year of high school at Sierra Canyon in California playing with USC freshman Bronny James. James, the son of Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, intends to play this year following surgery after going into cardiac arrest during a team workout in July.

“Hearing that about him sucks because of how much he loves the game,” Westry said. “I just hope Bronny recovers right. He’s actually going to be playing this season I saw. I’m excited to see my boy out there. Great teammate. Great person.”