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Syracuse Basketball: Depth will be SU’s strongest asset

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Jim Boeheim will have fun mixing up these lineups.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Operation Basketball
Coach Jim Boeheim is about to have some fun this year.
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

In one way, this year’s Syracuse Orange squad might remind you of the 2014-2015 Kentucky basketball team. By no means is that a proclamation that the Orange will see the same success, but the two teams share a noticeable similarities. Both teams’ depth stands out as their supreme strength as both clubs could go ten-deep.

It would be a surprise, to say the least, if the Orange came anywhere close to the success the historic Kentucky team had, but if their depth can play up to their own standards, then the similarities might grow even more striking.

The depth of this team starts at the point guard position where the Orange have two viable starters in Frank Howard and John Gillon. Howard got the nod last Tuesday, but as the fans saw, Jim Boeheim has no problem pulling the young guard for the veteran transfer. Both guards bring a different kind of play that emphasizes easy baskets on offense.

Howard brings an athletic body that can get in the lane with ease, but can also rack up a high volume of turnovers. Gillon, one of the new veterans to the team, has a deadly three-point shot. But as we saw Tuesday night, Gillon prides himself more on his ability to get his teammates involved, rather than his own point total. Having two point guards whom you can trust will only make life easier for Boeheim.

One of Syracuse’s strongest areas on the depth chart is at the wing positions. Boeheim decided to go with Andrew White III and Tyler Lydon on Tuesday night, but similar to his point guards, he had no problem mixing things up by bringing in Tyus Battle and Matthew Moyer. The transition from experience to inexperience only brought more energy and excitement to a team bursting with adrenaline.

The Orange have four options for their “bigs” in DaJuan Coleman, Tyler Roberson, Paschal Chukwu, and Taurean Thompson. All four big men bring something different to the table—an attribute Boeheim knows how to utilize. Coleman has a body that’s unstoppable when he gains position in the paint; Roberson’s defensive mindset is vital to the Orange executing their zone; Chukwu is new to the system, but if you just see him in the lane, the opponent will have no desire to enter his zone; Thompson brings youth and energy to compliment the team’s play.

The depth of this team is so great that no matter who’s on the floor, Boeheim will have options. He has the flexibility to go big, small, fast, or athletic—there’s endless possibilities. The only thing stopping this depth from prospering is egos, but so far, they look as focused and hungry as possible.

The chance is now for the Orange to create a legacy, and modeling itself after the 2014-2015 Kentucky team isn’t a bad start.