#58 Syracuse Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Syracuse Orange

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #58
Conference Rank: #9 ACC

Syracuse Team Page#58 Syracuse Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Syracuse Basketball Tickets

All the off-court distractions resulted in Syracuse losing three scholarships for the next four years, starting next season. Coach Jim Boeheim also stated that he would retire after three more years leading the Orange. Coach Boeheim will also not be on the sidelines for the first nine ACC games this year. For now though, the bigger concerns are on the court where the Orange limped to a 9-9 record in conference play last season. Consistency from senior guard Trevor Cooney would go a long way in getting Syracuse to the NCAA Tournament. Cooney averaged 13.4 points per game, but was quite inconsistent shooting the ball. Cooney wants to take three-pointers and is not shy about hoisting them up, but he needs to shoot better than 30.9 percent.

2014-15 Record: 18-13, 9-9
2014-15 Postseason: none
Coach: Jim Boeheim
Coach Record: 966-332 at Syracuse, 966-332 overall

Who’s Out:
Rakeem Christmas really stepped up his game during his senior season. He was once just considered a defensive stalwart, but last season he averaged 17.5 points and 9.1 rebounds on top of his 2.5 blocks. Christmas turned into a monster in the paint on both ends of the floor. Chris McCullough was a major presence in the paint too, at least during the 16 games in which he played before tearing an ACL and bolting for the NBA. On the year, McCullough averaged 9.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. The frontcourt also lost B.J. Johnson. He was not a post presence, but Johnson was a 6-7 forward who could knock down shots. Like Johnson, Ron Patterson is transferring after his sophomore season. Patterson could have emerged as a decent backup point guard, but his shot has not been falling.

Who’s In:
Adrian Autry, Shaun Belbey, Evan Dourdas, Ky Feldman and Jonathan Radner are all freshmen, but do not figure to play much of a role this season. The pressure will mostly fall on Tyler Lydon, a combo forward from Elizaville, New York. The frontcourt needs bodies and with top recruit Moustapha Diagne not coming to Syracuse, it will all fall on Lydon. Lydon is not a bruiser though, despite his 6-8 frame. He is more of a long, athletic wing who can knock down shots as opposed to the bruiser this team needs. But as long as he can help out on the glass, Lydon will see major minutes in the frontcourt. The big names on the perimeter are Malachi Richardson and Franklin Howard. It will be interesting to see how much of an impact Richardson has on this team. He has the potential to start and give Cooney a more potent mate on the wing. At 6-6, his size will be tough for Coach Boeheim to leave on the bench. Howard is a 6-4 combo guard who can add more options on the perimeter, especially if he plays tough defense.

Who to Watch:
If Richardson earns a spot in the starting lineup, it will likely come at the expense of Kaleb Joseph. Joseph did dish out 3.8 assists per game, but his offense was pretty much non-existent. He shot just 20.0 percent from beyond the arc and 37.6 percent from the floor. His defense was not always up to par either. Michael Gbinije will start either way, but do not be surprised if he spends more time running the offense. Last year the 6-7 wing averaged 12.7 points, 3.6 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.9 steals. Unlike Joseph, Gbinije is a major shooting threat from anywhere on the floor. He knocked down 39.2 percent of his 125 three-point attempts as a junior. With the newcomers joining Joseph, Gbinije and Cooney on the perimeter, Coach Boeheim has options.

Final Projection:
The bigger concern is in the frontcourt where Syracuse needs DaJuan Coleman to stay healthy. The 6-9 senior missed all of last season with a knee injury and he has never made it through an entire season. His most productive season with the Orange was back in 2012-2013, when he averaged 4.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in 24 contests. Tyler Roberson played well as a sophomore, averaging 8.3 points and 7.3 rebounds. He stepped in when McCullough went out with an injury and looked like a great ACC power forward with a ton of potential. However, the five spot is the potential problem if Coleman cannot stay healthy. Chinonso Obokoh, who played a grand total of 89 minutes during his sophomore season, will have to step in if Coleman isn’t ready. Coleman has worked hard to continuously return from injuries and this could be the year it all pays off. If it is, this is a team that will compete for an NCAA Tournament berth. If not, it could be another 9-9 type of season for Syracuse.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Kaleb Joseph, Sophomore, Guard, 5.9 points per game
Trevor Cooney, Senior, Guard, 13.4 points per game
Michael Gbinije, Senior, Forward, 12.7 points per game
Tyler Roberson, Junior, Forward, 8.3 points per game
DaJuan Coleman, Senior, Center, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.6 (166th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.4 (88, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.0 (198, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.5 (70, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.0 (296, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.0 (322, 13)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.0 (279, 12)
Rebound Margin: 1.5 (125, 10)
Assists Per Game: 15.1 (30, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.9 (111, 10)

Madness 2016 NBA Draft Rankings:
#57 Michael Gbinije

Madness 2015 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#69 Moustapha Diagne
#71 Tyler Lydon
#83 Franklin Howard


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