Originally posted on College Chalktalk  |  Last updated 10/23/12
The Syracuse Orange had a fantastic 2011-12 season which fell one game shy of the Final Four. With Fab Melo, Syracuse likely would have made it to the Final Four and eventually challenged Kentucky for the title. Credit: Syracuse University Athletic Communications Now, it’s time to turn the page for Jim Boeheim as Syracuse hits the hardwood without mainstays Kris Joseph, Scoop Jardine, and Dion Waiters. Add Melo to that mix and Syracuse will have to restructure its chemistry, going forward in 2012-13. “We’ve never had a team, that I can remember, lose this many guys who were such important parts of what we did and if we had a team that had lost even close to what this team did, we certainly weren’t picked in the top 20 the next year,” said Boeheim. Syracuse was picked second in the the Big East behind Louisville at the Big East Media Day last week and also will start the season at No. 9 in the USA Today coaches poll. “It’s really a credit to the returning players that we have that people think pretty highly of them — that you could lose your four best players and still be picked someplace in the top 20, 15, 10, depending on who you’re looking at,” noted Boeheim, “That’s a little surprising.  But we don’t know.  I won’t know until we get out there and see how they react.” Brandon Triche, C.J. Fair, and Rakeem Christmas will join James Southerland, Baye Moussa-Keita, and Michael Carter-Williams to form a veteran nucleus with which Boeheim can use as he adds a pair of ESPN-100 players in DaJuan Coleman and Jerami Grant. The returnees averaged in double figures a year ago as Triche started all 37 games. Grant, the son of former NBA-er Harvey Grant, has lots of length and will join Coleman to help shore up things in the paint.  Boeheim likes what he has see out of both freshmen so far. “Jerami has really opened some of his teammates’ eyes this fall with his play,” Boeheim commented, “He’s a very good player. I think he was underrated in high school. He is ahead of whatever that rating was by whoever made that rating. I think he’s going to be a very good player. He’s shown a lot already.” Coleman, a 6-9, 275-lb. center, will be a nice complement to Grant with his physicality.  Both players know the post game well and should be able to contribute right away. “DaJuan Coleman has a tremendous history at winning state championships and being the guy at a tremendous program, who’s been extremely well coached,” explained Boeheim, “I think he is more than ready to contribute as a freshman.” For the Orange-Nation, this is the final hurrah in a Big East Conference that has been a cornerstone to the Orange since the inception at the beginning of the 1979-80 season.  Next year, Syracuse joins Pitt in a move to the ACC that supposedly means more stability for both. “That’s in the background,” noted Boeheim of the Big East heritage of the ‘Cuse, “For a while we thought last year could maybe be the last year. So we got through it. You just have to focus on each game and each team and get prepared. You really don’t think about the next year anyway so that’s really no different.”     Related Posts:7 Big East newcomers who will make a differenceLegendary Boeheim ties RuppJones, WVU ready to face Pope and The HallCronin makes valid point in Big East assessmentArena Backgrounds
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