2007-2008 Syracuse Orange Preview

by Andrew Force | November 12th, 2007

2006-2007 Record: 24-11 (10-6)

Postseason Games:

3/7/2007 vs. UConn Big East Tournament W 78-65
3/8/2007 vs. Notre Dame Big East Tournament L 83-89
3/14/2007 South Alabama NIT 1st Round W 79-73
3/19/2007 San Diego State NIT 2nd Round W 80-64
3/21/2007 @ Clemson NIT 3rd Round L 70-74

Returning Statistical Leaders:
14.8 ppg – Eric Devendorf
7.1 rpg - Paul Harris
4.1 apgEric Devendorf

Starting Lineup: Key Stat:
C Arinze Onuaku 6-9 So. 3/2/06, Last time he played 5 minutes
F Donte’ Greene 6-9 Fr. 4 – ACC scholarship offers
SF Paul Harris 6-5 So. 7.1 rpg, Top 10 of <6’5” NCAA returnees
SG Eric Devendorf 6-4 Jr. 38% of the teams returning MADE FT’s
PG Josh Wright 6-2 Sr. 2.51 turnovers per game last year

Key Player Losses: Of the departed trio, Demetris Nichols, Terrence Roberts, and Darryl Watkins, only Nichols proved to be a regular contributor by his senior campaign. Watkins’ lethargy and Nichols’ injuries will not be missed, even on the coldest winter nights.

Impact Newcomer: Donte Greene.

By all accounts Greene is a virtuoso scorer. A rare player who can excel both inside and outside as a freshman, this Greene is anything but a greenhorn.

Tough Question: Who is your point guard, Jim Boeheim?

Josh Wright appeared the heir apparent to Gerry McNamara two years ago. He could not run the halfcourt offense to the coaches’ liking. Devendorf handles the ball frequently in the play sets, but would rather operate off the ball to open the possession. Harris is too valuable as a rebounder to be bogged down with the minutia of play-making.

Last year’s solution of point guard by committee failed. Fifteen turnovers per game were tied for third worst in the massive Big East conference. Someone needs to assert themselves.

Ideally, Jonny Flynn learns on the fly. No one questions his ability to fly, but his early-season adaptations will determine his role in this his freshman campaign.

Too Much PT: No player needs their court time shortened as three minute-hogs moved on.

That said, look for Josh Wright to lose his starting job by December.

Get Him on the Floor: Arinze Onuaku.

Onauku sat out much of last season. His return from the season-ending injury a year ago could be gradual. Regardless, someone has to anchor the 2-3 zone. Onuaku is a proclaimed rebounding machine, whose value is primarily on the defensive end.

Point Guards’ Impact: The Orange need one before this position can be analyzed.

Keep an Eye on: An interesting development will be where Paul Harris plays in the formation. He is a quick yet hulking 6’5 player. His size earns him rebounds against taller opponents, but his hands are speedy too. Harris could succeed at the top of the 2-3 deflecting passes or he could excel yanking down boards.

Expectations: Jim Boeheim is revered for bringing in top notch talent. In the last couple years he either misjudged characters or did not care.

Honestly it does not matter which is more accurate. For the last four years, JB has lost a 4-star recruit he signed to a scholarship. Louis McCroskey, DayShawn Wright, Tiki Mayben, and Mike Jones would win a lot of games. All left or were kicked out.

Rookies, make good choices.

Final Word: The heart of this team is Eric Devendorf. No one works harder.

–Andrew Force


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  1. Cherie Putnam Says:

    “Louis McCroskey, DayShawn Wright, Tiki Mayben, and Mike Jones would win a lot of games. All left or were kicked out.”

    Point Guards’ Impact: The Orange need one before this position can be analyzed.

    A couple of corrections – Tiki Mayben never was an SU player. He went to prep school after high school then played for UMass and is playing D3 ball now.

    I think you’ll find out that Syracuse has a very special point guard freshman Jonny Flynn who is the starting point guard.

    You also missed two great freshman Philly recruits PF Rick Jackson and pg Scoop Jardine who will also contribute this year.

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