Friday, September 24, 2010

Syracuse Orangemen Basketball Preview Issue!! Part 2!

In part one of the preview we looked at who was returning for the Orangemen this season. Syracuse has two starters returning, Rick Jackson and Brandon Triche, and will surely get huge minutes from Kris Joseph this season. The question on everyone's mind is who are the new recruits, and what can they bring to the program? ESPN ranks Syracuse's 2010 class 5th in the nation, however Scout and Rivals have the class ranked 7th. Either way the rest of the Big East should be put on notice: Syracuse won't be going away quietly any time soon!

Let's start with the big ticket recruit. Fabricio de Melo. Or as cuse fans will come to know and love him, Fab Melo. What can you say about a McDonald's High School All-American who's name is Melo and coming to Syracuse? Karma. How can this not work out for us? For starters, the Brazilian import is 7' tall 270lbs and is ranked the 4th best center in the country for the 2010 class. He moved to southern Florida from Brazil in the fall of 2008 but due to transfer rules he was forced to sit out a year before he could take the court.

In his senior year at Sagemont Upper School in Weston, Florida Fab Melo averaged 15 points 11.3 boards and 3.3 blocks per game. Head Coach Jimmy B. says that he will be a contender for national rookie of the year and will be ready to step right onto the court. He's 30 pounds lighter than he was this time last year, and rumor has it he has a 20' jump shot. I think its safe to say expectations are for Fab Melo to join the starting rotation early this season. A note about that photo, that's our boy Fab Melo blocking Kyrie Irving who will be a freshman at Duke University. Facial LeFleur. Total Facial.

If we could all wipe the drool from our lower lip that may have accumulated during the Fab Melo portion of the preview, we can move right along to Dion Waiters. Waiters is 6'3" 214 pound shooting guard out of the Life Center Academy in Burlington, NJ. A native of Philadelphia, PA, Waiters says the one area of his game he needs to work on is moving without the ball. He says his big frame will help him be successful in the Big East and us fans can expect him to get regular minutes on this year's squad. Waiters has tremendous leaping ability, and I'm not using that term lightly. Yes, it appears Waiters might indeed jump out of the Dome this season. Scout credits him as an aggressive scorer with a great first step, and ranked him the 4th best shooting guard in the class. Waiters averaged 21.3 points per game with 3.7 assists per game in his senior season. As long as Waiters can stay out of trouble he will make a big impact for the Orangemen for years to come.

Another freshman coming to cuse this year is C.J. Fair. C.J. is another player who has a terrific frame for Syracuse's trusted 2-3 Zone. He stands 6'7" tall and weighs in at 200 pounds. Ranked 63rd overall by Fair tore his ACL in his junior season and missed the full year. Despite the injury Fair bounced back for a solid senior year averaging 20.3 points per game. He helped lead his team Brewster Academy to the 2010 National Prep School Championship. A natural lefty, he hails originally from Baltimore, MD and hopes to earn a spot in the rotation this season, although it is doubtful he will start. C.J. can finish around the rim, block shots, he has a good jump shot that can use some improvement and can throw down some serious dunks.

Last but certainly not least is Baye Moussa Keita out of Oak Hill Academy. Syracuse fans are extremely familiar with Oak Hill, having plucked numerous impact players out of the prep school. The 6'11" center is the #15 center in the class of 2010 according to scout and came to Oak Hill from his native Senegal. There's rumors on the internet that say it was Syracuse who pushed Keita to attend Oak Hill Academy, and he has to improve on his offensive abilities and add muscle to his nearly 7 foot tall frame in order to make an impact at Syracuse. Keita is very athletic, a good shot blocker and rebounder, and under the proper tutelage can become a player Syracuse can rely on inside in the coming seasons. I predict a limited role for Keita this year but after some work with assistant coach Bernie Fine he could log some big minutes in the future off the bench for the Orangemen.

There will be a part 3 of the preview sometime next week where The Cuse Connection will try to guess the starting five and give some predictions for the season.

photo via


Zach Menchini said...

If the basketball gods shine on Syracuse and Fab stays for two, the trio of Melo, Keita, and Rakeem Christmas is looking....huge.

Michael Isserlis said...

considering fab melo has just played 1 year of basketball in america going into his freshman year at Syracuse its hard to imagine him leaving after 1 season. then again, stranger things have happened. donte greene left after 1 season as well!

orangetiff said...

Has syracuse ever put together back-to-back top 10 recruiting classes?! It is exciting that Syracuse is able to work the recruiting trails as well as they have in recent years (Thank you Mike Hopkins!). Let the lottery pick streak continue!

orangetiff said...

2010 and 2011 are the back-to-back classes i speak of

Michael Isserlis said...

2011's class may be even better than the 2010, hard to tell at this point but both classes are exciting! Syracuse doesn't rebuild it reloads!