Thursday, September 30, 2010

Syracuse Orangemen Basketball Preview Issue!! Part 3!

In Part 1 and Part 2 we took a look at the roster for this years Syracuse basketball team. For part 3 we will try and jump into Jim Boeheim's head and predict the starting 5 on the floor when the season resumes November 12th against Northern Iowa in the Dome. There will be two exhibition games leading up to the season opener which will give the freshman an opportunity to impress the coaching staff and earn a spot in the rotation.

I asked a fellow alum from the University to pen an article about his thoughts on the starting five to give us more than one opinion on the subject. Without further adieu, Zach Menchini's starting five:

We know who's on the team, we know who's making the decisions, and we know it doesn't really matter who's actually on the floor for the opening tip, but it's fun to speculate. And that's what we're here for: to make wild (or boring, in this case) guesses.

So, on November 12 against Northern Iowa, who starts? There are a four slam-dunks (basketball metaphor in a basketball column: 2 points!): Scoop Jardine, Brandon Triche, Kris Joseph and Rick Jackson will be in there. After that, Jim Boeheim has some options. He can go big, with Fab Melo, pushing Jackson to the wing, or small, with a veteran or Dion Waiters.

If Melo gets the call, that's a huge lineup (6'9", 240 and 7'0", 270). The only Big East teams that can compete with that kind of size up front are Villanova with Mouphtaou Yarou (6'10", 250) and Maurice Sutton (6'11", 220) or USF with Jarrid Famous (6'11", 240) and Augustis Gilchrist (6'10", 245).

This has been cast as the most likely option among those in the know, but I just don't see Jimmy B going with a rook in the paint on day one. Maybe after the first week, if he's dominant off the bench, he'll get the call. This scouting video[] shows him stroking a few 18 footers, but also highlights his footwork and ball handling problems. I'm skeptical about the big Brazilian's immediate impact, but he'll get every chance to prove himself.

With Jackson in the key, JB could start Mookie (experience), Southerland (wingspan!), or Dion Waiters (T.U.P.) on the wing. Again, I doubt the lovable old codger goes with a freshman to kick things off, so as much as I'd like to see Waiters/Melo, I think it will be Mookie Jones for a few weeks, until one of the kids makes the decision for Coach Boeheim. Southerland should be a nice weapon, but Mookie got plenty of minutes over him last year and I see no reason that changes.

The X-factor is Mookie's attitude. Last year he showed signs of frustration and downright immaturity [] with his playing time, so if Mookie doesn't get his minutes, he'll blow this joint faster than a Jonny Flynn breakaway. If that's the case, enjoy Iona, Mookie.

While the 2010-11 team isn't as strong 1 through 7 as last year's, it will be stronger toward the end of the bench. It's nice to say you've improved part of a 15-3 team. Oh, and have you seen the 2011 class? [] The future is a bright shade of orange.

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