Syracuse freshmen: early look

Three top-100 signees and two additional recruits enabled the Orange to score the country's No. 11 class last year, despite the absence of a top-20 prospect.

During the preseason some pundits claimed that Tyler Ennis might compete for top ACC freshman honors, even ahead of Duke's Jabari Parker. But while that has yet to manifest — the assertion was silly even at the time — Ennis certainly has taken hold of the point guard reigns.

Jim Boeheim said earlier this fall that he'd play Ennis as much as Ennis physically would be able to play, and 28 minutes per game certainly is a heap for a freshman floor general.

The Toronto native has enjoyed some fine moments and compiled an A-TO ratio of greater than 2.0 to open the season, always a positive indicator for the future. That said, he has struggled with his shooting, hitting only 29 percent from the field. Ennis built his reputation primarily on the back of his three-point marksmanship, but like many freshmen he's struggling to hit the mark early.

Still, he's clearly the club's point guard of the future and will be able to develop without having to look over his shoulder.

Meanwhile, Tyler Roberson also enjoyed a solid reputation in the prep ranks. Ranked No. 55 among seniors in the Class of 2013, Roberson is playing in a deep frontcourt yet still has garnered double-digit minutes per contest. He'll play much more beginning next season, and wing B.J. Johnson should receive greater opportunities in 2014-15 as well.

Roberson and Johnson stepped into circumstances very different from those that awaited Ennis, and quiet freshman seasons should be expected. Ron Patterson, a fifth-year prep last year, has yet to carve out a niche for himself, either.

The other 2013 signee, three star center Chinonso Obokoh, is redshirting.

A glance at team stats after this season might suggest this class is overrated, but as Ennis develops and the other guys are able to crack the rotation next year, the long-term payoff should be substantial. No one expects players outside the top 50 to dominate in the ACC, but this foennundational group will welcome stud big man Chris McCullough to the lineup next year and provide a framework for future recruiting efforts.

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