That he did.
Playing in no less than 27 minutes per game in the six games where the Orange were without Southerland, Jerami Grant provided "energy", the one word he used to describe what he wanted to be for the team when asked at the beginning of the season. "It just meant a lot," said Grant. "Just to come out, knowing that I've been working hard to get minutes. As of lately, I [have] been getting a lot of minutes." In the two games before Southerland's return, Grant participated in the full 40 minutes for each match.
He scored in double-figures in four of the six games where the Orange competed without Southerland.
Grant also looked for his teammates, recording an assist in all but two of the six contests.
In each of those six matches, he grabbed at least five rebounds.
Within Syracuse's time sans their senior forward, Grant has worked to land himself a starting role. "Definitely gives me a little bit more confidence coming onto the court, knowing that I'm starting, knowing I'm gonna play a significant good amount of minutes, so it just feels great," Grant shared.
"I feel like me as well as everybody else, team chemistry has been going through the room, lately," Grant continued. "Showed in the Notre Dame game, showed in this game [versus] St. John's. And I feel like we're coming together as a team well."
Syracuse went 4-2 in a month without Southerland on the court.
As far as whether or not the team chemistry will change with Southerland back in the mix, Grant remarked, "Not at all, it doesn't change. It actually only gets better. We practice with him every day, so it's basically the same thing as practice now. So, everybody's used to playing with him and it is actually better."
The Orange won their first contest with Grant and Southerland both on the floor, a 77-58 victory over the St. John's Red Storm.
"It was a good feeling, knowing that he's back," Grant expressed. "He's a significant part of our team, so when he got on the court, everybody knew what to expect."
Concerning a drop in pressure on himself and the team as a whole with Southerland back, Grant said, "Yes, he took a lot of pressure off of our scoring on offense and things like that, so knowing that we have somebody that can shoot threes as well as he does will definitely help."
Grant will join Southerland and the rest of the Orange in a road match in Connecticut versus the UConn Huskies on Wednesday, February 13th, at 7pm ET. He will remain a starter for the foreseeable future, according to Boeheim.