As the Syracuse Orange look toward the future for their upcoming inaugural season in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), they do so with an incoming class of five freshman.
When asked if a bigger class than in past years will change the dynamic for him as a head coach, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim responded by saying, "Not really. We have our veterans. Obviously some of the freshman are gonna play. But it's not that unusual."
"If you had to play all five freshman, we'd be in trouble," Boeheim remarked. "But we're gonna play some freshman. I think the key will be the veteran guys."
Along with freshmen Tyler Ennis, Tyler Roberson, Chinonso Obokoh, Ron Patterson, and B.J. Johnson, the Orange return six players who were on the floor last season and forward Michael Gbinije, who will have his first opportunity to play after transferring from the Duke Blue Devils before the 2012-13 campaign.
With Michael Carter-Williams electing to put his name into the NBA Draft, the point guard position has been vacated for the Orange, giving Ennis even more of an opportunity to take charge of the squad. "I'm not worried about Tyler Ennis," Boeheim stated. "He's a smart player. We've started freshman before: Brandon Triche, Jason Hart, Pearl Washington. Inexperienced sophomores like Sherman Douglas and Michael Carter-Williams, so we've had a number of experiences with starting freshman guards."
"Tyler Ennis is a good player," Boeheim continued. "He'll figure it out. We'll get him in there and I think he'll have a good year."
With Roberson coming in and Fair staying, the young forward will have a veteran to work with. "It's a good learning experience," said Boeheim. "He's (C.J. Fair) one of the best forwards in the country and Jerami Grant's good. Tyler's gonna be in that mix and he's good. The competition will be great in practice and that makes for a better player."
Forward Baye Keita is also returning. When asked how incoming freshman Obokoh compares to Keita, Boeheim remarked, "He actually is a good defender, but he shoots the ball. He's probably one of the best jump-shooters we recruited here as a 6'8"-6'9" guy. He can shoot the basketball and that's a great skill to have."
Looking at Patterson and Johnson, as well as the team as a whole, with freshman and veterans vying for playing time, Boeheim stated, "You don't know what's gonna happen until you get to the season, you really don't. We're gonna see how everybody works, how they play. You get through September, October, maybe the first part of November, we'll see who's ready to help us."