Syracuse Basketball Preview: Distractions

The Syracuse Orange will have off-the-court distractions to deal with this season.

As if losing C.J. Fair, Tyler Ennis, Jerami Grant and Baye Keita wasn’t enough, Syracuse has some things surrounding the program which could cause distractions this season.

First and foremost is the NCAA inquiry which concluded with a hearing at the end of October. For the next month plus, Syracuse will be waiting for the NCAA’s ruling on what transpired. Syracuse will await any punishments and potentially appeal if they do not agree with those sanctions.

The Orange has dealt with an ongoing investigation for the past few years, so to some extent, it is nothing new. However, it is never a positive to have that cloud hanging over the program.

Even after the findings and punishments become public, the team will then have to deal with the debates about the fairness of the NCAA’s decision. That will hang over the program as the media debates the ruling and its impact.

There is no doubt that the players will be asked about the inquiry, the ruling and the punishments when they are revealed. How will they handle it? That is certainly a question entering the season.

Over the past few seasons, the Syracuse coaching staff has done a good job at shielding their players from these issues. It has limited the distractions and not had an effect on the court. This year, however, is different. It is not simply an ongoing investigation, but tangible outcomes as the inquiry concludes.

To top it off, there is the DaJuan Coleman issue. Coleman’s health is a huge question mark. Some don’t expect him to see the floor this season. Knee issues have hindered his growth and development as a player, and kept him off of the court over the past season plus.

That leaves Syracuse with a lack of depth at the center position. Not to mention the constant questions about his status. This should not be a big distraction, but is just one more thing the team is dealing with.

Syracuse basketball always has a lot of talent on the roster. This season is no exception. How quickly they can put it all together, and deal with the peripheral distractions, will go along way towards a successful campaign.

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