Syracuse basketball position preview: center

As part of our 2015-16 Syracuse basketball preview, we take an in-depth look at the center position.

Depth Chart

Projected Starter: DaJuan Coleman
Key Reserves: Chinonso Obokoh, Tyler Lydon 

2014-15 Statistics

Coleman: DNP
Obokoh: 6.8 min, 0.8 pts, 0.2 ast, 1.6 reb, 0.2 stl, 0.3 blk, 66.7 FG%, 0.0 3PT%, 50.0 FT%
Lydon: N/A

What We Know

The center position may be the one on the roster with the least amount of depth and that has the most question marks surrounding it for Syracuse basketball. What we know is that Coleman has potential as a former five-star prospect. Chino has not yet proven to be a reliable quantity, often looking lost on both ends of the floor and getting into foul trouble quickly. 

With the lack of depth, Syracuse has to have everything go right for the Orange to be in a good spot here. Coleman is a bruising, bigger center though he only stands at 6-foot-9. He is not a true shot blocking presence as players like Rakeem Christmas and Baye Keita have been in the past. Obokoh is more of a shot blocker, but has to prove his defensive basketball IQ has improved. 

Freshman Tyler Lydon has been working at center in practice so that they have an emergency option should Coleman have injury issues or if there is foul trouble during a specific game. Lydon's ability to play inside also gives Syracuse the option of going small, with Tyler Roberson at the power forward and Malachi Richardson at small forward. 

Biggest Questions

The biggest question is the health of Coleman's knees. They have caused him to miss nearly two full seasons and part of a third. It is why many view his career with the hometown Orange to be disappointing thus far. But Coleman has a chance to reverse all of those sentiments. 

If his knees can stay healthy, he has the chance to play over 30 minutes per game, assuming he can stay out of foul trouble. That is something that has plagued him in the past as well. The health of his knees gives Syracuse a deep and talented lineup. Much of the entire season rests on his ability to stay healthy. 

If Coleman cannot stay healthy and has to miss multiple games, or worse case, most of the season, it puts a lot of pressure on Obokoh. It completely changes the depth at center and the ability for the Orange to have a presence on the offensive end at the position.

Syracuse needs Coleman to stay healthy. Having to rely on Obokoh to play 25-30 minutes, with Lydon backing him up, will be a significant detriment to their success this season.

Season Outlook

Assuming Coleman can stay healthy, there is potential to get some production from this group. Even with the collective efforts of the three players here, they will not replicate the production and impact of Christmas from last season. But they can still contribute to the success of this season. A healthy Coleman as the starter with an improved Obokoh as the backup is more than adequate for ACC level competition. 

Word is Obokoh is stronger than a year ago and prove to be a valuable commodity at around 10 minutes per game. If he has to become the guy, things could turn south in a hurry. 

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