Transfers in to the Syracuse Orange basketball program have historically been few and far between. There have been examples of successes in that realm, however. Think of Wesley Johnson and Michael Gbinije as recent examples. Syracuse has a graduate transfer coming in this season in point guard John Gillon. Gillon is the first graduate transfer in program history.
Despite those examples, transfers are not a major part of how Jim Boeheim builds a roster. He does so through recruiting and development.
The 2017-18 roster has the potential to force Boeheim and company to change course a bit and put a greater emphasis on those types of players. Traditional transfers and graduate transfers.
Well, Syracuse may not have very much experience returning.
Think about this. The one and done, while not necessarily popular amongst the Orange fan base, is a part of modern college basketball. Tyler Ennis, Chris McCullough and Malachi Richardson have all gone that route over the last three seasons. There is a very real possibility that Tyus Battle joins that group.
Tyler Lydon is already coveted by NBA scouts, and some thought he would test the waters after this past season. Is it unreasonable to think he could bolt after a strong sophomore campaign?
As of right now, Syracuse goes into the 2017-18 season with three scholarships available right off the bat since there are only eight scholarship players on the roster for the upcoming year. DaJuan Coleman, John Gillon and Tyler Roberson are all entering their final year of eligibility. That opens up three more spots.
If both Lydon and Battle leave, that means Syracuse will have eight scholarship openings for the 2017-18 season. The only returning players will be Matthew Moyer, Paschal Chukwu and Franklin Howard. If those three start, and Syracuse plays seven players as tends to be the norm, that means four players that will play meaningful roles will be true freshmen without transfers.
That is a scenario that seems anything but ideal.
Now of course one more player with experience could join that group should Taurean Thompson pick Syracuse, but who knows if and when that will be. Even with him in the mix, there are still seven slots available and a significant lack of experience in the backcourt.
Syracuse is involved with a lot of elite prospects in the 2017 recruiting cycle, such as Quade Green, Hamidou Diallo, Jordan Tucker, Brandon Randolph, Nick Richards, Ethan Thompson, Lonnie Walker and several others. But adding a couple of transfers could help give the roster a better balance of youth and experience.
So the question is, graduate transfers or traditional? A mix may be the best bet. Maybe take up two of the scholarship spots with such players, one graduate and one traditional.
A target they should consider as a traditional transfer? Malik Newman, a former five-star shooting guard who played last season at Mississippi State and has asked for his release. It is a bit of a surprise move, but the Orange could use him nonetheless.
Newman averaged over 11 points per game as a true freshman while shooting 38% from three-point range. He is 6-foot-3, so has solid size and shooting ability would be a welcomed addition. His talent is unquestioned.
As far as the graduate transfer route, which players are available there will have to wait until after this coming season.
Regardless, in order to take some pressure off of recruiting and relying on several freshmen for major contributions, transfers may be an extremely beneficial tool for Syracuse basketball as they try to fill the 2017-18 roster.