Nichols plays well; Sophomores will play big role

During basketball media day Oct. 15, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said the key to Syracuse's season would be the development of the sophomore class, which struggled in its first year.

The "Fab Four," consisting of Demetris Nichols, Darryl Watkins, Louie McCroskey and Terrance Roberts figure to see a bigger role on this year's team.

During Syracuse's 91-59 exhibition win over Division II St. Rose, Nichols had the best night of the four, shooting 5-of-10 from the field and 4-of-4 from the free throw line to finish with 17 points. He also added six rebounds and two blocks.

"If he gets set and takes the shot, he's going to hit those," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said.

Nichols started 19-of-26 games last year after Billy Edelin left the team for personal reasons. Still, Nichols struggled, averaging only 4.2 points on 35 percent shooting, 24 percent from 3-point land.

Monday's performance could be an omen that Nichols is ready to take on more of an offensive load this year.

"My confidence is pretty high right now," Nichols said. "(The sophomores) have an opportunity to play well. We have to take it step-by-step."

Roberts also played well, collecting seven points and nine rebounds.

"Personally I see the game a little slower – I take my time when I'm in there and I'm more physical rebounding-wise," Roberts said. "All of us sophomores just need to come in here and be ready to play."

Edelin absent

Billy Edelin was not on the bench for any part of Monday's game. The guard was cleared to play Oct. 20 after he was granted an academic waiver petition by the NCAA. Boeheim gave no clue as to the date of his return.

"He will be back when he's back," Boeheim said. "It might be back tomorrow morning. I like to keep surprises."

Edelin – who didn't meet NCAA academic eligibility requirements – had originally been declared ineligible for the fall 2004 semester before being cleared to play.

The junior played the first 16 games last year and averaged 13.8 points and a team-leading 5.4 assists before he left the team.

Start of the regular season

Syracuse will open its regular season schedule Thursday in the first round of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in the Carrier Dome. Bucknell will play Princeton at 5:30 p.m. and Syracuse will follow in a game against Northern Colorado.

"It's a great test for us," Boeheim said. "A great opportunity to play good teams early and it's good for our team to be in that situation."

"We're going to have really good games early this year and I think that's something that will help us figure out what we have to do. We all know once we get into the league, how tough it's going to be. I think these games now, the tournament and the games we play early are really going to help us."

Cuse Nation Top Stories