HOOPS NOTEBOOK: Syracuse does it with depth

The stereotypical Syracuse team has five excellent players and nothing useful off the bench.

This year's edition has the outstanding players, led by all-league candidates Hakim Warrick and Gerry McNamara, and it's no surprise that the team won its first five games and the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

What is a surprise is that this team may also have the depth that recent squads have lacked.

Syracuse's 91-67 blowout victory over an undermanned St. Bonaventure squad gave coach Jim Boeheim a chance to get his reserves some meaningful game action, and five subs played more than 11 minutes.

Among those to open some eyes was sophomore Darryl Watkins, who scored 12 points in 19 minutes. Fellow sophomore Louie McCroskey knocked down a pair of three pointers and is now 5 of 12 from long range on the season. Freshman Josh Wright had four points, one turnover and six assists in his 15 minutes.

Moreover, another of those reserves was Billy Edelin.

The starting point guard before leaving the team down the stretch last season, Edelin returned to the team on Nov. 21 after getting a waiver from the NCAA in October restoring his eligibility.

Edelin, McNamara and Josh Pace comprise one of the best backcourts in the country. As Edelin works his way back into game shape, McNamara will get more minutes at shooting guard, and get more open looks at the basket.


Hakim Warrick played the most minutes of any starter against St. Bonaventure, a status reflected in the stats. He led all players with 18 points and 11 rebounds in 33 minutes, though he did miss four of his eight free throws.

-- Syracuse has now won 30 games in a row against opponents from New York State.

PROBABLE LINEUP: Point guard Gerry McNamara, shooting guard Josh Pace, center Craig Forth, forward Demetris Nichols, forward Hakim Warrick.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I didn't know what to expect, but it makes you feel really good when the fans stand up and support you like that. It made it a lot easier for me to do what I wanted to do which was go out, contribute, and help my team win." -- Point guard Billy Edelin, on the hometown crowd's reaction when he made his season debut against St, Bonaventure.


UPCOMING GAMES: vs. Colgate, Saturday, Dec. 4; vs. Oklahoma State, Tuesday, Dec. 7.

KEYS: Against Colgate, the key will be not to trip and fall on the way into the Carrier Dome. Oklahoma State will be, oh, just a slightly bit tougher. Although the younger kids are playing well and Billy Edelin is working his way back into the rotation, the OSU game will come down to the performance of Hakim Warrick, Gerry McNamara and Josh Pace. The Orange's three-headed offensive machine will have to carry most of the load against a tough Cowboys defense.

ROSTER REPORT: Billy Edelin scored four points, pulled down two rebounds and dished out three assists in his return to action against St. Bonaventure. He'd missed the team's previous 17 games for personal reasons. Syracuse went 14-3 over that period, including a run to the Sweet 16 last year.

-- Syracuse signed Eric Devendorf, Tiki Mayben and Arinze Onuaku to letters of intent during the fall signing period.

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