With the departure of Theus, Preston Shumpert and Williams, the starting five is up for grabs. Incumbent starters Kueth Duany and Craig Forth will take the power forward and center positions respectively.
Duany had a very strong start to the season last year, but his shooting suffered as the Orange slowly began to drop in the standings. Forth showed promise throughout the season but was too critical of himself after games.
Highly touted recruit Carmelo Anthony will start at the small forward position taking over Shumpert's role as the go to guy. But the though of a freshman leading a team leaves some critics skeptical.
Anthony will be backed up by athletic, but still unproven sophomore Hakim Warrick. Warrick is a great finisher and provided some spark off the bench last year for the Orange, but his free throw shooting suffered down the stretch and he's had a whole summer to think about it.
Jeremy McNeil will backup Forth and will try to erase the demons of last year when he quit the team only to come back a few weeks later. McNeil has terrible hands and is foul prone. However, he's an excellent shot blocker and his size is very useful.
The two backcourt positions is fair game for several different players.
Sophomore Josh Pace spent the entire summer bulking up and figures to play a large roll this year. Recruit Gerry McNamara dominated small-school ball in Pennsylvania and can play either guard position.
Then there is Billy Edelin who sat out last year because of an alleged sexual assault case. The charges were never filed and Edelin will be free to play. Last year's No. 1 recruit, Edelin might show signs of rust after not playing a year that could keep him out of the lineup.
Even with a relatively young group, head coach Jim Boeheim didn't want to get the team's feet wet – he wanted to throw them in the pool.
A tough out of conference schedule has the Orange taking on Georgia Tech (1/13, ESPN) and Michigan State (2/23, CBS). Other teams include Colgate, Cornell, Binghamton, Albany, and Canisius – upstate doormats that the Orange should have no trouble rolling over.
As for their Big East matchups, that will be a different story.
The Orange will play a total of nine opponents who received births to the NCAA tournament last year including Big East foes Boston College, Connecticut, Miami, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and St. John's.
In addition, they will play a home and away matchup with Georgetown. Both games will prove to be huge in the tightly contested Big East West division.
Syracuse (23-13) will open its home schedule against Valparaiso on November 24th and will also compete in the preseason NIT, which the Orange won last year.
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