Last season, Syracuse basketball only won 17 out of 32 games. This season brings changes that could help the Orange increase the number in the win column.
Reason 1: Familiar faces bring veteran attitudes
While the transfer portal might have taken some of Syracuse’s top performers, some players decided to stick around Central New York for this upcoming season. Judah Mintz is one of those guys, and the Syracuse basketball faithful are thrilled to see him. Mintz averaged 16.3 points per game, and led the team with 59 steals this past season. He also earned an All-ACC Team Honorable Mention while making the ACC All-Freshman Team. Returning to help him out are Benny Williams and Maliq Brown who both bring experience from last season. Williams brings size and length to the post position at 6-9, while Brown led last year’s squad with the highest FG percentage at 69.8%. Not only will they bring talent, but also familiarity and a veteran presence having already played for head coach Adrian Autry.
Reason 2: Incoming players with promise
The Orange will have some new faces this season, including two guys who are pretty familiar with the ACC. J.J. Starling previously played at Notre Dame where like Mintz, he earned a spot on the 2022-23 ACC All-Freshman Team. Starling averaged 11.2 PPG for the Irish and gives some depth to the guard position. Naheem McLeod from Florida State had a 54.7% FG percentage last season while standing at a whopping 7-4. McLeod could help fill the position that once belonged to Jesse Edwards. Syracuse also obtained Chance Westry from Auburn and Kyle Cuffe Jr. from Kansas to help out in guard depth. Watch out for these new transfers that could easily help the Orange bring their game to new heights.
Reason 3: Adrian Autry’s style of play
We’re all familiar with what’s known as the “Syracuse Zone,” but last season might have been its last appearance. Coach Autry says he wants to play more man-defense instead. The Harlem native is drawing from his roots in New York City basketball, which will bring a “fast and aggressive” approach to revamp the Syracuse basketball program. Autry claims he wants to get his program back to a “winning culture” and “turn it back into winning championships.” To those who are apprehensive about change, remember that not all change is bad. Sometimes we need change in order to fix things. By the looks of last year’s record, whatever was happening wasn’t working.