Syracuse Basketball: Which players get run in Jim Boeheim 8-man rotation

Syracuse basketball head coach Jim Boeheim says that he’s not playing more than eight guys.

Syracuse basketball possesses strong depth heading into the 2020-21 campaign, which is fewer than three weeks away.

However, per the norm on the Hill, it doesn’t appear that Orange head coach Jim Boeheim is going to utilize this depth. The ‘Cuse, by the way, has 13 scholarship players this coming season, and the team’s line-up boasts flexibility and versatility at each position.

Still, Matthew Gutierrez of The Athletic posted this quote from Boeheim on Twitter. “Why would I play 11 players? The best players play. They get in a rhythm, and we have success… We aren’t playing more than eight.”

Okay, so that’s settled. Personally, I don’t think giving more than eight guys court time is necessarily a bad thing. During the 2011-12 stanza, for example, 10 players on the Syracuse basketball roster logged a minimum of 10 minutes per contest.

In that term, the Orange went 30-1 in the regular season, including 17-1 in Big East Conference competition. The ‘Cuse would ultimately finish things up at 34-3 and advance to the Elite Eight of the 2012 NCAA Tournament, where it lost to Ohio State.

Switching back to the present, if Boeheim is only going to play eight guys, what will his rotation look like, considering that he has 13 young men on scholarship?

Syracuse basketball head coach Jim Boeheim plans to use an eight-man rotation – shocker.

Well, that’s the magic question, and I’ll take a stab at answering it. First and foremost, there are four returning starters from 2019-20 who, unless something unforeseen transpires, will start again this season.

They are sophomore point guard Joe Girard III, junior shooting guard Buddy Boeheim, senior power forward Marek Dolezaj and senior center Bourama Sidibe. My gut tells me that Illinois transfer Alan Griffin, a junior, will get the starting nod at small forward, with sophomore forward Quincy Guerrier the first guy off the bench.

That leaves two slots to reach an eight-man rotation. Even though he’s a freshman, I believe that Kadary Richmond will receive some minutes.

A top-100 prospect in high school, Richmond can suit up at point guard, shooting guard and small forward, and Orange coaches, as well as national commentators alike, are raving about him.

That would leave one slot of consistent playing time among six scholarship guys. They are redshirt sophomore forward Robert Braswell, freshmen power forward Woody Newton, sophomore center Jesse Edwards, freshman center Frank Anselem, redshirt freshman center John Bol Ajak and freshman small forward Chaz Owens.

I really dig the potential of newbies like Anselem and Newton, but I think that the likeliest to land court action is either Braswell or Edwards. I’m leaning toward Edwards as the eighth man, since Sidibe in the past has had a tendency to get into foul trouble.