Syracuse Basketball: With multiple forwards in portal, Cole Swider pivotal

Forward Cole Swider, a Villanova transfer with a terrific shooting touch from long range, has signed a financial-aid agreement with the Orange to officially suit up for Syracuse basketball, where he will have two years of eligibility remaining, according to an announcement on cuse.com.

That development is monumentally important, because the Orange is losing several forwards. We already noted last week how redshirt sophomore forward Robert Braswell has entered into the NCAA’s transfer portal, along with freshman combo guard Kadary Richmond and redshirt freshman center John Bol Ajak.

Richmond, by the way, has committed to former Big East Conference rival Seton Hall, according to college-basketball insider Adam Zagoria. Wishing Richmond all the best.

Now, per Verbal Commits, freshman forward Woody Newton has also entered his name into the transfer portal. I’m not entirely surprised by Newton’s decision, given his lack of playing time during the second half of the 2020-21 campaign, but I’m also simultaneously bummed, because I think that he has a ton of upside.

Additionally, sophomore forward Quincy Guerrier is testing the NBA Draft waters, and while he could come back to the Hill for his junior year, there’s no guarantee that he will.

Syracuse basketball landing Villanova transfer Cole Swider is big-time.

In addition to the forwards mentioned already, we’re still waiting to see what senior power forward/center Marek Dolezaj plans to do. He has the option to come back to Central New York for a fifth stanza, but a lot of folks are speculating that Dolezaj will depart to pursue professional opportunities.

Freshman forward Chaz Owens is reportedly returning for his sophomore campaign, although I’m not sure how much court time he will see.

This leaves us with junior forward Alan Griffin. The bevy of Syracuse basketball fans are speculating that he’s gone, and even some journalists have published stories that suggest this will transpire. I believe that Griffin has loads of talent, but he also faded down the stretch in 2020-21.

Orange commit Benny Williams, a 2021 five-star forward out of the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., is set to arrive on campus in the coming months. I wouldn’t pretend to know if he might start in the next term, but he sure brings a lot of excitement and potential with him.

Swider, a junior, and Williams will help to offset the departure of forwards like Braswell and Newton, plus possibly Guerrier and Griffin. Then there’s also loads of chatter online about Jimmy Boeheim, a former Cornell forward and the oldest son of Syracuse basketball head coach Jim Boeheim, potentially joining the ‘Cuse.

The Orange certainly is losing a lot to the transfer portal, but it’s gaining some nice additions, too. And I’d bet that the off-season fireworks for the ‘Cuse are far from over.