Syracuse Basketball: Here’s why Quincy Guerrier leaving is a big-time blow

Since the 2020-21 campaign ended for Syracuse basketball, when the Orange lost in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 to Houston, I had a feeling that sophomore forward Quincy Guerrier would not return to the Hill.

However, I figured that his election to not come back would come as a result of Guerrier remaining in the 2021 NBA Draft. That still may hold true, but the recent news that Guerrier will continue to test the NBA Draft waters, but also enter into the NCAA’s transfer portal, did catch me by surprise.

Then again, I am not in Guerrier’s inner circle, nor do I know about his relationship with the rest of the ‘Cuse program. What I do believe is that his decision to depart Central New York is a huge hit for Syracuse basketball, at least in my humble opinion.

Guerrier, who revealed his plan via Twitter, was named to the All-ACC third team in the most recent term. Per ESPN statistics, he averaged 13.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per contest, while connecting on 49.3 percent from the field.

For an Orange squad that often has some struggles on the glass, Guerrier blossomed into one of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s top rebounders in 2020-21. Losing that for the upcoming stanza certainly will sting.

Syracuse basketball sophomore forward Quincy Guerrier is done competing on the Hill.

With Guerrier on the move, that leaves the ‘Cuse with 10 scholarship players, assuming freshman center Frank Anselem returns to the team for his sophomore stint.

Additionally, the Orange presently has three forwards on the roster in 2021 five-star commit Benny Williams, along with Cornell transfer Jimmy Boeheim and Villanova transfer Cole Swider. I assume that either freshman Chaz Owens or junior Buddy Boeheim could also play some at small forward.

In any event, Williams, Jimmy Boeheim and Swider are all talented in their own rights, but they’re new to the program. I also don’t get the sense that any of them will be the same kind of bruising presence in the interior that Guerrier can be. So that’s a potential issue for Syracuse basketball.

Given that Guerrier is gone, I’d love to see the ‘Cuse make a run at former 2021 target Arthur Kaluma, who has received a release from his commitment to UNLV.

The 6-foot-8 power forward, who is a senior at Dream City Christian School in Glendale, Ariz., previously had the Orange in his top eight and is a top-50 prospect nationally in his class.