Syracuse Basketball: Here’s why I’m a fan of Benny Williams for eternity

The debate rages on among Syracuse basketball fans regarding the playing time, or lack thereof, for Orange freshman forward Benny Williams.

This topic, in recent weeks, has become arguably the most contentious issue among ‘Cuse fans on social media and in chat rooms.

The 6-foot-8 Williams, who hails from Bowie, Md., and suited up for the post-grad team at the powerhouse IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., a year ago, arrived on the Hill as a five-star, top-25 prospect in the 2021 cycle, according to some recruiting services.

He’s the highest-rated recruit for the Orange program in numerous seasons, and Syracuse basketball fans, myself included, were extremely excited about the prospects of his ‘Cuse career.

However, as Syracuse basketball (8-9, 2-4) has slogged through its 2021-22 stanza, Williams hasn’t received the court time for which the vast majority of Orange fans had hoped.

In the team’s five-point setback to Florida State on Saturday afternoon at the Carrier Dome, Williams didn’t earn any run, and that marked the first instance in 2021-22 where he logged zero minutes on the floor.

Tons of Syracuse basketball fans are up in arms over the lack of playing time for Benny Williams.

According to his bio on the ESPN Web site, Williams is now averaging 13.2 minutes per game. That’s not a lot, by any means. Head coach Jim Boeheim said last week that Williams isn’t playing as well as other reserve forwards in practice, which is why the freshman isn’t seeing the court much at all.

If this is Boeheim’s position, I absolutely respect the Hall of Fame coach’s decision-making regarding Williams, even if I wish he were playing more.

Due to the NCAA’s policy that allows college basketball players to transfer once and retain immediate eligibility, many Orange fans are convinced Williams will end up bolting Central New York, even if these fans likely have no real information on Williams’ thinking, or that of the ‘Cuse coaching staff.

In fact, Williams has shot down these so-called transfer rumors more than once of late. He says he’s working through his freshman growing pains and trusting the process.

I always respect the opinions and takes of my fellow Syracuse basketball fans, although I do find it a little ridiculous that they feel like they know what Williams is going to do now or in the future.

It appears they’re basing such assumptions on the fact that Williams was a five-star prospect upon his arrival in Central New York, and also because the transfer portal makes it easy for unhappy players to depart a program.

I have no idea whether Williams is, in fact, unhappy. I would assume he’s probably a bit frustrated by his lack of playing time, but that’s just an assumption on my part. Whether he sticks it out at the ‘Cuse or ultimately leaves remains to be seen.

What I can say is this. Williams played 24 minutes in the Orange’s recent three-point, overtime loss at Wake Forest. He played four minutes in last week’s home win by Syracuse basketball against Pittsburgh.

And he didn’t get any minutes in Saturday’s 76-71 defeat at the hands of Florida State on the Hill. Yet after the Seminoles loss, there Benny Williams was, putting up shots and working on his craft.

How can you not admire that?