Syracuse Basketball: Cole Swider, others leaving means big shooting void

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

We’re all hoping that the Syracuse basketball defense is much improved in 2022-23, and there have been whispers here and there that head coach Jim Boeheim may utilize some man-to-man defense along with his usual zone schemes.

The Orange’s defense was woeful in the recently concluded stanza, and the zone’s woes played a major role in the ‘Cuse enduring its first losing season in Boeheim’s 46 years as the squad’s head coach.

A lot of Syracuse basketball fans have a lot of opinions – some positive, some negative – about senior shooting guard Buddy Boeheim and graduate student forward Jimmy Boeheim moving on. Graduate student center Bourama Sidibe is done on the Hill, and sophomore center Frank Anselem is headed to the NCAA’s transfer portal.

Additionally, senior forward Cole Swider, a transfer from Villanova who had a nice 2021-22 campaign, recently said on social media that he was forgoing his final term of eligibility, will hire an agent and will declare for the 2022 NBA Draft.

So the Boeheim brothers are gone. So is Swider. We recently detailed how junior point guard Joe Girard III, junior guard Symir Torrence, freshman forward Benny Williams and junior center Jesse Edwards are all returning, which is great.

But, boy oh boy, the ‘Cuse line-up in 2022-23 is going to look a whole lot different, and it is going to be really, really young.

Senior forward Cole Swider not coming back to Syracuse basketball stings.

I wish nothing but the best for Swider, who averaged 13.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest in 2021-22, while connecting on 44.0 percent from the field, 41.1 percent from beyond the arc, and 86.6 percent from the charity stripe.

With Swider and Jimmy Boeheim seeing their careers culminate in Central New York, both of the team’s starting forwards in 2021-22 will have to be replaced in the upcoming season.

Williams should get one spot. Syracuse basketball does have a strong six-member 2022 recruiting class coming in that features several forwards who I’m sure will contend for ample minutes in Jim Boeheim’s rotation.

And the ‘Cuse coaching staff certainly could hit the transfer portal, while we wait and see if redshirt sophomore big man John Bol Ajak remains with the Orange program for 2022-23.

Swider had his ups and downs in 2021-22, including on defense, along with everyone on the ‘Cuse roster. But he hauled in some monster games toward the end of the 2021-22 term, including 36 points at North Carolina in an overtime loss, as well as 28 points versus Florida State in a blow-out triumph over the Seminoles in the 2022 ACC Tournament’s second round.

Cole Swider had the ability to score points in droves, and having to replace him and both of the Boeheim brothers, from an offensive standpoint, is going to prove a huge challenge for Syracuse basketball as the team looks to rebound in 2022-23 from a disappointing campaign that wrapped up not too long ago.

That puts a lot of pressure on returning veterans such as Girard, as well as incoming freshmen who will be charged with replacing a lot of this past stanza’s scoring load.

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