Syracuse Basketball: Projected starting rotation for the 2022-23 season

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

Unless Syracuse basketball adds a big-time forward via the portal, or something unexpected transpires, I feel pretty confident that the 6-foot-8 Williams will be a starting forward for the Orange as the 2022-23 term gets underway.

Yes, Williams only averaged 10.8 minutes per game in 2021-22. Yes, he seemed to struggle with his shot. Yes, many ‘Cuse fans were irritated that he didn’t see the court more in 2021-22, because he came to Central New York as a highly rated prospect in the 2021 recruiting cycle.

Throughout the course of last season, a ton of fans on social media and in chat rooms declared that Williams was going to transfer after his freshman campaign, even though these fans had no evidence of that.

I found that ongoing speculation annoying, and Williams even said in multiple interviews during the 2021-22 season that he wasn’t going anywhere.

When he didn’t play a single minute during the Orange’s five-point home setback to Florida State this past January, there he was after the game, not complaining or whining, but rather, putting up shots and working on his craft.

In late February, before a massive Carrier Dome crowd, the ‘Cuse got smoked by top-10 Duke, yet Williams registered his best performance of 2021-22.

He played 30 minutes, while scoring 14 points and grabbing six boards. Williams connected on 5-of-7 from the field and 4-of-5 from the charity stripe, and he put forth a riveting reverse layup that made it on the ESPN SportsCenter top-10 list.

For all of 2021-22, Williams averaged 1.9 points and 1.4 rebounds per encounter. He hit on just 33.9 percent from the field, 61.9 percent from the free-throw line, and 9.1 percent from 3-point land.

I’m sure Williams is working on his jump-shot, which didn’t appear to have enough arc on it throughout 2021-22. He’s got a year in the Syracuse basketball system under his belt, and I believe he’s going to have a monster sophomore campaign, much like former Orange stars Dion Waiters and Michael Carter-Williams did.

I think that part of the issue with Williams is that he not only came to the Hill as a five-star, top-25 player according to, but it’s also whom he was playing behind in the rotation.

Some ‘Cuse fans felt it wasn’t just for Jimmy Boeheim and Cole Swider to eat up most of the minutes at the forward spots, when a five-star prospect was sitting on the bench.

I understand that sort of sentiment, although I’ll always maintain that Jim Boeheim would have played Williams more had he felt that Benny could help the team triumph in games.

I don’t believe for a second that Coach Boeheim gave his son, Jimmy, all of those minutes simply because he is, in fact, his son.

Regardless, Jimmy Boeheim and his brother, Buddy, are gone. There can be no more crying from some fans about nepotism. It’s time for Williams to make a stellar sophomore leap.