Syracuse basketball sought out more depth at center, now the team has it

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

Barring any further changes to its roster, Syracuse basketball will sport a trio of centers during the upcoming 2022-23 campaign.

On Wednesday, after only recently making an official visit to the Hill, big man Mounir Hima said on Twitter that he was committing to the Orange.

The 6-foot-11, 240-pound Hima most recently suited up for Duquesne out of the Atlantic 10 Conference, where he was a redshirt freshman in the 2021-22 stanza. He has said that he will have three years of eligibility remaining.

Toward the end of April, Hima said that he would put his name into the NCAA’s transfer portal. Hima, who is originally from Tillabéri, Niger, had heard from a bunch of college teams after entering the transfer portal, including Charlotte, Southern Illinois, Brown, Santa Clara, Robert Morris, Radford, Louisiana Tech and Eastern Michigan, according to Pro Insight director of scouting Andrew Slater.

Slater, one of the best in the business, had also first reported that Hima was in Central New York for an official visit with the ‘Cuse just in the past few days.

Syracuse basketball has boosted its center depth with a commitment by Mounir Hima.

Graduate student Bourama Sidibe, after the conclusion of 2021-22, had exhausted his eligibility with the Orange. Sophomore Frank Anselem transferred to Georgia.

So ‘Cuse coaches, in recent weeks, appeared to be intent on landing another center via the portal. Syracuse basketball was squarely in the mix for Florida State transfer Quincy Ballard, but in mid-April, the Syracuse-area native picked Wichita State over the Orange.

With his pledge to the ‘Cuse, Hima gives Syracuse basketball another center to back up junior Jesse Edwards, who was the Orange’s starter for much of this past season before getting injured in February.

Edwards, I imagine, will receive the bulk of the minutes at center for the ‘Cuse in 2022-23, with his primary back-ups being Hima as well as 2022 three-star commit Peter Carey.

Carey, who can play power forward and center, was injured and didn’t play during his senior year for the Northfield Mount Hermon School in Mount Hermon, Mass., although I’ve heard great things about his potential and promise at the collegiate level.

As we noted in another recent article, in 2021-22 for Pittsburgh-based Duquesne, Hima appeared in 21 games for the Dukes, averaging 9.6 minutes, 1.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per contest, while connecting on 42.5 percent from the field and 83.3 percent from the charity stripe, according to ESPN.

At this juncture, I believe that Syracuse basketball still has one open scholarship for the 2022-23 term, so we’ll see if Orange coaches look to make any further additions.

Hima, from a handful of articles that I’ve read about him lately, appears to be a bit raw on offense, but he’s hard-working, energetic and a wonderful teammate, media reports say.

He also has a long wingspan and could provide some solid rebounding and shot-blocking capabilities within the ‘Cuse zone defense.

Hima was a member of the 2020 cycle out of St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, N.J. In his recruiting process, he held offers from teams such as Robert Morris, St. Bonaventure, UMass, Rhode Island and VCU, according to Verbal Commits.

Welcome to Orange Nation, Mounir!

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