Syracuse Basketball: 4-star freshmen are vying for starting forward spot

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

Unless some weirdness transpires, the bulk of the starting rotation for Syracuse basketball to commence the 2022-23 season is likely already known.

I’m basing my thoughts here on comments made by head coach Jim Boeheim in various interviews, as well as additional commentary from national experts on the Orange ahead of the upcoming campaign.

Two returning starters from the 2021-22 stanza, when the ‘Cuse finished at a disappointing 16-17 overall, are seniors Joe Girard III and Jesse Edwards.

Girard has played a lot of point guard in his Orange tenure to date, but Boeheim has said more than once lately that Girard will start at shooting guard in 2022-23.

A lot of the pieces to the starting rotation appear relatively set for Syracuse basketball.

Freshman Judah Mintz, a 2022 four-star prospect, is likely to start at point guard. Edwards was in contention for the Atlantic Coast Conference’s most improved player award a season ago before getting injured in February.

He seems to be fully healthy, and Edwards will start at center. My assumption is that at one forward spot, sophomore Benny Williams will get the starting nod.

That leaves us the second forward spot. College basketball insider Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports recently said via social media that he expects 2022 four-star player Chris Bunch to be in the starting line-up when the Orange begins its 2022-23 campaign in early November.

The 6-foot-7 Bunch, out of the Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant, Utah, was a top-100 national prospect in the 2022 cycle, according to several recruiting services.

Per a tweet and article from Rothstein, Boeheim expects either Bunch or 6-foot-6 freshman Justin Taylor will start at small forward, with the other guy likely to be the team’s sixth man and first reserve off of the bench.

The four-star Taylor, out of the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., was also deemed a top-100 player in the 2022 class by some recruiting services, although the majority of primary recruiting Web sites had him in the top 150.

Based on what I’ve read about both Bunch and Taylor, they both have nice size and length. Each is athletic and shoots well from the perimeter.

We’ll have to see how these two Syracuse basketball freshmen will perform in the Orange’s 2-3 zone defense during their first stanzas on the Hill.

Personally, I’ve been high on both of these young men ever since ‘Cuse coaches started recruiting them a while back. I’d be totally good with either of them starting.

If I had to venture a guess, I’d say that maybe Taylor would get the starting nod, with Bunch serving as the Orange’s sixth man. Certainly, though, it could end up being the other way around.

Next. Syracuse basketball has interest in Carmelo Anthony’s son, a 4-star guard. dark