Syracuse Basketball: Benny Williams an X-factor for ‘Cuse, Boeheim says

Syracuse basketball, Benny Williams (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball, Benny Williams (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /

Syracuse basketball forward Benny Williams is poised to break out in his sophomore year, according to some pundits, after a freshman campaign on the Hill where he didn’t play much, frustrating many Orange hoops fanatics.

In recent months, ‘Cuse head coach Jim Boeheim has said a lot of positive things about the 6-foot-8 Williams, who is from Bowie, Md., and was regarded as a top-50 national prospect in the 2021 cycle by the bevy of recruiting services.

In a recent article from college basketball insider Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, Boeheim called Williams an “X-factor” for the Orange in the upcoming 2022-23 campaign.

Rothstein himself, ahead of 2022-23, has described Williams as an under-the-radar breakout player on a national scale, as well as a break-out player within the ACC.

The hope is that Williams will play many more minutes as a sophomore, and that he will prove a pivotal piece for the ‘Cuse as the team looks to rebound from a sub-par 16-17 record a stanza ago.

Syracuse basketball boss Jim Boeheim details what he’s looking for from forward Benny Williams.

Boeheim told Rothstein that Benny Williams “has to get 10-11 points and six rebounds for us” in 2022-23, with the regular season set to commence for the Orange on November 7 against Lehigh on the Hill.

That sounds about right to me. Certainly, senior guard Joe Girard III and senior center Jesse Edwards will be in line to produce a sizable amount of scoring, and the ‘Cuse has a promising six-member 2022 recruiting class.

But for Syracuse basketball to contend for an NCAA Tournament berth in the spring of 2023, Williams has to generate a good amount of points and rebounds himself. In 2021-22, he averaged 10.8 minutes, 1.9 points and 1.4 rebounds per contest, according to ESPN statistics.

Rothstein has prognosticated that Williams will be in the starting rotation to begin the 2022-23 term, and a lot of Orange fans believe that will transpire as well.

However, I’ve also read some media reports suggesting that freshman Maliq Brown could potentially contend with Benny Williams for the starting spot at power forward.

The 6-foot-9 Brown, a 2022 three-star prospect, is a physical player who defends and rebounds well. He had one heck of a senior year for the Blue Ridge School in St. George, Va., winning all kinds of honors.

I do think that Girard and Edwards are likely to lead Syracuse basketball in scoring in 2022-23, but as Boeheim said, Benny Williams has to average double-figures in scoring for the ‘Cuse to significantly improve upon its victory total from last year.

Next. Syracuse Basketball: Projected starting rotation 2.0 for the 2022-23 season. dark