Syracuse Basketball: No matter wins and losses, thank you to the seniors

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images) /

It’s senior day this Saturday, when Syracuse basketball hosts Wake Forest in the 2022-23 regular-season finale.

On March 4, the Orange will honor its seniors, and the ‘Cuse will also hold a 20th-anniversary celebration of the Syracuse basketball 2003 national championship squad.

Of course, these days, you’d be hard-pressed to find a lot of ‘Cuse hoops fans out there who are in a cheering sort of mode, given the team’s 16-17 record a stanza ago and its 16-14 mark as Syracuse basketball prepares to host the Demon Deacons on Saturday.

But regardless of the Orange’s wins and losses, I want to say a few words about the squad’s seniors. They all have the option to come back for a fifth year granted by the NCAA amid the Covid-19 pandemic, however, it’s also possible that Saturday’s home game could be their final contest inside the JMA Wireless Dome.

I have a lot of admiration and respect for the Syracuse basketball seniors.

The ‘Cuse seniors on scholarship are shooting guard Joe Girard III, center Jesse Edwards and guard Symir Torrence. Big man John Bol Ajak is a redshirt junior, although it’s his fourth year in the program (Mike Waters of reported Friday that Ajak will transfer after the season).

Most importantly, these four guys carry themselves well and seem like good people. Whatever limitation they may have on the court, I believe they all work hard and have done positive things for the Orange.

Girard came to the Hill after scoring a ridiculous number of points in high school. That being said, he wasn’t a highly rated recruit on a national scale, and I firmly believe the expectations set on him were unfair from the get-go.

I’m so tired of some so-called fans trashing him on social media. He’s playing his natural position of shooting guard in the 2022-23 stanza, and Girard by and large is playing at a solid level.

At this juncture, Girard is in the top 20 on the Orange’s all-time career scoring list. He’s climbing up the ‘Cuse and Atlantic Coast Conference lists for career 3-pointers made.

Edwards has proven one of the better centers in the ACC over the past two seasons. He was in the running for the league’s most improved player award last year before getting injured.

In 2022-23, he has put forth some massive games and is a top rebounder in the conference. Edwards, to me, is inconsistent with his play, and foul trouble has been an issue sometimes for him.

But overall, I’ve loved watching the improvement and growth of Jesse over the past two terms.

Torrence, who is from the Syracuse area, transferred in to the Orange from Marquette. He has proven a solid contributor off of the bench in his two seasons with the ‘Cuse, displaying flashes of his athleticism and quickness.

Symir really gets after it on the defensive end, and he facilitates well for others. Personally, I would like to see him get more playing time, but when Girard and freshman point guard Judah Mintz are playing well, it’s hard for Torrence to see much run.

Ajak is averaging a personal-high 9.3 minutes per game in 2022-23. He has earned some praise for his excellent interior passing on offense, and he’s a hustle guy, always doing the little things. And he always seems to be smiling as well.

For the players who have been with the team for the last four years, Syracuse basketball went 18-14 in 2019-20, 18-10 in 2020-21, 16-17 last year and 16-14 so far in 2022-23.

That 2020-21 season included a journey to the Sweet 16 and a final No. 25 ranking in the Coaches poll.

So, yes, these past four seasons haven’t proven all that spectacular in terms of wins, losses and post-season success. But everything isn’t about wins and losses.

These four young men carry themselves well and represent SU well. As I said earlier, I admire and respect them. And I want to thank them for what they’ve done for Syracuse basketball.

Who knows, maybe we’ll see some of them in an Orange uniform again next year.

Next. Syracuse Basketball: Next guests of Adam Weitsman loveliest of them all. dark