Adrian Autry focused on making Syracuse basketball Final Four contender

Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) /

Syracuse basketball head coach Adrian Autry is ready to return Syracuse basketball to its glory days.

By that, I’m talking about the Orange being a contender for regular-season titles, and the ‘Cuse making deep March Madness runs, rather than residing on the proverbial Big Dance bubble or not getting to the post-season altogether.

A month ago, Adrian Autry was named the new Syracuse basketball boss, replacing legendary Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim. Boeheim’s accomplishments speak for themselves, including a national championship, five appearances in the Final Four, and the second-most career victories in Division I men’s hoops.

However, since the Orange moved from the Big East Conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference in the 2013-14 campaign, the ‘Cuse has slogged through numerous regular seasons. Yes, the team did go to the Final Four in 2016, along with Sweet 16 journeys in 2018 and 2021.

But over the past two seasons, Syracuse basketball didn’t come close to earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament, and the ‘Cuse sported a sub-par 33-32 overall mark. Adrian Autry wants to change all of that.

Head coach Adrian Autry is ready to get to work and make Syracuse basketball a force once again.

This past Tuesday, Autry sent out a tweet that resonated with me and many other Syracuse basketball fans. The team got together to watch Connecticut defeat San Diego State in the 2023 NCAA Tournament title game on Monday evening, and the new ‘Cuse head coach wrote, “We had a great team gathering while watching the National Championship game together last night. We’re ready to put in the work to play on that stage.”

I love that sort of confidence and optimism. Now, removing my Orange-colored glasses for a second, to assume that Syracuse basketball will all of a sudden be a Final Four contender in the 2023-24 stanza is probably a tad unrealistic.

Then again, we’ll have to wait and see what the final roster looks like for the squad ahead of next season. There are reasons to feel good about the direction that the ‘Cuse has headed so far this off-season, under the direction of Adrian Autry and his staff.

The Orange landed a commitment from Central New York native J.J. Starling, a freshman guard who is transferring from Notre Dame to Syracuse basketball. Sophomore forward Benny Williams and freshman forward Chris Bell are returning.

Elijah Moore, an four-star shooting guard from New York City, has said that he remains verbally committed to Syracuse basketball in the Orange’s 2024 class.

Autry retained Gerry McNamara as associate head coach, Allen Griffin as an assistant coach, and brought on board as a third assistant coach Brenden Straughn, who has deep, strong recruiting ties in the talent-rich Washington, D.C., market, much like Autry does.

On the recruiting trail, Adrian Autry and his staff have proven quite active. Autry traveled to our nation’s capital to meet with 2024 four-star big man Donnie Freeman, who was scheduled to take an official visit to the Hill from April 6 to April 8.

Additionally, Autry and his assistants have watched in person two 2024 four-star targets from the Philadelphia area, top-10 shooting guard Jalil Bethea and top-10 center Thomas Sorber. Bethea officially visited Syracuse basketball last fall, while Sorber recently said he wants to make a trip to the ‘Cuse.

I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, because Adrian Autry won’t make his head-coaching debut until later on this year. However, there is excitement in the air among Orange hoops fanatics about what the future holds in Central New York.

It’s been a rough go in recent years for the ‘Cuse. I remember back to a really fabulous period from 2009 to 2014, when Syracuse basketball tallied strong regular-season records, contended for conference crowns, earned high seeds in the Big Dance, and went deep into March or even early April.

Adrian Autry wants to get the Orange back to that sort of place, in an ACC that has seen multiple Hall of Fame head coaches move on lately, at the ‘Cuse, Duke and North Carolina. Autry has set a high bar for himself and the program he now leads, and I’m hopeful that in the not-too-distant future, Syracuse basketball will return to its more formidable years.

dark. Next. Syracuse basketball with a slight lead for 4-star Donnie Freeman, per On3