Syracuse Basketball: Projected starting line-up and rotations for 2023-24

Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports) /

In the upcoming season, Syracuse basketball will look to return to national relevancy, after the Orange sported a combined 33-32 mark over the past seasons and missed the NCAA Tournament in both campaigns.

It remains to be seen how the ‘Cuse will fare on the court during the 2023-24 term, with Adrian Autry at the helm of the program after replacing the Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim this past March.

To me, Autry and his assistants have done a fantastic job this off-season, retaining eight 2022-23 players after point guard Judah Mintz recently elected to return for his sophomore year, bringing in four transfers and signing one three-star high-school commit to fill out the 2023-24 roster with the maximum 13 scholarship players.

In all fairness, question marks are there for the Orange in the upcoming stanza. Two of the team’s top-three scorers from a season ago, senior center Jesse Edwards and senior shooting guard Joe Girard III, transferred to West Virginia and Clemson, respectively.

How well the ‘Cuse will shoot from the perimeter is something to monitor. Over the past two years, the Orange has proven sub-par on defense and on the glass, and Autry will attempt to shore up both of those key areas in 2023-24.

One thing, from my perspective, is relatively clear. The team’s 13-player roster is deep, athletic, long, versatile, intriguing and promising. SU coaches will have an abundance of line-up possibilities at their disposal in 2023-24, and as they seek to play at an up-tempo, fast pace, employing both man-to-man and zone defensive schemes, fatigue certainly shouldn’t prove an issue.

Here is my projected starting rotation for Syracuse basketball in the 2023-24 season.

Obviously, this is subject to change, and many of my fellow fans weighed in on this topic via social media not too long ago, providing a lot of insightful comments about the debate over which five players will start at the onset of the 2023-24 season. Here we go:

PG – Judah Mintz, rising sophomore
SG – J.J. Starling, rising sophomore (transfer from Notre Dame)
SF – Chris Bell, rising sophomore
PF – Benny Williams, rising junior
C – Naheem McLeod, rising junior (transfer from Florida State)

The rest of the Syracuse basketball roster is as follows:

•Chance Westry, rising redshirt freshman, transfer from Auburn, point guard/shooting guard/small forward
•Justin Taylor, rising sophomore, shooting guard/small forward
•Quadir Copeland, rising sophomore, point guard/small forward
•Kyle Cuffe Jr., rising redshirt freshman, transfer from Kansas, combo guard
•Maliq Brown, rising sophomore, power forward (maybe center, too)
•Mounir Hima, rising junior, center
•Peter Carey, rising redshirt freshman, center
•William Patterson, incoming freshman, center

Some fans are speculating that Patterson may redshirt in 2023-24. I could see that happening. There was also chatter among fans that perhaps Hima could be the starting center over McLeod. We’ll see.

I had a good amount of fans prognosticate that they could envision Brown in the starting line-up, over possibly Bell or Williams. Personally, I think that Mintz, Williams and McLeod are locked in as starters.

It’s natural to assume that Starling would get a starting nod, since he had a solid, if somewhat inconsistent, freshman year with the Fighting Irish. But I did get some responses from fans suggesting that Westry could be a starter over Starling or even Bell at small forward. I’m really high on Westry, but he also played sparingly in 2022-23 at Auburn, due to an injury.

I don’t believe that Copeland, Cuffe or Carey, who only played in a few games last season due to an injury, will seriously contend for a starting position, but what do I know? To that end, some folks say that Taylor could end up starting.

He and Bell played close to the same number of minutes per game in 2022-23. I like Taylor’s game. Maybe he contends for a starting spot. I think Brown is a legit contender for the starting line-up, too.

Okay, so let’s have some fun and look at an alternative starting line-up that differs a bit from the one above:

PG – Judah Mintz
SG – Chance Westry
SF – Justin Taylor
PF – Maliq Brown
C – Naheem McLeod

I really don’t think that Williams will come off of the bench, but at the same time, I dig Brown’s game. The “issue” with the projected starting line-up directly above could be 3-point shooting. Taylor can drain threes, but Mintz and Westry have to improve from beyond the arc. Williams, by the way, connected on 39.6 percent of his 3-point attempts in 2022-23.

Candidly, none of us know how the starting line-up will shake out for the Orange in 2023-24 at this juncture. Autry & Co. will have to sort everything out. The ‘Cuse coaching staff, though, will have many creative line-up combinations from which to choose.

So how did I do? What did I get right, and what did I get horribly wrong? What’s your projected starting line-up for Syracuse basketball when the 2023-24 season kicks off on Monday, Nov. 6, against New Hampshire at the JMA Wireless Dome?

dark. Next. Syracuse Basketball: Deep dive on loaded field in 2023 Maui Invitational