Syracuse Basketball: Adrian Autry says roster is healthy, encouraging sign

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

As Syracuse basketball has been conducting preseason practices and gears up for the start of the 2023-24 campaign in early November, Adrian Autry says the team’s roster is healthy and hard at work competing at a high level on both ends of the floor.

Autry, the Orange’s first-year head coach who replaced the retiring Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim this past March, spoke about various topics last Friday at the ‘Cuse annual media day. On Friday night, Syracuse basketball held its Orange Tip-Off event, where the men’s and women’s squads participated in various competitions and scrimmages.

Sophomore center Peter Carey did not play in the Orange Tip-Off due to a minor ankle sprain, according to Autry, but the head coach added that Carey will be “fine” for the beginning of the 2023-24 stanza.

Carey, as a freshman in 2022-23, only played in a handful of games as he dealt with a knee injury.

Syracuse basketball head coach Adrian Autry says his team is healthy.

Autry, at media day, did say that some players have had minor injuries here and there, but overall, he said the 2023-24 roster is in good health. That’s highly encouraging, because numerous returning guys and transfers into the program this past off-season have dealt with various injuries in the past.

The last previously injured player to be involved in preseason practices at a “full go,” per Autry, is sophomore guard Chance Westry, with that occurring roughly two weeks ago. Westry, a former long-time recruiting target of the Orange coaching staff, had his freshman season at Auburn in 2022-23 cut short due to a knee injury.

Not too long ago, in an interview with PennLive, Westry said in part, “This season is big for me. I have high expectations of myself and am glad to be back where I was at a year ago before surgery. I’m ready to play the best basketball of my life.”

Last season, junior center Mounir Hima had knee issues, and he didn’t play much toward the latter half of the 2022-23 term. So it’s great to hear that he’s healthy.

Sophomore guard J.J. Starling transferred to the ‘Cuse this off-season after spending his freshman year at Notre Dame. The former five-star, top-25 national prospect in the 2022 class was heavily recruited by the Orange in high school, but the Central New York native opted for the Fighting Irish.

As a freshman in 2022-23, Starling averaged about 11 points per game for a struggling Notre Dame group, and he was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference’s All-Freshman team. But he also dealt with knee and shoulder injuries in 2022-23.

Per Autry and some recent media reports, Starling has recovered from those injuries, and he’s expected to be in the Syracuse basketball starting line-up at the onset of 2023-24.

Redshirt sophomore guard Kyle Cuffe Jr., the transfer from Kansas, played in just a couple of games for the Jayhawks in 2022-23 due to a knee injury. Additionally, reports in late June stated that Cuffe had suffered a broken bone in his right hand. So for Cuffe, an explosive athlete who can shoot it from the perimeter, to be at full health is terrific.

Autry, at media day and in other recent interviews, has said that a big-time strength of this season’s team is its depth and versatility. While injuries are part of the game, for the Orange’s roster of 13 scholarship players to be in good health as the 2023-24 stanza inches closer is fantastic.

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