Syracuse Basketball: Chance Westry injury hurts, backcourt depth is strong

Syracuse basketball, Chance Westry (Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball, Chance Westry (Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports) /

I feel absolutely horrible for Syracuse basketball sophomore guard Chance Westry. The 6-foot-6, 190-pound Westry, a transfer from Auburn, suffered a lower-body injury in practice not too long ago that will require a procedure, the team said in a post on X, adding that he “will be out indefinitely.”

This comes after Chance Westry didn’t play all that much in the 2022-23 season for Auburn, due to a knee injury. Myself and every Syracuse basketball fan out there are wishing Chance a speedy recovery.

At the Orange’s recently held annual media day, first-year head coach Adrian Autry said that Westry was the last previously injured ‘Cuse player to be at a “full go” in the squad’s preseason practices, with that occurring roughly two weeks ago from the time that Autry gave his presser on media day.

Chance Westry, who is from Harrisburg, Pa., was a long-time recruiting target of the Syracuse basketball coaching staff. Within the 2022 class, he was generally deemed as a four-star, top-40 national prospect.

In mid-September, during 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.”

Even with Chance Westry injured, Syracuse basketball has strong backcourt depth.

It’s not known at this time when Westry may be available to play for the Orange in the upcoming 2023-24 season, which begins on Monday, Nov. 6, when the ‘Cuse will host New Hampshire.

Westry has been anticipated to be a big contributor to Syracuse basketball in the upcoming stanza, particularly given his versatility to suit up at point guard, shooting guard and small forward. With the Orange having a tough non-conference docket early on in 2023-24, Westry not being able to play is a bummer.

However, the ‘Cuse backcourt is still filled with athleticism, depth and versatility. Leading the way are presumed starters Judah Mintz, a sophomore point guard, and J.J. Starling, a sophomore guard who transferred this off-season from Notre Dame to the Orange.

Besides Mintz and Starling, the ‘Cuse backcourt includes sophomore guard/small forward Justin Taylor, sophomore guard/small forward Quadir Copeland and redshirt sophomore guard Kyle Cuffe Jr., a transfer from Kansas.

At recent ‘Cuse events, Copeland has performed quite well, according to SU Athletics and other media reports. Autry has said that Copeland’s jump-shot is looking better and better.

Taylor, to me, is a super solid player. He’s athletic and strong. He can shoot it from deep. He’s an underrated defender and rebounder. With Westry out, I envision Copeland and Taylor seeing their minutes increase, and that could also hold true for Cuffe, an explosive athlete.

Sophomore small forward Chris Bell started a lot of games in 2022-23, and I assume he will be in the starting rotation at the onset of the upcoming term. Autry has maintained that he will have multiple guys on the court at a time who can facilitate, shoot it well, and handle the ball.

In this sort of “position-less” basketball, perhaps Bell could also suit up at guard, much like players including Copeland and Taylor could play on the wing as small forwards, too.

To summarize, I want Chance Westry to get back to 100 percent health as soon as possible, and he’s in my thoughts. Losing him, at least for some period of time in 2023-24, does sting, but I do believe the Syracuse basketball backcourt will still prove a strength for the Orange in the upcoming stanza.

Next. Seeing Kiyan Anthony, Carmelo in Syracuse basketball jerseys is glorious. dark