Syracuse Basketball: Analyzing SU's 2024-25 roster, assessing biggest remaining needs

After the addition of 4-star transfer Lucas Taylor, we analyze the Syracuse basketball roster and assess the biggest needs.
After the addition of 4-star transfer Lucas Taylor, we analyze the Syracuse basketball roster and assess the biggest needs. / Rich Barnes/GettyImages

Syracuse basketball coaches are likely nearing the finish line as it pertains to finalizing their roster for the upcoming 2024-25 season.

A few days ago, the Orange staff added another versatile guard for the next term when Georgia State junior Lucas Taylor, a four-star prospect, said he would transfer to the 'Cuse for his senior year.

That development gives the Orange a total of 11 scholarship players when I wrote this article. Eight guys from the 2023-24 campaign are gone, with seven hitting the portal and sophomore point guard Judah Mintz pursuing a professional career.

Five players from last season are expected to return. The Syracuse basketball 2024 recruiting class includes two high school seniors and four college transfers. This means that Orange coaches still have two open scholarships available for 2024-25.

Let's analyze the Syracuse basketball roster and discuss what potential needs remain.

Here is the current 2024-25 roster:

Sophomore J.J. Starling
Sophomore Chance Westry (likely can also play small forward)
Redshirt sophomore Kyle Cuffe Jr.
Junior Jaquan Carlos, a transfer from Hofstra
Incoming freshman Elijah Moore
Junior Lucas Taylor, a transfer from Georgia State (likely can also play small forward)

Sophomore Chris Bell
Senior Jyáre Davis, a transfer from Delaware
Incoming freshman Donnie Freeman (could possibly play spot minutes at center)

Senior Eddie Lampkin Jr., a transfer from Colorado
Junior Naheem McLeod

On paper, the 'Cuse backcourt is filled with depth and versatility. Starling, a starter in 2023-24, can play both point guard and shooting guard. Westry, who didn't play at all last season because of an injury, can likely suit up at both guard spots and at small forward. The same applies to Taylor.

Cuffe could contend for more minutes in 2024-25, and we all know that Moore can light it up from the perimeter. My assumption, at this juncture, is that the starting backcourt will consist of Starling and Carlos.

At small forward, Bell is a 3-point specialist who started last year and should be in the starting rotation yet again in 2024-25. Davis is a veteran player who can play both small forward and power forward.

Either he or Freeman will start, and the five-star Freeman could also potentially play some minutes here and there at center if need be. As I noted earlier, it's possible that both Westry and Taylor, given their strong frames, can play some small forward, too.

This brings us to the center group. Lampkin is the presumed starter. McLeod was the Orange's starting center in 2023-24, but he only appeared in 14 games due to an injury. He's a solid back-up.

It's tough to know exactly how this 2024-25 roster will fare, given how many guys left after last season and also due to the team bringing in a 2024 recruiting class of at least six players.

Since it's getting to be relatively late in the off-season recruiting cycle for 2024-25, I don't think it's any guarantee that the Syracuse basketball staff will end up having 13 scholarship players for the next term.

But it's certainly possible that 'Cuse coaches could bring on board at least one more player, if not two. To me, and I'm not alone in this sentiment, the two biggest remaining needs for the Orange are landing another big man who can play power forward and center, and also picking up another 3-point sniper out on the wing.

As it pertains to a big man, I'll just note that as it stands now, the team only has two true centers on the 2024-25 roster, and McLeod is coming off an injury.

Regarding my comment about securing another 3-point shooter, Bell was one of the top long-range specialists in the Atlantic Coast Conference a season ago. Moore is a highly touted 3-point shooter, but he's also an incoming freshman.

My hope is that Starling will continue to improve from beyond the arc. Transfers Taylor and Carlos were solid from the perimeter a term ago. Freeman, in his senior year of high school, has significantly improved his 3-point shot, experts say.

Still, beyond Bell, I wouldn't necessarily say that this Orange 2024-25 roster is filled with deep threats. The main dilemma here is that finding both a big man and a wing player who shoots well from 3-point land this late in the off-season recruiting cycle won't be so easy.

Landing Taylor was big. I like this 2024-25 roster. Let's see if 'Cuse coaches make any more additions before next season commences.

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