Syracuse Basketball: Analyzing the Orange's front-court for the 2024-25 season

As Syracuse basketball lands a pledge from 4-star center transfer Eddie Lampkin Jr., we analyze the 'Cuse front-court.
As Syracuse basketball lands a pledge from 4-star center transfer Eddie Lampkin Jr., we analyze the 'Cuse front-court. / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

Syracuse basketball coaches appeared laser-focused on landing an experienced big man out of the transfer portal this cycle, and they got their man on Tuesday night.

Colorado senior center Eddie Lampkin Jr., rated as a four-star transfer by 247Sports, announced his commitment to the Orange via his Instagram page on Tuesday evening, bolster the 'Cuse front court ahead of the 2024-25 season.

The current transfer-portal cycle opened on Monday, March 18, and it will run for 45 days. To date, at least five players on the Syracuse basketball 2023-24 roster have decided to hit the portal, and they are sophomore power forward/center Maliq Brown, sophomore center Peter Carey, sophomore guard/wing Quadir Copeland, sophomore guard/wing Justin Taylor and junior forward Benny Williams, who was dismissed from the program in early February.

Additionally, the speculation is that sophomore point guard Judah Mintz will test the 2024 NBA Draft process, much as he did after his freshman year on the Hill, and he's not likely to return to the 'Cuse for his junior term. This past stanza, fourth-year junior Mounir Hima participated in the Orange's Senior Night ceremony, and I don't expect him to come back to the Orange either.

Syracuse basketball has a two-member 2024 class. Taking what I just noted into context, the 'Cuse could have seven guys gone this off-season, while bringing in three so far, including Lampkin.

Let's have a look at the Syracuse basketball front-court in the 2024-25 season.

If you remove the five players who have entered the portal, along with Mintz and Hima, here is what the Orange's roster consists of for the next term, as of today:
•Sophomore guard J.J. Starling
•Sophomore small forward Chris Bell
•Junior center Naheem McLeod
•Sophomore guard Chance Westry
•Redshirt sophomore guard Kyle Cuffe Jr.
•Freshman center William Patterson
Senior center Eddie Lampkin Jr.
•Incoming freshman power forward Donnie Freeman
•Incoming freshman shooting guard Elijah Moore

That's nine players, meaning the 'Cuse still has four open scholarships available. It's also possible that other current players could also transfer out, and I expect Syracuse basketball coaches to continue recruiting the portal for additional 2024-25 guys, including a point guard and a wing player.

If we're talking about the team's front-court, though, the Orange now has three centers in Lampkin, McLeod and Patterson, a five-star power forward in high school senior Freeman, and a wing player in Bell, who is more of a small forward at the three spot.

In 2023-24, when Syracuse basketball went 20-12 overall, McLeod was the starting center until he suffered a season-ending injury. He appeared in 14 games. I wouldn't pretend to know at this juncture if he or Lampkin would be in the starting rotation in 2024-25, however, this is a nice one-two punch.

Patterson is expected to take a redshirt this past season after not playing at all. He's more of a long-term development player but does hold promise. I assume Freeman, a top-10 national prospect in the 2024 cycle, will get the majority of minutes at power forward.

Assuming Bell doesn't hit the portal, he would be the presumed starter at the three position.

With four open scholarships, I expect the 'Cuse coaching staff to add a few more players, including a point guard and a forward who could potentially play the three and/or the four spot.

As I said earlier this week, losing Brown to the portal, in particular, is a rough blow for the Orange, but landing Lampkin was huge. I think the 'Cuse can be solid at the center spot with a combination of Lampkin and McLeod, and Patterson backing them up.

Bell and Freeman at small forward and power forward, respectively, are strong. Syracuse basketball grabbing another transfer at forward to back up either or both of those guys would prove key.

After seeing five Orange players go portaling, it was a dose of happy news on Tuesday night when Lampkin pledged to Syracuse basketball.

Syracuse Basketball: 4-star, top-40 national transfer averaging 17 PPG one to watch. dark. Next. Syracuse Basketball: 4-star, top-40 national transfer averaging 17 PPG one to watch