Syracuse Basketball: 'Cuse could end up looking for one more center this off-season

Freshman William Patterson is entering the transfer portal, and Syracuse basketball may be on the hunt for another center.
Freshman William Patterson is entering the transfer portal, and Syracuse basketball may be on the hunt for another center. / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

Syracuse basketball may end up looking for an additional center this off-season ahead of the 2024-25 campaign.

Word broke on Thursday, per multiple media reports and social media posts, that freshman center William Patterson is entering the transfer portal.

Patterson, a 2023 three-star prospect who is from Brooklyn, N.Y., and suited up immediately before college at The Patrick School in Hillside, N.J., didn't play at all in the 2023-24 stanza for the 'Cuse, and the expectation is that he would take a redshirt for this past term. Now he's entering the portal, and I'm wishing William nothing but success moving forward.

The news on Patterson is the latest development as the Orange's roster experiences a significant overhaul this off-season. The current transfer-portal window opened on March 18 and will run for 45 days, meaning that college players who wish to transfer to a new school must be in the portal by the time this window closes on May 1.

At the time of this writing, at least seven guys from the Syracuse basketball 2023-24 roster have hit the portal, and sophomore point guard Judah Mintz is headed to the 2024 NBA Draft.

On the flip side, the 'Cuse 2024 incoming class includes two high school seniors and at least three college transfers. This means that the Orange could have up to three scholarships still open for the 2024-25 season.

If we're looking specifically at the squad's center position, the 'Cuse has two centers on next term's roster at this juncture, and it wouldn't surprise me if the Orange staff searches for one more center this off-season.

Syracuse basketball has witnessed several 2023-24 centers enter the portal.

Here's where things stand with the Orange 2024-25 roster, when I wrote this piece on Thursday afternoon.

Departing the Orange:
Sophomore point guard Judah Mintz, 2024 NBA Draft
Sophomore guard/wing Quadir Copeland, transfer portal
Sophomore guard/wing Justin Taylor, transfer portal (committed to James Madison)
Sophomore big man Maliq Brown, transfer portal (committed to Duke)
Sophomore center Peter Carey, transfer portal (committed to Siena)
Junior forward Benny Williams, transfer portal (committed to UCF)
Junior center Mounir Hima, transfer portal
Freshman center William Patterson, transfer portal

Returning to, or coming into, the 'Cuse:
Sophomore small forward Chris Bell
Sophomore guard/wing Chance Westry
Redshirt sophomore guard Kyle Cuffe Jr.
Junior center Naheem McLeod
Sophomore guard J.J. Starling
Senior center Eddie Lampkin Jr., a four-star transfer from Colorado
Junior point guard Jaquan Carlos, a four-star transfer from Hofstra
Senior forward Jyáre Davis, a four-star transfer from Delaware
Incoming freshman Donnie Freeman, a five-star power forward from Washington, D.C.
Incoming freshman Elijah Moore, a four-star shooting guard from New York City

For the moment, the Orange's 2024-25 roster has 10 players on it. Syracuse basketball coaches remain in pursuit of Mount St. Mary's senior combo guard Dakota Leffew, a four-star transfer, and SU has some analyst buzz for him.

But from the center standpoint, the 'Cuse has two centers in Lampkin and McLeod. Lampkin is the presumed starter at center for 2024-25. McLeod was the team's starting center last stanza, but he only appeared in 14 games before suffering a season-ending injury.

To me, and I'm not a basketball coach, but rolling with just two centers is a little dicey. Then again, Syracuse basketball could go a little "small" and perhaps put in Freeman at the center spot. However, he's more of a power forward and hasn't yet played at the collegiate level.

What if Lampkin or McLeod gets injured? What if either, or both, of them gets into foul trouble in a particular game? I'm speaking in hypotheticals here, but with scholarships still available, I could envision 'Cuse coaches mining the portal for a third center, or maybe even looking at the high school level.

The challenge for the Orange staff, though, is convincing a prospect to come on board as a third-string center, so to speak. Let's see how this all plays out.

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