Syracuse Basketball: Keep grinding, Chance Westry. You got this.

Guard Chance Westry, who has yet to play this season for Syracuse basketball, put out a post on X that caught my attention.
Guard Chance Westry, who has yet to play this season for Syracuse basketball, put out a post on X that caught my attention. / Rich Barnes/GettyImages

Sophomore guard Chance Westry, who has yet to play this season for Syracuse basketball due to a lower-body injury that he suffered prior to the 2023-24 campaign getting underway, put out a post on his X page on Tuesday afternoon.

In that social media post, he can be seen putting up some shots, and he wrote, “Patience is what you make it. 1%.”

All I can say is, keep on grinding, Chance. You are going to come back stronger than ever, and Orange Nation loves you.

Injuries are a part of sports, and it will always be that way. But in the case of the 6-foot-6, 190-pound Westry, it does break my heart what he’s had to endure so far in his injury-plagued collegiate career.

The Harrisburg, Pa., native was a long-time recruiting target of the ‘Cuse coaching staff while in high school, but he committed Southeastern Conference school Auburn. In his freshman year for the Tigers, Westry only appeared in 11 games as he dealt with a knee injury.

Then Chance Westry decided to head to Syracuse basketball.

Following his freshman stanza in 2022-23, Westry elected to enter the transfer portal. He was rated a four-star college transfer, and once he hit the portal, the Orange was one of numerous teams to reach out to him.

A former four-star, top-40 national prospect in the 2022 class, Westry had been recruited early on in his high school days by ‘Cuse coaches, and those relationships, including with first-year head coach Adrian Autry and associate head coach Gerry McNamara, undeniably played a huge role in him making a move to the Hill for his sophomore year.

In mid-September of 2023, Westry said in part to TJ Smith of PennLive, “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.”

I believed what Chance said in that interview. I, too, felt he was going to have an immediate impact for the Orange in 2023-24, even if he was coming off the bench in Autry’s rotation.

Westry, for years, has been described by recruiting analysts, scouts and coaches as being a versatile two-way player who is highly athletic, possesses great court vision and gets after it on the defensive end.

I figured that fellow sophomores Judah Mintz and J.J. Starling would comprise the team’s starting backcourt at the onset of 2023-24, but at the same time, I adamantly felt that Westry would earn significant minutes, whether as a guard or out on the wing as a small forward.

Then, in late October, Syracuse basketball said via its X page, “Chance Westry suffered a lower body injury in practice on Thursday that will require a procedure. He will be out indefinitely.”

That crushed me, especially given how hard he had worked to come back from an injury in his freshman season at Auburn. However, I remained hopeful that Westry would see the court in 2023-24.

In early December, Autry said he was “hopeful” to have Westry back “sometime in January.” In late December, though, the Orange head coach said he had no timeline for a possible Westry return, adding, “I’m not even hopeful.”

At this juncture, I don’t think that Westry is going to play at all in 2023-24, but that’s just my own opinion. I hope that I’m wrong.

Autry, whose line-up appeared to have strong depth ahead of the current term commencing, is down several players after starting 2023-24 with the maximum 13 on scholarship before this season began.

Besides Westry, junior center Naheem McLeod, a transfer from Florida State, is out for the remainder of 2023-24 due to a foot injury. Not too long ago, junior forward Benny Williams was dismissed from the program.

Freshman center William Patterson is likely to take a redshirt this season. Sophomore center Peter Carey didn’t play last Saturday against Clemson at home due to an upper-body injury that he suffered in a recent practice.

Then, prior to the ‘Cuse hosting No. 7 North Carolina on Tuesday night, the squad said via X that Carey would not dress against the Tar Heels because he “is in concussion protocol.”

That’s a lot for Autry and his staff to overcome, being without five players. But like I said, injuries are a part of sports. It stinks, but it’s also reality.

As it pertains to Chance Westry, I’ve been high on him for numerous years, pretty much ever since Syracuse basketball coaches offered him a scholarship back in the summer of 2019 – his first from a high-major program.

He’s been through a lot in his two years at the collegiate level, and I’m rooting for him to shine on the Hill.

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