Syracuse Basketball: Next season, the Orange roster is going to look quite different

A lot has to get sorted out, but one thing is clear - the Syracuse basketball roster will look a lot different next season.
A lot has to get sorted out, but one thing is clear - the Syracuse basketball roster will look a lot different next season. / Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse basketball didn't have any seniors on its roster in the recently completed 2023-24 season, but regardless, the Orange's line-up in the next term is going to be significantly revamped.

Now, given the explosion of the transfer portal and the NIL market, this will prove the case at many, many Division I teams around the country. So it's not like the 'Cuse is witnessing anything out of the "ordinary."

Still, it's a tad crazy to think what the portal has done to the college basketball landscape. The current transfer-portal window opened for business on Monday, March 18, and it will run for 45 days.

Already, the number of Division I players who have entered the portal is pretty astounding, and that includes multiple guys who were on the Orange's 2023-24 roster.

In recent days, a lot of my fellow fans have chimed in on social media and in chat rooms that they despise the transfer portal and NIL. Those two elements, among others, have ruined collegiate athletics, some 'Cuse fans say.

I get that sort of sentiment. I really do. But this is where we are today, and much like every other program out there, Syracuse basketball has to adjust to the ever-evolving landscape. What that means for the Orange coaching staff is continuing to recruit at the high school level while also remaining active in the portal.

Syracuse basketball, ahead of 2024-25, will experience a sizable roster make-over.

With the current portal window running until May 1, we simply don't know everything that will transpire when it comes to players departing the 'Cuse or coming into the program.

And I might add that guys who enter the portal can potentially return, assuming that's mutually agreed upon with a particular team's coaching staff.

At the time of this writing, four Syracuse basketball players from 2023-24 had either entered the portal or plan to, per media reports. They are sophomore center Peter Carey, sophomore guard/wing Justin Taylor, sophomore guard/wing Quadir Copeland, and junior forward Benny Williams, who was dismissed from the Orange program in early February.

Center Mounir Hima, this past stanza, was a fourth-year junior, and he participated in the squad's Senior Night ceremony during 2023-24. It wouldn't surprise me if he moves on.

That brings us to sophomore point guard Judah Mintz. He's not transferring to Georgetown (wink, wink), but I'd expect him to test the 2024 NBA Draft process, much as he did after his freshman season with Syracuse basketball. Ultimately, I'd say the likelihood of him coming back to the Hill for a junior year isn't great.

In 2023-24, the Orange had 13 scholarship players. What I just described above could result in up to six guys on this past season's roster departing. And it's entirely possible that other 2023-24 players could transfer out as well.

The remaining seven scholarship players are sophomore small forward Chris Bell, junior center Naheem McLeod, sophomore guard J.J. Starling, sophomore guard/wing Chance Westry, redshirt sophomore guard Kyle Cuffe Jr., sophomore big man Maliq Brown and freshman center William Patterson.

McLeod was the team's starting center in 2023-24, appearing in 14 games before suffering a season-ending injury. Westry didn't play at all due to injury. Patterson, too, didn't play at all, and he's expected to take a redshirt for 2023-24.

While this is solely my personal opinion, I expect Starling and Brown to return. The same goes for Cuffe, Brown and Patterson. I'm assuming that Bell and McLeod will come back, but if either or both transfers out, that wouldn't shock me.

In its 2024 recruiting class, Syracuse basketball brings in five-star power forward Donnie Freeman from Washington, D.C., and four-star shooting guard Elijah Moore from New York City.

Since the portal opened, Orange coaches have reached out to a couple of transfer prospects, according to national analysts. Assuming that Mintz leaves, I sense that the 'Cuse staff will want to grab a point guard out of the portal, as well as an experienced big man and perhaps a 3-point specialist who can suit up at guard or small forward out on the wing.

Available scholarships won't be an issue. It's a weird time in college basketball, especially with the transfer portal open amid March Madness ensuing (something that I despise).

In any event, buckle up my friends. A lot has to get sorted out as it pertains to the Syracuse basketball 2024-25 roster in the coming weeks and beyond. A line-up, I'll reiterate, that will look mightily different from this past season.

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