Syracuse Loses Jerami Grant
The news is out by now… the 2014-2015 Syracuse basketball team will be without Jerami Grant, who has decided to take his potential to the NBA. The Confidential will take a deeeeeep breath and not analyze just how much this confirms everything that is wrong with the NBA right now. Needless to say, if the NBA is going to draft Jerami Grant in the 15-20 range, he is wise to go now and cash in on the NBA foolishness. But what does it do for Syracuse?
The returning starters for Syracuse are center Rakeem Christmas and shooting guard Trevor Cooney. This is a mere fraction of the offensive output for the team. There are plenty of holes to fill, that’s for sure. But the cupboard is not bare and nobody should feel sorry for Jim Boeheim. He has plenty of talent coming in and on the bench.
What IS new is that Syracuse fans will not have certainty as to how the team will look until November. The fans will–or at least should–have tempered expectations.
People forget that the 2003 season was not supposed to be a great one for Syracuse. Syracuse started unranked, having lost Preston Shumpert to graduation in the offseason. All that happened was a national title.
In 1995-1996, Syracuse was forced to play without Lawrence Moten, who had graduated. The team started unranked. All that happened was a loss in the championship game.
Even in 1986-1987, Syracuse was forced to play without Rafael Addison–who graduated as the team’s #2 scorer (7 points behind Dave Bing–had he not been injured as a Senior, Addison would have crushed the record and one can only wonder how much he would have scored with the three-pointer)… as well as the iconic Pearl Washington and steady Wendell Alexis. Although Syracuse did start the season ranked at #15, the expectations were fairly low and a championship game loss exceeded expectations.
- Loss of #8 all-time scorer Preston Shumpert to graduation: Championship.
- Loss of #1 all-time scorer Lawrence Moten to graduation: Championship Game loss
- Loss of then-#2 and now #10 all-time scorer Rafael Addison to graduation (along with Pearl and Alexis): Championship Game loss.
Yes, the loss of CJ Fair to graduation will hurt. The loss of Ennis, Grant, and Keita will hurt too. But anyone worrying too much about 2014-2015 would be well served to look at the historical patterns. Just when you think Syracuse is going to struggle, Jim Boeheim can do his best coaching job and make a deep run.
The difference for Syracuse fans will be that they will not have to worry about what AP voter did not rank them #1 in January. The difference for Syracuse fans might be a team that is not making headlines two months before it matters. If the team comes together, it will come together late and at the right time. Instead of an upset loss in March, perhaps Syracuse can do the upsetting. As UConn just showed, the seeds do not matter. The performance does.