The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball program will hit the hardcourt for the first time together for the 2012-13 season when they take on NCAA Division II opponent, the Pace Setters, at the Carrier Dome.
Guard Trevor Cooney is coming off of his redshirt year and will have an opportunity to show his skill this season. Cooney is most well known for his ability to connect from deep.
With no definitive sharp shooter going into this season, Cooney could be called upon to handle a bulk of the work from beyond the arc.
Forwards Jerami Grant and DaJuan Coleman are true freshmen. Typically, you do not see players coming in immediately get opportunities, but Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim believes both of these players are ready.
Without Kris Joseph and Fab Melo, there will be a need for rebounding and positive play close to the rim, opening up places for both Grant and Coleman.
In the backcourt, guards Brandon Triche and Michael-Carter Williams will have more chances to make impacts in games with Scoop Jardine and Dion Waiters no longer with the Orange.
Triche and Williams have proven that they can pass the ball, but now both will also need to make up for the points that Jardine and Waiters covered.
Williams will see the largest increase of the two, after playing sporadically last season.
In the frontcourt, forwards C.J. Fair and James Southerland have shown that they can make the shot away from the basket, but consistency is the key word for them this season.
The Orange will also look for them to improve their inside games and exhibit more tenacity in the lane in getting to the rim to score and also for second-chance opportunities.
With Fair and Southerland is second-year forward Rakeem Christmas. Christmas had some experience starting last season, but was not used for long periods of time in most games. However, when stepping up in Melo’s absence, Christmas and teammate, center Baye Keita, were able to fill some of the void.
Keita has been known as a defender more than a double-threat player going into this season, leaving Christmas as the more viable offensive option between the two, despite his limited time on the court.
Fans were ready for the start of the basketball season when the buzzer rang on Syracuse’s quest for the final four earlier this year. Now, fans have an opportunity to see the Orange sans Jardine, Waiters, Joseph, and Melo.
On-lookers will also enter the Dome for the final season that Syracuse will be known as a member of the Big East Conference, as they prepare to join the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.
Exhibition or not, fans will be cheering on the team, calling out to their favorite players, criticizing officials, and experiencing something you just cannot get anywhere else but inside the walls of that big white marshmallow.