With the conclusion of Syracuse's 2013-14 basketball season, two large questions loom over the offseason. One involves the status of forward Jerami Grant, and whether he bolts for a professional career or stays for his junior season with the Orange.
The most likely scenario is that Grant leaves. His NBA stock is very high right now, as general managers covet his elite athleticism. The improvement Grant showed from freshman to sophomore year indicate the type of upside he has at the next level.
Yes his game still needs work. In order to be successful in the league, Grant has to develop a more consistent mid-range jumper to keep defenses honest. That will open up his driving ability and make him an offensive weapon.
Multiple sources have informed CuseNation.com that Grant is gone and informed the coaching staff of his plans during the season. After Syracuse's loss to Dayton, however, Grant was non-committal on his decision.
"Nah, I haven't thought about it yet," Grant said.
That is unlikely. A player with so much potential who had such a strong sophomore season has to have thought about his future when every mock draft has him going in the NBA Lottery.
That type of money is hard to pass up, especially for a kid who saw his dad and uncle excel in the NBA.
Expect Grant to leave. That has been the case since his stock started rising earlier this season. So how does Syracuse respond to that development should it be the case?
The improvement of Tyler Roberson becomes even more critical. The ability of Chris McCullough to step in and play right away as a true freshman becomes vital to the success of next season's Orange squad.
Both are extremely talented. Roberson could take that freshman to sophomore jump that has been well documented at Syracuse. See Michael Carter-Williams or Grant as recent examples. Roberson's ability to take that same step is critical.
McCullough may be the most talented player on next season's team. His upside is tremendous, and offensive game extremely versatile. Head coach Jim Boeheim told McCullough during the recruiting process that he was the best recruit Syracuse has landed since Carmelo Anthony.
Are Anthony-like expectations fair? Absolutely not. But with losing Fair and Grant up front, his ability to become a major contributor is magnified that much more.
The good news is that McCullough can score from anywhere on the floor, and has the length and athleticism to be a force along the backline of the zone. But he will be a freshman, and you never know how they will react when they reach the division one level.
Grant Leaving Probability: 98%