20 Questions: How Will Syracuse Handle Depth at the Point Guard Position?

Posted by Bennet Hayes on October 15th, 2013

As usual, there will be no shortage of talent at Syracuse this season, but that’s not to say Jim Boeheim won’t be facing challenges with his newest collection of talent. A dearth of capable ball-handlers looms as the biggest hole in this Orange roster, meaning freshman Tyler Ennis better be ready to handle point guard duties from the get-go.  Still, even if Ennis is prepared to carry the load – and his prep resume would indicate that he is – the absence of a natural backup to the freshman is both puzzling and potentially problematic. One would think that finding a backup in the mold of a Spike Albrecht – a role player capable of playing five to 10 minutes a game at the point (dazzling title game shooting displays, optional) — wouldn’t be especially difficult for a program with as much reach as the Orange, and yet here we are in mid-October, with Duke transfer and natural wing Michael Gbinije resting second on the point guard depth chart. Mike Waters – a man quite familiar with the happenings around the Syracuse program – posited a few theories for why Boeheim is okay with that situation last week, but I’m not quite as eager to let Boeheim off the hook on this one.

Coach Jim Boeheim And The Rest Of The Orange Will Lean Heavily On Tyler Ennis This Season

Coach Jim Boeheim And The Rest Of The Orange Will Lean Heavily On Tyler Ennis This Season

Waters notes that Syracuse isn’t in the habit of recruiting backups, but in this era of the one-and-done superstar, we are seeing more elite programs stockpile talent throughout their rotations. Kentucky is the best example of this phenomenon, but top recruits across the country appear increasingly willing to bet on the stars starting above them to leave early for the NBA. So no, I don’t think tasking one of the best recruiters in the game with bringing in a well-regarded backup is an impossible challenge.

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20 Questions: Can Andrew Wiggins Possibly Live Up to the Hype?

Posted by Chris Johnson on October 14th, 2013

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Throughout the preseason, RTC national columnists will answer the 20 most compelling questions heading into the 2013-14 season.  

The spotlight Andrew Wiggins will face over the next six months will be unlike anything any college basketball player has ever experienced. Not only is Wiggins being hyped as the best college player since Kevin Durant, he is doing so in an age where a powerful combination of social and online media has – before Wiggins ever plays a single minute of college basketball – catapulted the already insane expectations about his first season to stratospheric heights. Wiggins is, by all accounts, an exceptional talent. Scouts rave about his athleticism, versatility and defensive potential. They see the most physically gifted high school basketball player since LeBron James. And over the next six months, maybe Wiggins will prove to be everything smart basketball people think he can be: a generational, franchise-altering, cant-miss superstar.

The hype surrounding Andrew Wiggins will be deafening (Getty Images).

The hype surrounding Andrew Wiggins will be deafening (Getty Images).

Or maybe he won’t. The expectations are already so high, it’s almost impossible to think he can be what everyone expects. Early reports out of Kansas are that Wiggins may not even be the best player on his own team right now. Drawing conclusions from preseason practice is silly; Wiggins should, and probably will, be Kansas’ best player in 2013-14. That title carries its own set of expectations: Can Wiggins extend the Jayhawks’ nine-year conference championship streak? Will coach Bill Self be able to use Wiggins to help elevate a team replacing five starters deep into March? More challenging is how other teams and players will view Wiggins. Every time Wiggins takes the floor, the guys lining up on the other side of the court will have one goal in mind: stop Andrew Wiggins. It’s inevitable; everyone will want a piece of the “next LeBron,” will want to guard him, to shut him down, to dunk on him, to jeer him every time he touches the ball. It will become something like its own game-within-the-game: Everyone will be coming after Andrew Wiggins.

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