Syracuse’s front court just took a major hit with the announcement that DaJuan Coleman will miss the next 4-6 weeks after left knee surgery.
Coleman has been the Orange’s secondary threat down low. The 6-9, 288-pound freshman is averaging 5.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game this season. Though he’s struggled as of late, scoring just nine points in his last five games, averaging 6.2 minutes per game.
He’s definitely shown flashes that he can follow in the footsteps of players like Arinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson has high-level big men who develop over their careers.
Without Jackson, coach Jim Boeheim is going to lose depth in the middle of that 2-3 Zone, defensively. Rakeem Christmas and Baye Keita (a combined 10.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game) will see increased minutes, as will Jerami Grant.
The bad news? This brings the Orange to just seven scholarship players. Maybe Boeheim can call Rick Ray at Mississippi State and ask for some advice.
The Orange didn’t really have an elite big man this season. They’ve been going with that three-man rotation, anyway. So now it just turns into a two-man rotation. Tough math, I know.
Coleman was by-far the biggest of the big bodies for Syracuse, and his absence may allow some teams to go bigger if allowed. Teams like Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and St. John’s come to mind, and they just happen to be the Orange’s next three opponents. Only the Panthers are on the road, however.
The interesting thing for Syracuse’s standpoint will see how it affects Michael Carter-Williams. James Southerland is still out with the academic issue, now it’s Coleman. Who does MCW get more involved now as the facilitator? And will they slide into an already-determined role or create their own to accompany Carter-Williams?