Villanova v Syracuse

DaJuan Coleman out 4-6 weeks after knee surgery

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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?

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. Follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

PHOTO: Ohio State’s new LeBron James shoe display

during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium on January 12, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.
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Ohio State has capitalized on its close relationship with NBA superstar LeBron James over the years and now has a new shoe display that should come in handy during recruiting.

The Buckeyes put out a tweet late this week with the display, calling themselves “THE LeBron school.” While this is something small, recruits like that the Buckeyes are tied into the best player in the world and it’s cool to them that Ohio State gets some exclusive gear.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.