Jerami Grant is a name that has popped up on a number of breakout player lists heading into the 2013-2014 season, but the sophomore forward has had a couple of setbacks this offseason that may hinder his ability to produce the way he would like.
The 6-foot-8 forward made the cut for the U19 team, but he couldn’t accept his spot thanks to a bout of mono that he dealt with.
That wasn’t it, however.
Syracuse kicked off their practices three weeks ago, but due to a hand injury, Grant didn’t really find himself in the full swing of things until last week.
The injuries have been frustrating, but the 13.3 points and 7.8 boards he averaged during a swing through Canada have helped him combat some of those concerns. From Mike Waters of the Syracuse-Post Standard:
“(He) played well,” Boeheim said. “He’s improved. He’s worked on his game. He’s a much-improved player. I think he’s still got a lot of things he can do to get better and will.”
Grant returned to practice last week and he’s already turning heads.
“I think (the injury) set him back a little bit,” SU assistant coach Adrian Autry said, “but I think the last two or three practices he’s started to get back into form. He’s starting to look the way he did at the end of the Canadian trip.”
Syracuse will head into the season as one of the favorites to win the ACC title, but there are some concerns on that roster. Obviously, how the Orange will be able to replace point guard Michael Carter-Williams is the biggest, but there are also question marks up front. C.J. Fair returns, but after that there is quite a bit of athleticism but not a lot of proven talent.
Grant’s ability to improve as a sophomore and become a guy that can provide interior scoring, energy and rebounding will play a big role in the success the Orange have this year.