Tuesday SMU head coach Larry Brown became the second coach this year to be suspended by the NCAA as a result of NCAA violations that occurred on his watch. Brown’s suspension, which will run for 30 percent of the Mustangs’ games, begins with the team’s season-opener November 13. And that’s in addition to the postseason ban handed down by the NCAA.
That differs from the punishment handed down to Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim in March, with the NCAA ruling that he has to sit out his team’s first nine ACC game as a result of NCAA rules violations.
With that being the case it was reported Wednesday by ESPN.com that Boeheim would be appealing his suspension. However, according to Donna Ditota of the Syracuse Post-Standard Boeheim will not be filing a second appeal of his suspension. That’s because the initial appeal has yet to be heard, with the expectation being that a ruling will come at some point in November.
Boeheim and the school appealed the penalties handed down by the NCAA in April.
How the NCAA rules on the appeal will be interesting, although it should be noted that Syracuse’s case differs from that of SMU. While the SMU men’s basketball investigation focused on academic fraud committed to get one player (Keith Frazier) qualified, Syracuse’s case was far more wide-reaching in scope.
But even with that being the case, both coaches will miss approximately 30 percent of their team’s games. The difference: Boeheim’s nine-game suspension falls at a more critical point in the season than Brown’s.
When programs lose scholarships as part of NCAA sanctions the top-end talent isn’t impacted all that much, especially in the case of a program such as Syracuse’s men’s basketball. Where the impact is felt is in recruiting, where there’s far less room for misevaluations of talent, and in depth.
Issues such as foul trouble and injuries, which in most instances can be navigated with a full allotment of scholarships, become a greater problem when working with fewer than 13 athletic grants-in-aid.
This makes the play of players such as versatile 6-foot-9 freshman forward Tyler Lydon of high importance for the Orange, as they look to contend in the ACC in 2015-16. Lydon’s ability to play a variety of roles in the front court will be key for Syracuse this season, as noted by Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Standard.
Whether or not Lydon starts, he will play. A lot. Not just because he’s good (he is), but also because he’s so versatile.
He could be the small forward in a lineup with returning power forward Tyler Roberson and junior center Dajuan Coleman. He could be a stretch four in a smaller lineup. And it’s possible that he could become the center when SU coach Jim Boeheim decides to go with a three-forward look.
With Rakeem Christman and Chris McCullough in the NBA and Moustapha Diagne not being cleared to enroll, Syracuse isn’t all that deep in the front court. And with DaJuan Coleman having dealt with injuries throughout his career, it remains to be seen just how much he can give the Orange in 2015-16.
Junior Tyler Roberson is the known commodity at this time, as he accounted for 8.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest last season. Who else steps forward alongside Roberson will have a major impact on Syracuse’s fortunes. Lydon is the one front court player with the skill and versatility needed to help the Orange in multiple roles.
Karl Malone is in town for the Syracuse and LSU football game to support his son, Tigers offensive lineman K.J. Malone. But the former NBA MVP and Hall of Famer also took some time to stop by the men’s basketball practice facility to speak a bit with the Orange on Saturday.
On the Twitter feed of Syracuse assistant coach Mike Hopkins is a brief video and photo of Malone’s visit to the Melo Center.
A cool moment for Syracuse to get some advice from one of the best and most consistent players in recent NBA history.