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.
After missing Syracuse’s comfortable wins over Loyola (MD) and Holy Cross with an abdominal strain, 6-foot-8 sophomore forward Tyler Roberson made his return to the lineup Tuesday night in the Orange’s 68-65 loss to Michigan. Roberson played just 12 minutes Tuesday night, scoring five points and grabbing one rebound.
Thursday Roberson discussed the impact the injury had on him from a mobility standpoint, according to Donna Ditota of the Syracuse Post-Standard.
“I was trying to play through it early in the season but I felt like I wasn’t so effective,” he said. “So I decided to sit out some games. The injury prevented me from being explosive, or really running full-speed, so I was basically like playing almost halfway out there.”
Senior Rakeem Christmas and freshman Chris McCullough, who are also the team’s top two scorers, will lead the way in the front court for Syracuse. But given the lack of a bonafide “star” the Orange will need contributions from a number of players if they’re to contend in the ACC.
One of the supplementary options is Roberson, who through five games is averaging 6.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per contest. He’s one of three reserves averaging between 6.2 and 6.7 points per game, with guards Michael Gbinije and B.J. Johnson being the others.
Syracuse defeated Holy Cross, 72-48, without the services of starting small forward Tyler Roberson for the second straight game.
The Orange travel to Ann Arbor on Tuesday night for their ACC/Big Ten Challenge against No. 19 Michigan. Entering that contest, the status of Roberson remains unknown, according to Donna Ditota of Syracuse.com.
“I have no idea,” Jim Boeheim told reporters when asked about Roberson’s availability on Tuesday.
Roberson has been sidelined with a strained muscle for Syracuse’s wins against Loyola (MD) and Holy Cross. Syracuse is still dealing with the absence of Dajuan Coleman, who has not played this season.
“He practiced for a few minutes the other day and was good. And then after 30-40 minutes, he was hurt,” Boeheim said. “It’s just a strain. That’s all it is. Nothing serious.”
The sophomore forward is averaging 6.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in his expanded role this season. Fellow sophomore B.J. Johnson has filled in his role as starter over the last two games.