Five freshmen joined the Syracuse basketball program last season. Of the five, Tyler Ennis was the only one to play a significant role for the Orange. Ron Patterson, Tyler Roberson and B.J. Johnson combined to play 271 minutes, compared to the 1,215 minutes Ennis logged.
The one freshman who didn’t appear in a single contest due to an NCAA rule was Chinonso Obokoh. However, he was allowed to practice. According to Donna Ditota of Syracuse.com, the 6-foot-9 Okoboh has taken advantage of the facilities, transforming his body from a 170-pound senior at Rochester’s Bishop Kearney High to a 215-pound center.
Obokoh told Ditota that he does 500 pushups throughout the day. During one practice, and NBA scout referred to him as “chiseled.”
Obokoh’s commitment to develop as a post presence is a promising sign the Orange, especially given the fact that the team will not know the status of DaJuan Coleman until November. The starting center missed the final 19 games after undergoing season-ending knee surgery.
The Orange do return Rakeem Christmas, who 5.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in his starting role last season. However, Syracuse’s interior took a hit with the loss of C.J. Fair, Baye Moussa Keita and Jerami Grant.
“He’s a very good rim protector. His strength right now is his defense,” Syracuse assistant coach Mike Hopkins told Ditota. “He’s different from Baye, who was a runner, a gangly Spiderman. Chino is physical and (can provide) shot-blocking and rebounding.”
Syracuse begins the season against Kennesaw State on Nov. 14 inside the Carrier Dome.