WATCH NOW - Media Day Interview with Jim Boeheim
WATCH NOW - Media Day Interview with Scoop Jardine
WATCH NOW - Media Day Interview with Kris Joseph
The Big Picture: Syracuse has been among the college basketball elite seemingly forever, yet last season's accomplishments still were noteworthy even by the Orange's high standards. SU finished with a 30-5 record, set a school record with 28 regular-season wins and reached No. 1 in the national polls. With a 15-3 league record, the Orange won their first outright BIG EAST crown since 1990-91. Coach Jim Boeheim, who won BIG EAST Coach of the Year honors for the fourth time, posted his record 32nd 20-win season. In the last two years, SU has won 58 games. The Orange lost standouts Wes Johnson, Andy Rautins and Arinze Onuaku, but are expected to be strong again in 2010-11.
Who's Back: Forward Rick Jackson and guard Brandon Triche are the two returning starters, but forward Kris Joseph played starter's minutes (27.8) and was picked BIG EAST Sixth Man of the Year. The 6-7 Joseph averaged 10.8 points and 5.5 rebounds. Jackson, a rugged 6-9 senior, was third in the BIG EAST in field goal shooting, making 59.1 percent. He averaged 9.7 points and 7.0 boards. Triche earned starting duty as a freshman last year, though he split playing time at the point with Scoop Jardine. Triche averaged 8.1 ppg. Jardine, a 6-2 junior, averaged 9.1 ppg and a team-leading 4.3 assists. Forward Mookie Jones (5.8, 1.6) and center DaShonte Riley (1.4, 1.5) both played 17 minutes per game last year as freshmen. Classmate James Southerland (3.2, 1.2) played in 13 games.
Who's Missing: Forward Wes Johnson was the BIG EAST Player of the Year. The consensus all-American posted averages of 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. Guard Andy Rautins was an All-BIG EAST Second Team selection who averaged 12.1 points. He ranked second in the BIG EAST in steals (2.0) and third in assists (4.9). Center Arinze Onuaku, who missed the NCAA Championship games with a leg injury, averaged 10.5 points and 5.1 rebounds.
Storylines: The usually prolific Syracuse offense was up to standards last year. The team averaged 80.9 ppg and led the nation in field goal shooting, hitting at 51.6 percent. The returning cast has plenty of winning experience and the addition of 7-0 freshman Fabricio Melo may produce some immediate dividends. Freshman guard Dion Waiters, who is Jardine's cousin, is another highly-regarded rookie and has a reputation as a solid shooter. The other newcomers are 6-7 forward C.J. Fair and 6-10 Baye Moussa Keita.