Sunday, December 16, 2007

Devendorf Out

Junior Guard Eric Devendorf is now out for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee that occurred in the lopsided win over East Tennessee State on Saturday night, per a report by Donna Ditota in the Post Standard.

This means that Syracuse now has five new starters from last years team. Making things worse is the apparent loss of Josh Wright from the team, along with losing Andy Rautins last summer with his own torn ACL injury. Think how quickly things turn. Last May the Orange had three returning guards with a lot of experience, plus two extremely hyped freshman coming into the squad. Much of the talk was about who would be the starting two, and message boards had mixed results with any combination of the five being projected. Everyone acknowledged how crowded it was going to be.

Well, seven months later… and Syracuse is down to only two guards, both freshman. Syracuse has already been playing with a very thin rotation; now it is even thinner.

The knee jerk response is to now say Scoop Jardine will start at the shooting guard. And that may very well happen. Unfortunately, Jardine is not a perimeter shooter… he’s more of a drive to the hoop player. It may be possible that the coach Jim Boeheim does the following: move Paul Harris from forward to shooting guard, shift Donte Greene from the power forward to the small forward, and insert Rick Jackson into the starting five at the power forward.

That would give Syracuse a big team on the court, and Jackson has played well as of late. Greene really is more of a small forward in a big body, much like Carmelo Anthony was in 2003. I haven’t seen Jackson play enough to comment on his defensive abilities. Harris at the guard position would be an upgrade to Devo on defense. Perhaps this injury makes the Orange a stronger defensive team.

It clearly hurts the Orange on offense. Devo provided leadership on the court, ball handling, and was able to score from the perimeter and drive to the hoop. Anytime you lose your 2nd leading scorer, that’s going to hurt. And regardless if he starts or not, Jardine is going to see significantly more playing time, so let us hope he is ready.

The thin bench does beg the question of what Boeheim is going to do about his redshirt players. Devin Brennan-McBride hasn’t played in the regular season because of a shoulder injury and the team wanted to hold Sean Williams out so he could develop. I’m not sure if Syracuse can afford to have that luxury. Mike Williams did come over from the football team, and join the squad to help give some much needed depth at guard. I don’t know if the football squad has any more former high school basketball standouts, willing to commit some time to basketball or not.

I do think that Boeheim is going to have to find some bodies somewhere, even if it is just to have enough guys to scrimmage in practice. If the team were to get in foul trouble in a game, it wouldn’t have enough guys to even put out on the court.

Syracuse will have a couple of weeks of play in its remaining out of conference schedule to put some rotations together. It will definitely be an interesting time.

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