Syracuse is going to need more help next season if they want to be successful in 2021. They have already gone to the transfer portal and swung and missed on Harvard forward Seth Towns and Columbia forward Patrick Tape. While yes it sucks they missed out on these guys, forward isn’t the biggest need for the Orange. They need guard help badly. The only guards they have on the roster for next year are Joe Girard, Buddy Boeheim and incoming freshman Kadary Richmond. That’s not going to cut it. So here are a few names that Syracuse should consider going after in the transfer portal.
Alex O’Connell, SG, Duke
This is someone Jim Boeheim and company should know pretty well. Alex O’Connell has spent the past three seasons in Durham playing for the Blue Devils. O’Connell was a Top 75 prospect coming out of high school and the Orange offered him a scholarship before he ultimately picked Duke. In his three seasons with Duke, O’Connell played in 101 games but only started in 14 of those games. This past season O’Connell averaged 5.2 points per game and shot 40% from the floor. O’Connell just got lost in the shuffle with the talent pipe line that is Duke. His strengths are primarily in his three point shooting. However this past season his three point field goal percentage took a slip as he only averaged 27% from behind the arc. But O’Connell makes a lot of sense for Syracuse. They already once recruited him, the coaching staff have seen him play the past three seasons at Duke, they just simply know O’Connell. Hopefully second time’s the charm and maybe Jim Boeheim can persuade O’Connell to come play in the Dome. (He also scored his career high in points vs Syracuse two years ago but let’s not talk about that).
Bryce Aiken, PG, Harvard
The Orange missed out once on the Harvard market, why not try again? Bryce Aiken is a graduate transfer who will be eligible to play next season. A four year starter for the Crimson, Aiken averaged 16.8 points, shot 40.6% from the floor and 34.7% from three point range. His senior season with Harvard ended on a bad note as he only played in seven games and missed most of the season due to a foot injury. Despite that, Aiken is an absolute must target. Aiken can play close to home as he’s a New Jersey native if that’s what he is looking for. Aiken is a dynamic scorer and even in just his junior season he averaged 22.2 points per game. There will be a lot of teams who are going to go after Aiken, but the Orange simply have to at least make their pitch he is just too good to ignore.
Tyrese Martin, SG, Rhode Island
This may be more of an underrated guy that could fit right into the Orange rotation. Martin spent two years at Rhode Island. This past season he had a break out year as he started in all 30 games and averaged 12.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Right now Syracuse hasn’t expressed interest in Martin at the moment, but hopefully that changes soon. Martin is starting caliber player who not only can shoot well but attack the glass as well. That kind of rebounding help can go a long way for Syracuse considering they have struggled the past few seasons to find a big man who can rebound at a constant rate. Plus Martin is native of Allentown, Pennsylvania so again, could play close to home if he wants to. All I will say is the Orange won’t need to worry about depth anymore if they can bring Martin in. This guy is talent Syracuse needs to go after now.
DJ Carton, PG, Ohio State
Okay I know this one is a long shot for Syracuse but I mean hey why not? Carton was the 34th best prospect in the Class of 2019 according to 247 Sports. In 20 games played with the Buckeyes, Carton averaged 10.8 points per game, shot 47.7% from the floor and 40% from three point range! It’s easy to see why he was such a highly rated prospect. Towards the end of the season, Carton announced he would be leaving the program as he was dealing with mental health issues.
Love my team and Ohio❤️ pic.twitter.com/Sjb3C9sZbJ
— DJ Carton (@DJCarton) January 31, 2020
Carton is an extremely talented player who is going to want to play for a program that will offer him starting time. Sadly Syracuse can’t offer him that unless Buddy Boeheim or Joe Girard head to the NBA. This is just me guessing, but if Carton is going anywhere it’s most likely Iowa or Iowa State as he is from Iowa and might want to be close to his family and support group. Maybe the Orange have 0% chance of getting him but it never hurts to at least try and see if he’s even a little bit interested.
At the end of the day Syracuse really needs guard help. They have a lot of time and there is no rush at the moment. But come time for the 2020-2021 season and the Orange don’t bring anyone else in, we could be looking at another hard to watch season.