2012--13 RECORD 30--10 BIG EAST 11--7 (T-5TH) WHAT'S BACK MINUTES: 52.8% POINTS: 47.7% REBOUNDS: 56.2%
From Pearl Washington to Jason Hart to Sherman Douglas to Jonny Flynn to Michael Carter-Williams, Jim Boeheim has guided plenty of precocious point guards in his 37 seasons at Syracuse. Add Tyler Ennis to that group. Says Boeheim, "He's probably the most advanced freshman I've coached in terms of running a ball club."
Ennis won't score like Pearl, defend like Hart or dish like Douglas—at least not right away. But his basketball savvy is exactly what the Orange need as they enter the ACC without backcourt mainstays Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche.
With no capable backup, Ennis will play at least 38 minutes a game. He's comfortable as a distributor, having played AAU ball with such top talent as Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins, but the Brampton, Ont., native can score if needed. He led all players at the FIBA U-19 Championships this summer, with 20.9 points per game.
Boeheim predicts his frontcourt will be even better than it was last season, when Syracuse reached the Final Four. Senior forward C.J. Fair is the ACC preseason player of the year; sophomore wing Jerami Grant should be a breakout star after polishing his jumper; and bruisers DaJuan Coleman (280 pounds) and Rakeem Christmas (250) will anchor the low post. "Tyler understands that he's playing with really good players," Boeheim says, "and he gets them involved."
Ennis says he went unrecognized around campus before classes started, but now everyone asks, "Are you the new point guard?" If he also stands out on the court, the Orange will have a sixth straight season with at least 27 wins. Boeheim, who turns 69 this month, has been energized by the move from the Big East to the ACC, and he does Pilates twice a week to stay in shape. With so much core strength returning, a solid year by Ennis should produce familiar results.
Projected Lineup (2012--13 STATS)
PG TYLER ENNIS‚Ä†
FR. 6'2" 21.1 PPG 5.1 APG
SG TREVOR COONEY
SOPH. 6'4" 3.4 PPG 0.6 APG
SF C.J. FAIR*
SR. 6'8" 14.5 PPG 7.0 RPG
PF DAJUAN COLEMAN*
SOPH. 6'9" 4.8 PPG 4.0 RPG
C RAKEEM CHRISTMAS*
JR. 6'9" 5.1 PPG 4.6 RPG
F JERAMI GRANT
SOPH. 6'8" 3.9 PPG 3.0 RPG
G MICHAEL GBINIJE‚Ä°
SOPH. 6'7" 1.7 PPG 0.2 APG
‚Ä†HIGH SCHOOL STATS
‚Ä°2011--12 DUKE STATS
JIM BOEHEIM (38TH SEASON)
SI What can we expect from ACC preseason player of the year C.J. Fair?
JB C.J. was our leading scorer and rebounder without really getting the ball a lot. Each year he puts it on the floor and shoots better. He'll have a breakout year.
SI Your offense hasn't run through the frontcourt since Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku in 2009--10. Will you pound it inside a bit more?
JB Last year we went a long ways without getting much inside. I think we're going to make more of an effort to do that with this group. DaJuan Coleman and Rakeem Christmas and Baye Keita are all better. Fair is still going to be a focal point.
SI You've averaged 29.8 wins for the past five years. Is this your best run?
JB This has been the best talent and success that we've had. Previously we were around 24 wins, which is a significant difference. I just think it's been the consistency of the program. [And] the move to the ACC helps recruiting.
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ROUND OF 32
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (BOEHEIM)
MARK KONEZNY/USA TODAY SPORTS (ENNIS)
ROBERT BECK/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (MASCOT)