Schwedelson: Poof. Where did all that depth go?

first_img Published on December 18, 2016 at 10:41 pm Facebook Twitter Google+ We all imagined the possibilities.Jim Boeheim with 10 players to cycle through? No way. Couldn’t be. Endless combinations.Fans drooled while projecting what the Hall of Fame coach could do. Boeheim usually worked with a six- or seven-man rotation. Now, he had ample weapons at his disposal with a bench so deep he could sub out every player on the court at once if he was that incensed with Syracuse’s play.“I think we will use nine or 10 guys,” Boeheim said at media day on Oct. 21. “I think we’ll be able to do some more things.”But Boeheim soon followed that up with a statement that foreshadowed the next five weeks.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to work,” he said. “… It’s going to take a while to fit all those things together.”On Saturday, the Orange suffered its fourth nonconference loss of the season, something that’s only happened once in the past 35 years. SU (6-4) finds itself sputtering after a 78-71 loss to Georgetown (7-4) and has yet to beat a major-conference opponent. The NCAA Tournament is still three months away, but Syracuse’s resumé is extremely weak with three games against inferior opponents until conference play begins.Ten games into the year, the Orange’s biggest issue is that its “depth,” lack of depth, or whatever else you want to call its current rotation, doesn’t even matter. Boeheim said it plainly on Saturday: “We’re not getting play out of enough guys.” With 10 players, with eight, with five. That depth depletion started early.Before the regular season even began, SU announced freshman forward Matthew Moyer would redshirt. Down to nine.Before Saturday’s game against Georgetown, redshirt sophomore center Paschal Chukwu underwent eye surgery. He’ll be sidelined for “a long time,” Boeheim said. Down to eight.Currently, freshman guard Tyus Battle is dealing with a left foot injury and senior forward Tyler Roberson has seen significantly less playing time than in the past two years because of a lack of offensive output.Poof. Syracuse is down to six.Jacob Greenfeld | Asst. Photo EditorThere’s still time to figure things out, but the Orange’s season is unfolding before our eyes. And while Syracuse’s depth has whittled down, a more important truth is surfacing: Depth only matters when those playing are producing.Among those in the rotation, Frank Howard and John Gillon are struggling to generate the offense, Tyler Lydon can’t find consistency, Taurean Thompson is only just growing comfortable playing at center, Dajuan Coleman provides limited offense and Andrew White needs to improve his shot selection.SU has lost four of its last six, including a last-second loss to Connecticut and a 17-point drubbing at the hands of Wisconsin. The Orange’s only impressive portion of play came when it outscored Boston University by 16 in the second half on Dec. 10.After the Orange snuck past North Florida by six on Dec. 3, Boeheim pointed to Duke. Four days prior, the Blue Devils had used just six players in a 78-69 win over Michigan State. Four players played 35 minutes or more.“If that’s what we have to do, that’s what we’ll do,” Boeheim said.But Syracuse isn’t Duke. The Orange doesn’t have six players for Boeheim to rely on.“It’s easy to coach if you have six guys,” Boeheim said after the BU win. “You just play ‘em. That’s it. When you have nine, you try to figure which guy can go in and help you. They get that opportunity and they’ve got to do something in that opportunity.”Far too often, SU’s players have failed to maximize those opportunities. For that reason, the Orange is left in a hole and will end the nonconference season without a single respectable victory.“Everybody wants instant success and perfection,” Andrew White said on Saturday, “and that’s something that we’re not right now.” Commentslast_img

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