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How will Jim Boeheim integrate Syracuse men’s basketball freshmen into rotation?

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Editor’s note: With Syracuse’s first exhibition coming up on Nov. 1, this is the third installment of a five-part series analyzing the most interesting questions surrounding the Orange entering the season. Read the rest of the series, here.Syracuse’s rotation could feature 10 players, six of them new to the Orange, head coach Jim Boeheim said at the team’s media day last week.Freshmen Tyus Battle, Taurean Thompson and Matthew Moyer all have a chance to crack the rotation, but how much they each play remains to be seen.Last season, wing Malachi Richardson (34.4 minutes per game) and forward Tyler Lydon (30.3 minutes per game) received a heavy dose of playing time. Point guard Frank Howard averaged 10.5 minutes off the bench. The trio accounted for three-sevenths of Syracuse’s rotation by the end of the year.This year, Boeheim has seven players with collegiate experience likely to be in the rotation. How he plugs in the freshmen will be worth following throughout exhibitions and the early portion of the nonconference schedule.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBattle, the 35th-ranked recruit in the country according to ESPN, is the most college-ready at this point. He’s the second biggest guard on the team at 6 feet 6 inches and 205 pounds, only behind Andrew White (6 feet 7 inches and 210 pounds), who is four years older. His combination of size and speed makes him a dynamic weapon on both ends of the court.Moyer, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward, was ranked as the 74th-best player in the class by ESPN while the 6-foot-10, 225-pound Thompson was ranked 75th. The two front-court players add depth to a position group that includes SU’s two most proven returners in Lydon and Tyler Roberson.Moyer missed time earlier in the preseason with a right foot injury but has been caught up in recent practices.“I think all three of our freshmen are playing very well,” Boeheim said last week. “I think Matt Moyer’s made up a lot of ground. He missed a lot and he’s made up a lot of ground the last few days of practice. But those two freshmen and Taurean have played very well in practices, very happy with them.”Over the summer, Boeheim said Battle is as good as any freshman in the country. Asked about that comment on media day, Boeheim joked that he says things in the summer “just for saying them. I don’t know why. Why do I say those things?”Regardless of whether Battle is as good as Boeheim initially said, he has a chance to step in right away and contribute. With White providing experience at the 2-guard spot, Battle may not start but could add another dimension off the bench.Albeit in a non-competitive show for fans, Battle flashed his athleticism with a nifty between-the-legs dunk at Orange Madness.“He’s a very talented player,” Boeheim said of Battle. “Got great size, quickness, athletic ability, plays hard all the time. He works hard at the game. Again, he’s a very, very good player.”The trio of freshmen almost certainly won’t account for nearly half of SU’s rotation like last year, but Battle, Thompson and Moyer could be key cogs in Syracuse’s 2016-17 machine. Comments Published on October 29, 2016 at 9:04 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschwedslast_img read more