Friday Notes – Dion and Fab and Kris and Mike and Tyler
It’s been way too long since I had the time to gather some thoughts and the energy to put them into blog form. Life’s been a bit of a whirl over the past few months due to some personal things that came up and reduced my contributions to the SU fan atmosphere to tweeting and in-person conversations, and for that, I apologize. Now that it’s mostly behind me, though, the plan is to return to the normal blogging schedule (or some semblance of regularity).
- The most recent bit of news surrounding the program doesn’t really concern the program itself as much as it does the most dynamic player from last year’s team, and of course I’m talking about Dion Waiters. A team with a high draft position reportedly called Waiters’ camp with a promise to have David Stern call his name in the draft taking place exactly three weeks from last night. Subsequently, Waiters canceled all his remaining pre-draft workout and interview commitments and the guessing game has commenced. I’m not going to veer much outside my area of expertise and try to land on a team, but I do find this development interesting, but at the same time, this isn’t that uncommon a story to develop. What’s intriguing to me is that from all I’ve heard and read, this draft is fairly wide open beyond the top eight or so picks, so for a GM to feel confident enough that Waiters will be available that he makes that call (and that Waiters goes along with it) mostly tells me that there may be some level of understanding between Mystery GM and the teams picking in front of him of who will pick whom. Otherwise, why make the call? On the other side of the coin, it’s a roll of the dice to call everything off, even if you’re reducing the risk of an injury by doing so. After all, what’s the guarantee that Waiters will be available to the team lusting after him? As he made believers out of pro scouts last season, one of the main narratives that evolved about Waiters and the draft was that his athleticism and drive put him in a great position to improve his stock through team workouts and the combine, regardless of how important you or I think those components compare in importance to the body of work he put together in college. It will be very interesting to see how everything shakes out.
- Admittedly, Fab Melo and Kris Joseph don’t carry quite the same intrigue. Melo has impressed in workouts, and when you consider his improvement from freshman to sophomore year and that he’s a big man who hasn’t put enough mileage on his legs to carry a significant injury risk, there’s a lot of appeal. Even if his post game doesn’t grow like it needs to in order to be a starting center on a decent team at a pro level, it’s hard not to see him getting a long look as a late first-round pick. Joseph, on the other hand, has a much smaller margin of error as someone who didn’t score enough in college to make a strong case as a shooting guard in the NBA and lacks the size necessary to be a wing at the next step up. I think the knocks on his dribbling are a bit over-stated, and I’d be slightly surprised if he went undrafted, but it’s still a steep climb for him to stick somewhere.
- In April, the Orange picked up a commitment from Duke transfer Mike Gbinije. Though he’s just tall enough to be a wing at 6’6″, C.J. Fair and Jerami Grant figure to man that spot on the floor when Gbinije becomes eligible in 2013-14. That likely leaves him competing with a redshirt sophomore Trevor Cooney for minutes at the two. Like Cooney, Gbinije’s range and shooting form are his bread and butter, and he has great court sense, but in high school, scouts cited a lack of aggression. We’ve seen that out of the shooting guard spot for the last few years, so while it’s something we’ve all seen before, it’s hardly anything to lose sleep over right now. I’m excited about his addition, and you can strike up another recruiting win for Adrian Autry.
- Lastly, it’s time for a look down the recruiting trail. There are other prospects on SU’s radar, and I’ll get to them another time, but Jim Boeheim and Mike Hopkins are known to be in especially hot pursuit of point guard Tyler Ennis. It sounds like Ennis, one of the nation’s top five point guard prospects, is reciprocating the interest. If Michael Carter-Williams has the season we’re all hoping for in 2012-2013, there will be more than plenty of playing time to be had, and according to a report from Adam Zagoria a month or two ago , that’s what Ennis wants more than just about anything else out of a scholarship. If Ennis commits, the Orange would have a scary good backcourt in two seasons, and that’s assuming MCDubz plays well enough to leave for the pros after his sophomore season. That’s hardly a sure thing right now, but I’d be surprised if the opportunity didn’t emerge. I don’t see Ennis’ recruitment dragging on for long, so a fall verbal, as was the case last year with Jerami Grant and DaJuan Coleman, is what I’d bet on.
The offseason may be a slow time, but having three players in the mix to make it at the next level, and four if you count the potential of Scoop Jardine latching on somewhere, (which try as I may, just can’t see happening) the next few weeks should get pretty exciting.