The Syracuse University Men’s Basketball team held its annual season kickoff event in the Dome on Friday night, but it looked slightly different than in years past. The night’s focus was on basketball, without much of the entertainment that surrounded “Orange Madness” in other years. Here are three key observations about what happened on the court.
Battle of the Big Men
By far the most interesting matchup of the night was between the centers on each team. Paschal Chukwu is going into his second season of eligibility for the Orange, and is expected by many to take the starting spot in the middle. However, it was his matchup that stole the show on Friday night. Freshman Bourama Sidibe was the most impressive player on the court. While the 7’2” Chukwu is known for his defensive game more than his offense, Sidibe demonstrated his patience with fundamental post moves and crafty finishes. With the loss of Taurean Thompson, Syracuse could certainly use a big man with offensive prowess this season. Sidibe finished the scrimmage with 20 points and 9 rebounds.
Bourama Sidibe led all scorers with 20 points & added 9 rebounds in the Orange vs. White game pic.twitter.com/YL7fPiE9Ac
— Syracuse Basketball (@Cuse_MBB) October 21, 2017
The 2017-2018 season is certainly one of turnover for team personnel. For many team members, Friday was their first chance to publicly play in the orange and white. Along with Sidibe who was mentioned above, freshman Oshae Brissett looked incredibly comfortable. He could very well play a big role at the wing this year. He was not afraid to shoot outside, and notched 19 points and 6 rebounds. Marek Dolezaj is another interesting addition to this Syracuse team. The Slovakia native has great height, and drew some fouls down low. The new guards also fared well on Friday. Howard Washington will be fighting for minutes at point guard, and dished out 6 assists. East Carolina transfer Elijah Hughes will have to sit out this season, but handled the ball well and displayed some athleticism.
First look at Slovakian freshman Marek Dolezaj, Boeheim says he has more of an American player skill set than a prototype European player pic.twitter.com/GVaJ2L2ASJ
— Niko Tamurian (@NikoTamurian) October 20, 2017
No Geno Thorpe
The graduate transfer from the University of South Florida did not dress or play on Friday night. Coach Boeheim said that Thorpe twisted his ankle, and that he will return soon. Thorpe brings a scoring mentality to the Orange this season, after averaging 15.1 points and 4.6 assist with the Bulls a year ago.
Syracuse hits the court for the first time on November 1 in an exhibition vs Southern New Hampshire. Tipoff is set for 7 PM in the Carrier Dome.
Keith Bremer is a 2015 graduate of Newark High School and is currently attending Syracuse University and is a contributor to FingerLakes1.com. Comments and feedback on this article can be posted below or directed to Keith at firstname.lastname@example.org.