Bourama Sidibe will reportedly return to Syracuse for fifth season

Syracuse center Bourama Sidibe plans to return for a fifth year of eligibility, he told Syracuse.com’s Mike Waters on Monday. Sidibe missed all but two games this season due to a torn meniscus and subsequent setbacks, playing a combined 15 minutes against Bryant in the season-opener and the game against Clemson on Feb. 6.

“I just want to give myself a chance (to) get healthier and play one more season,’’ Sidibe told Syracuse.com. “I want to get in better shape so I can give myself a better look in basketball.’’

Heading into the 2020-21 season, Sidibe slotted in as the Orange’s starting center for a second straight season — a role he inherited after Paschal Chukwu graduated. He averaged 6.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game as a junior and notched a career-high 17 points against North Carolina that season. But he then subbed out five minutes in against the Bulldogs on Nov. 27 and didn’t return. An MRI the next day revealed his torn meniscus, giving Sidibe an initial timeline of four to six weeks before his return.

Sidibe’s injury and absence forced Syracuse to play most of its season without a true center. Marek Dolezaj slid to the middle of the 2-3 zone but didn’t provide the same 7.6 block percentage that Sidibe did in 2019-20 — which ranked 59th in the country, per KenPom.

Sidibe briefly returned for 11 minutes in Syracuse’s blowout loss to the Tigers in Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, South Carolina, recording one point, one turnover and four fouls.

“It was good to get him back out there,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said postgame.  “Obviously, he hasn’t played in 11 weeks. He’s just not really ready to play yet. He’s had barely, maybe two practices where he went part of the time. Hopefully, his knee will react well to playing, he’ll be able to continue.”

But three days later, after SU’s game against NC State, Boeheim said that Sidibe’s knee was swollen and he couldn’t practice or play. He didn’t log another minute the rest of the season.

Sidibe joins a center group for Syracuse that returns Jesse Edwards and Frank Anselem as of now. John Bol Ajak — who served as the Orange’s second center off the bench behind Edwards — entered the transfer portal last week.