Commentary

CBB Summer Buzz: Syracuse

The Orange have many holes to fill and some young talent hoping to answer the call

Updated: July 31, 2009, 2:16 PM ET
By Mike Hume | ESPN Insider

Insider knows you're hot for hoops during the summer, so we bring you a closer look at five programs on the rise, five on the way down and five at a crossroads. On Friday, we conclude this week's look at five schools that are down from a year ago by checking in with Syracuse. Starting Monday, we move on to five schools at a crossroads, beginning with North Carolina.

Syracuse Orange

28-10 (NCAA Sweet 16)

For two seasons, Jonny Flynn's impossibly wide, ear-to-ear grin left an indelible imprint on the Syracuse program. Now his absence, along with the departures of Eric Devendorf and Paul Harris, will leave an immeasurable hole in the Orange offense.

Even if his sideline expressions aren't the best indicator of a bright-side point of view, head coach Jim Boeheim is trying to accentuate the positive heading into the new season. But you don't accumulate the kind of Big East success he's enjoyed by banking on blind optimism.

"The good thing is we have three starters returning," Boeheim says. "But certainly we have tremendous losses to replace as well."

To that end, he's looking for increased contributions from those returning starters -- seniors Arinze Onuaku and Andy Rautins and junior Rick Jackson. And a few assists from some relatively unsung newcomers wouldn't hurt either.

To read about the super-transfer who could be a lottery pick, the battle to replace Jonny Flynn at the point, and more reasons why Boeheim is unusually optimistic, you must be an ESPN Insider. Insider