By James O'Hare on April 1, 2014
The Syracuse Orange lost three starters last year in Michael Carter-Williams, Brandon Triche and James Southerland.
Now, Jim Boeheim and company will have to do it all over again. In addition to losing two seniors in C.J. Fair and Baye Moussa Keita, freshman point guard Tyler Ennis has announced he is leaving school early for the NBA.
These are five reasons why Ennis’ draft declaration is a bad decision.
Trey Burke could have left Michigan after his freshman season, but instead opted to return for one more year, and came one win away from a national championship. If Ennis returned, Syracuse would have had one of the best point guards in the nation next year and would have been an early favorite to hoist the crystal trophy. C.J. Fair was beloved in Syracuse after returning for his senior season. Ennis could have achieved the same adoration.
Jim Boeheim believed in Ennis well before he was on scouts' radars but now has to do a John Calipari impression. Not only has Cuse lost what could have been, they now have to deal with reality. Instead of a premier point guard, Boeheim has another roster hole to fill. It was a miracle the Orange had Ennis after Michael Carter-Williams left early. Now they’ll have to do it all over again. Maybe lightning will strike a third time with Kaleb Joseph.
Chad Ford has Ennis as a lottery pick, going eighth overall. This considered, it would make sense for Ennis to leave school while his stock is so high. However, he played poorly down the stretch and this year’s draft is loaded with talent. Instead of being the first or second point guard taken, had Ennis stayed one more year, he could have been the first or second player taken in the 2015 draft.
Not everyone makes it in the NBA. Injuries happen. Poor play happens. If things do not work out for Fair, at least he’ll have a degree to fall back on. The same cannot be said for Ennis. I realize this isn’t a big deal for most college athletes who have their sights set on the pros, but it's unfortunate that Ennis is just one of the latest one-and-dones, another example of the hypocrisy of the phrase “student athlete.”
Ennis had some huge plays this year, like his buzzer beater against Pitt, and he could seemingly get into the paint at will. He was the second-best player on the team after Fair. Nevertheless, his outside shot is not NBA caliber, and he could use more experience before going pro. Most Syracuse fans agree, Ennis was outstanding for the Orange this year, but he could have greatly benefited from one more season in college.
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