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James Southerland: Syracuse Fans All Too Familiar With “Eligibility Matter” Suspensions

Rich Barnes-USA Today Sports

Just prior to Syracuse‘s Saturday afternoon tip with Villanova, the school announced that senior forward James Southerland would be held out until further notice.

Wait, what? Just like that, the Orange are losing their second-leading scorer?

In what may serve as the most bizarre and unexpected news in a day that also includes the nation’s No. 1 team being knocked off, Southerland will be on the sidelines until further notice.

Before we jump to conclusions on the amount of time that Southerland will miss (for starters, that remains unknown for the time being), we must look at the eerie comparison in holds for Orange fans.

Just one year ago, star center Fab Melo went through some “eligibility matters” of his own that resulted in a January suspension to start. Melo eventually returned, only to be suspended once again just prior to the postseason and in a year in which Syracuse was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Once again, there’s no need to jump to conclusions on whether or not the two separate issues could be similar from a school and eligibility perspective, but for fans, it’s easy to think of one and relate it to the other. It’s like a “here we go again” feeling.

While Southerland does not hold the same impact that Melo, a defensive and shot-altering presence, had for the Orange a year ago, it’s still an eyebrow-raising issue given his production, especially on the offensive end.

I guess it is now wait and see time for the Orange and Southerland.

 

Paul Seaver is the College Basketball Network Manager at Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS