James Southerland missed six games for the Orange after he was suspended for academic reasons. In that time, Syracuse was 4-2 and the Orange felt the significance of Southerland’s loss. On Friday, Southerland has his appeal heard, that if he won, he would be declared eligible by the NCAA.
It took a couple of days for the hearings panel to make a decision, but Southerland has won his appeal and will be allowed to play in Syracuse’s game today against St. John’s. Even if Southerland was reinstated, it was unclear if it would be in time for the game today.
Jim Boeheim and the entire Syracuse Orange basketball program have to be excited to have Southerland back. He is the team’s third leading scorer at 13.6 points per game. He also provides the Orange another weapon from the outside. He shoots 37.5% from behind the arc for an Orange team that shoots 32% from long range. He even went 9-13 from 3-point range when he scored a career high, 35 points against Arkansas.
Southerland isn’t just good for some points. He also does a lot of the little things as a senior that helped Syracuse go 15-1 with him in the line-up. He grabs 5.2 rebounds a game which is good for third best on the team. On defense, he records a steal and a block per game and is a major factor in the 2-3 zone.
With the reinstatement of Southerland, Syracuse just got a whole heck of a lot more dangerous of a team. The Orange now become serious title contenders assuming Southerland picks up where he left off.