By Bryan Zarpentine @BZarp on March 27, 2014
Syracuse freshman point guard Tyler Ennis has chosen to jump to the NBA after one of the most impressive seasons from a freshman point guard in recent memory. There are reasons why Ennis is smart to leave Syracuse after one season, but here are five reasons why the Orange really needed Ennis to stay for at least one more season.
If Jerami Grant joins Ennis in leaving for the NBA, it would put the Orange in a real bad spot. Syracuse would then lose three starters, and would have lost five early-entry players in the last three years, which is a lot, even for a basketball factory like Syracuse. With Ennis gone, Grant could take off as well, and that puts Syracuse in a tough spot heading into next season.
Without Ennis around next season, Gbinije will have to remain the team’s backup point guard, and he’ll probably have to play more minutes at that position without someone as trustworthy as Ennis at the position. Gbinije would be much better utilized at the off-guard spot or as a forward, but Jim Boeheim can't do that, as Gbinije will play more minutes at the point as the backup to incoming freshman Kaleb Joseph.
With Ennis leaving, Syracuse is now looking at its fourth starting point guard in the last four years, and even in a program that has no shortage of talent and has had its fair share of early entries to the NBA, that’s not exactly something Jim Boeheim wants. The Orange’s mediocrity on the offensive end the past couple of years could be related to a lack of continuity at point guard, and Ennis leaving means that lack of continuity will continue.
Obviously, Syracuse hit the jackpot with Ennis as far as freshman point guards are concerned, and even though Kaleb Joseph is a highly rated recruit, there’s no way he’ll be able to come close to replicating what Ennis did for the Orange this season. Syracuse would have loved for Joseph to have a year of playing behind Ennis before taking over as the teams starter, but now Joseph will be thrown into the fire right away with huge shoes to fill.
Ennis being back as a sophomore would have made Syracuse one of the top favorites for the national championship heading into next season. However, with Ennis leaving, C.J. Fair graduating, and Jerami Grant potentially leaving as well, there are a lot of uncertainties heading into next season. Ennis would have been in position to lead the Orange back to the Final Four had he decided to stay for one more season.
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