At first glance, it may seem like there are a lot of new faces in the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball program. With three incoming transfers and a freshman all going to play important roles, it seems true.
Perhaps this is the new normal in college basketball with the unique transfer rule that allows athletes to immediately play at their new destination. Gone are the days when most players stay every four years. So, with all these new faces in Syracuse, how is Jim Boeheim going to mix his returning players with the newcomers?
Maybe it will take some time for the chemistry to develop with transfers from Cole Swider, Symir Torrence and Jimmy Boeheim with returning players like Joe Girard and Buddy Boeheim.
Ultimately, inbound transfers might be a bit more familiar with each other. There is the obvious brotherhood between Jimmy and Buddy Boeheim. But the two brothers, Symir Torrence and Joe Girard all share an Upstate New York connection. The four aforementioned players are all from the Albany City Rocks AAU program. Girard and Torrence performed together in the same class.
While it still takes time for this group to form in the field, familiarity can’t hurt.
“As far as I’m concerned, we’ve been together for a long time,” Torrence said. “Going against each other from the Syracuse High School Leagues to play on the same AAU team and now the same varsity team. It is a blessing.
“It’s a very tight group all around,” added Jimmy Boeheim. “I wouldn’t say it’s so much different.”
Syracuse is hoping that the familiarity between the players will give them a good start in the usual process it takes for players to adjust to each other on the pitch. It takes time to figure out where some teammates like to receive passes, to know where they’ll turn on the floor or just to develop full team chemistry.
Girard believes that having these relationships already in place should help the transition.
“It makes it really easy,” Girard said. “I think in general the familiarity between the four of us – even Cole [Swider], honestly. We’ve played Cole probably six or seven times in AAU. We already knew everyone’s game.
As for Torrence, he and Buddy share a long friendship. Torrence grew up playing basketball with the Boeheims. He played high school basketball at the Syracuse Academy of Science before transferring to Vermont Academy. When Torrence was at SAS and Buddy was at Jamesville-DeWitt, they faced each other twice and split the series 1-1.
“I have known Sy since he was 10 years old. He started coming to the academy with G-Mac and Coach Hop here. Me and him have been close since then. We never thought we would end up playing together. We were just good friends. We love each other. Growing up competing against each other in high school, it’s pretty special to share the field with him and Joe, ”said Buddy.
Before Torrence enlisted in Syracuse in the spring, he called the Boeheim family to let them know. Juli Boeheim was elated upon receiving the news, and she joked with Torrence saying “he better” pick Syracuse. Jim, Jimmy and Buddy all burst out laughing in the background.
“They will always be part of my family,” Torrence said. “The teammates wouldn’t bring us any closer.”