This year's Syracuse team will look quite different from the group that made it all the way to the Final Four last April. James Southerland, Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams have all moved on, leaving Jim Boeheim without 55 percent of his scoring from last season.
But C.J. Fair returns as the ACC preseason player of the year and a quartet of highly rated freshmen make Syracuse one of the favorites in the league. Syracuse was picked to finish second in the ACC during conference media day, garnering three first-place votes and will open the season this Friday against Cornell at home.
Trevor Cooney: Cooney showed spurts of talent off the bench last year, scoring in double figures five times as a freshman. He played well in the Orange's four exhibition wins over the summer and is a likely starter to begin the regular season.
Tyler Ennis:The five-star point guard from Ontario will be asked to lead the Syracuse offense as a freshman after a strong performance in the team's preseason tour in Canada. Ennis was a a Jordan Brand All-American after playing in high school at the legendary St. Benedict's Prep.
Ron Patterson: The guard from Indianapolis is another top-tier freshman for Syracuse. He combines strength and athleticism into a daunting skill set on both ends of the court. Originally an Indiana commit, Patterson opted instead to play a year at prep school.
Rakeem Christmas: Christmas's points, rebounds and minutes played per game nearly doubled from his freshman to his sophomore year and should be a starter this season as a junior. The 6-9 post may be a constant double-double threat and a strong complement to Fair inside.
DaJuan Coleman: Like Christmas, Coleman will be an imposing presence inside. He suffered through an injury-plagued 2012-13, but scored five points and pulled down nine rebounds in the Orange's exhibition win over Holy Family Friday night.
C.J. Fair: Fair played nearly 35 minutes per game last year and his 14.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest were plenty to convince the media to make him preseason conference player of the year. In nine postseason games last year, Fair scored in double figures eight times, including a 22-point performance against Michigan in the Final Four.
Michael Gbinjie: The transfer from Duke sat out last year under NCAA rules but enters his sophomore season in a battle for minutes. Gbinjie played well on Syracuse's Canadian tour and he gives Boeheim yet another frontcourt option.
Jerami Grant: As a sophomore, Grant will have a similar role to his freshman spot as a backup for the Orange's starting bigs. He had 13 points against Holy Family in 18 minutes of action.
B.J. Johnson: Johnson might not be the greatest player to ever come out of Lower Merion HIgh School, but he does come to Syracuse with a strong reputation. He's a lefty who has been called a "work in progress," but that doesn't mean he can't contribute this year.
Tyler Roberson: Roberson is a New Jersey product who chose Syracuse over Kansas and Villanova. He's primarily a power forward who has a nice jump hook and can be an excellent defensive player. He can also run the floor well and should see major minutes as a freshman.
Baye Moussa Keita: The senior from Senegal is looking to break out in his final season, but that might be tough with so much depth up front for the Orange. Keita made the most of his 15 minutes against Holy Family, grabbing 10 rebounds and scoring two points.