SU men’s basketball will face Lehigh in season’s first game

Syracuse will play Lehigh for first game of season

Syracuse will have a younger squad this year led by Joseph Girard III.
Published: November 6, 2022
NC State v Syracuse

The Syracuse men’s basketball team kickstarts their season on Monday as they host the Lehigh Mountain Hawks.

The Orange are coming off a season in 2021-22 in which they went 16-17, which wasn’t enough to make the tournament. Key starters from last year’s team graduated, including Buddy Boheim, Jimmy Boeheim and Cole Swider.

However, some familiar faces are returning to the Orange this year. Sophomore forward Benny Williams is a player to watch for a potential breakout season after struggling early as a freshman. Williams averaged just under 12 minutes per game.

Williams hopes to make continue to make strides after playing well in the first two exhibition games. His notable exhibition game was against Indiana Pennsylvania University, where he recorded a double-double for 15 points and 12 rebounds. One aspect of Williams’s gameplay not utilized last year is his ability to shoot the three. Perhaps head coach Jim Boeheim will use Williams as a stretch four or five.

Senior Joseph Girard III returns this year as the most experienced player on the roster. The fan-favorite finished the 21-22 campaign with game averages of 14 points, three rebounds and four assists. The Glen Falls native also dramatically improved his three-point shooting last year, hitting 40 percent from downtown.

Anticipation for this year’s team has centered around the six-man freshman class. Notable freshmen include guards Judah Mintz, Qadir Copeland and Justin Taylor.

A significant player from this year’s Syracuse men’s basketball six-man freshman class is, without a doubt, Judah Mintz. Mintz is a 6′ 3 combo guard who played high school basketball at the prestigious Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. Many basketball stars have attended the same academy, including Syracuse legend and future NBA Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony. Mintz was highly recruited throughout high school as a 4-star prospect in the spotlight at Oak Hill.

Quadir Copeland is a Philadelphia Native and believes being from the city has helped model his hustle and passion for the game. Copeland spoke with Newshouse reporter Josh Crawford at media day about how his game resembles his home city.

“We all got heart from Philly; I just get to bring that aspect from my game and show my toughness; you really can’t teach heart,” said Copeland. “I’m staying gritty and staying grounded.”

Copeland attended high school at IMG academy, where he was teammates with fellow freshman Justin Taylor. Taylor is a 6’6 guard with a confident shooting stroke, and the Orange are hopeful he will help the team’s three-point shooting and offense overall.

All eyes will be on the three first-year students as they are set to make their debut at the JMA Wireless Dome on Monday. Tip-off is at 8 p.m. as part of a hoops doubleheader, with the women’s team facing off against Stony Brook at 3:30 p.m.