Syracuse basketball warms up for the 2021-22 season

Syracuse basketball 'tips-off' 2021-22 season

SU's men's and women's basketball teams practiced in front of fans at the Dome on Friday night.
Published: October 24, 2021
Buddy Boehim guards Jimmy Boehim III during the Orange Tip-Off scrimmage at the Dome on October 22, 2021.
Buddy Boehim (35) guards Jimmy Boehim (0) during the Orange Tip-Off scrimmage at the Carrier Dome on Friday night.

A season of newcomers could sum up Friday’s media day and tip-off fan events for the Orange men’s basketball team.

With the additions of Symir Torrence, Jimmy Boeheim, Niko Ruffin, and Benny Williams, the Orange are making strides into the 2021 season. Although the Orange are welcoming newcomers, the identity of the team runs through their veteran leadership.

On Friday night, following media day, SU’s men’s and women’s basketball teams revived the university’s annual tip-off event. Both squads participated in skills competitions, a three-point contest and small scrimmages in front of fans at the Dome.

Orange men’s basketball’s two freshmen Niko Ruffin and Benny Williams dazzled in their respective Syracuse “debuts.” But to start the 2021-22 schedule, the Orange will look to assert their prominence in the ACC through experience.

Guard Jayla Thompson grabs a ball for the three-point shoot contest during the Orange Tip-Off Scrimmage on October 22, 2021.
Jayla Thornton grabs a ball from the rack during the 3-Point Contest on Friday during the Tip Off.

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim credits his team for handling the obstacles thrown at them in the past year and establishing chemistry with one another.

“This is the best recruiting class ever,” Boeheim said. “We have five players who are very underrated.”

As for the outside noise penetrating the chilling Syracuse air this basketball season, Boeheim intends on silencing the critics and letting speculation speculate. Boeheim said the team follows the same expertise every year and the record will be the record. Boeheim, now in his 45th year coaching the Orange, believes the preseason analysis is nothing but speculation.

With Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s expected retirement after this season, Boeheim was asked if his retirement was pending. Boeheim gave an analogy of Warren Buffet still working at 90 years old. As well as saying “I don’t feel old that’s why I’m still coaching.”

Benny Williams, a 6'8
Benny Williams, a 6'8" freshman from IMG Academy in Florida, won the dunk contest at the Orange Tip-Off.

The well-anticipated duo of Buddy and Jimmy Boeheim provides an extra sense of attention to the Orange this season. The two brothers display the sort of telepathic chemistry twins would have. Jimmy, the older brother, transferred to Syracuse from Cornell.

“It’s surreal how full circle everything is,” Jimmy said. “It’s crazy seeing the videos of Buddy and I sitting in the back of the bus with Gerry after a game when he was playing.”

Gerry McNamara mentioned above, was a revered former Syracuse basketball player who now serves as an assistant coach for the Orange. The Boeheim brothers grew up traveling and watching him play; now they have McNamara as a coach together.

The chemistry of the team was formed over the summer at Boeheim’s house. The team would spend one day a week at Boeheim’s house playing football and swimming in the pool. The camaraderie of welcoming in newcomers intends on going a long way for the Orange this season.

The addition of Symir Torrence to the team could be seen as a homecoming. Torrence, born and raised in Syracuse, decided to play two years at Marquette University before transferring to play for the Orange. Torrence is soaking up the feeling of being back home and said it feels like a dream to be back. His presence has received a warm welcome in the city of Syracuse.

“It’s family,” Torrence said. “Everybody here is family, I don’t consider any friends in Syracuse. Syracuse is my home so I call everybody family.”

The Orange tip off the season against Pace on Wednesday for the first of two exhibition games before the Nov. 9 opener against Lafayette.

Christianna Carr takes a shot during the Orange Tip-Off Scrimmage on October 22, 2021.
Christianna Carr lines up her shot at the Orange Tip-Off on Friday night at the Carrier Dome.