With only one spot left on Syracuse’s 2017-18 basketball roster, Orange eyes have been fixed on graduate transfer Geno Thorpe and high school combo guard Eric Ayala. It’s no secret that the final roster spot likely belongs to one of those two players, should they want to commit. Well, this weekend that spot may wind up getting filled.
Thorpe, a 6-foot-4 guard from South Florida who can play either the point or off the ball, is set to visit Syracuse on Thursday and Friday, with a decision expected quickly in the aftermath. Thorpe is down to Syracuse and Pittsburgh, and since he’s already visited the Panthers, it seems likely that we’ll know where he’s headed before the weekend is over.
Thorpe is an interesting option and would fill a much needed role, with his strong perimeter shooting (he hit nearly 38% from long range last year) and his versatility at the guard positions. Right now, the Orange have only three guards on the roster in Frank Howard, who remains something of an enigma; Tyus Battle, the burgeoning superstar; and Howard Washington, a talented floor general who nevertheless would be better served developing for a year or two in a bench role before emerging as a much larger factor down the road.
Thorpe – a native of Pittsburgh who began his college career at Penn State – has proven he can score the basketball, having averaged 15.1 points per game. He was also thrust into the role of USF’s point guard, averaging 4.6 assists per game. He’s also an excellent free throw shooter, having knocked down 84.6% from the line last season.
Should he pick Syracuse, Thorpe will no doubt play a huge role this season. The Orange badly need perimeter shooting and guard depth, and Thorpe checks both of those boxes. Plus, at 6-foot-4, he’s long and athletic enough that he likely won’t have some of the difficulty at the top of the 2-3 zone that the undersized John Gillon at times faced last year.
The other benefit of a decision coming in the near future is that it means, if that decision is Syracuse, Thorpe will be able to get on campus and get acclimated and develop some chemistry with his future teammates.