Well, people were beginning to wonder how Syracuse University could make the numbers work with the men’s basketball team in the face of the NCAA scholarship restrictions over the next few years, as well as with the continued pursuit of Thomas Bryant and Tyus Battle. Today, those questions were answered, at least in part, when it was announced that sophomores BJ Johnson and Ron Patterson will be seeking transfers this offseason.
Now, this wasn’t completely unexpected. When people began speculating about how Syracuse would work around its scholarship limitations over the next several seasons, the first thing people started pointing to was possible transfer situations. Due to the limited amount of minutes and the perceived lack of development of both Johnson and Patterson in their two seasons on the Hill, they seemed to be the likeliest transfer candidates to a lot of Orange onlookers.
Johnson, a 6-foot-7 swingman from Philadelphia, averaged 4.2 points per game and shot 26.2% from three point range, well below his expectations coming out of high school. Johnson’s scoring wasn’t necessarily a disappointment, as much as his shooting consistency. Johnson was considered a top level shooting prospect coming out of Lower Merion, the same school that produced Kobe Bryant.
Patterson, a 6-foot-2 guard from Broad Ripple, Indiana, used a pretty roundabout way to wind up at Syracuse. Originally a commit at Indiana, he was basically told to hit the bricks by Tom Crean and then wound up doing a year of prep school at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. The energetic combo guard could never find his shooting stroke, averaging 2.6 points and shooting just 17.3% from three point distance as a sophomore.
The transfers of Johnson and Patterson leave Syracuse with 11 scholarship players as the team heads into 2015-2016, and once again opens up questions about whether or not the Orange will now be able to pursue Thomas Bryant. At the very least, it answers the questions about how Syracuse will be able to bring in Matthew Moyer and still go after Tyus Battle in the class of 2016.
Best of luck to BJ and Buss wherever they land. Here’s hoping they have outstanding careers.