Most of us probably expected Syracuse Orange basketball forward Chris McCullough to return for his sophomore campaign following a season ending knee injury earlier this year, but the 6-foot-10, supremely talented post player confirmed to the Syracuse Post-Standard’s Donna Ditota today that he will indeed be back in Orange next season.
McCullough got his Syracuse career off to an absurdly hot start, going from a respected but not necessarily nationally known recruit to being a projected lottery pick by Chad Ford by the time the season was a mere month old. McCullough played in 16 games this season before tearing his ACL in a win over Florida State, and there’s a pretty clear divide between the good half of the season, and the bad half.
McCullough scored in double digits in each of the first eight games of the year, but failed to hit double figures in the last eight games in which he appeared. Still, he had three double-doubles, and scored 20 points in a big early season win over Iowa, a game in which he also grabbed nine rebounds and swatted away three shots.
Before the season began, Jim Boeheim called McCullough his best recruit since Carmelo Anthony, but then went on to, in what has by this point become an infamous series of quotes, call out Chad Ford for projecting the big man from New York City as a top 10 draft pick.
This is big news for Syracuse, because despite the fact that McCullough has fallen back down draft boards in the wake of his injury – which, by the way, he says will probably keep him out of game action until December – it helps bolster a Syracuse front line that fans are hoping will eventually add Thomas Bryant, while losing the great Rakeem Christmas.