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Guard depth is going to be an issue for Syracuse basketball next year, particularly if Malachi Richardson remains in the NBA Draft, and Jim Boeheim has been hitting the graduate transfer wire harder than he ever has to try to shore things up. Unfortunately for the Orange, the first name Syracuse went after, Grant Mullins, is headed to California.

Mullins, a 6-foot-4 combo guard from Canada who averaged 13.3 points and shot 43.9% from three point range at Columbia last year, chose Cal over Syracuse and Michigan. It always felt like Cal might be the favorite, particularly if academics wound up playing a significant role in the decision for Mullins. Indications have been floated that Mullins will be looking for an MBA with his graduate year, and if that is truly the case, he literally can’t do much better than Berkeley.

Overall, Cal really is one of the strongest academic institutions in the nation, and while Syracuse (and Michigan) are both very strong academically as well, if that became the determining factor then it’s easy to see why Mullins chose to head west. After all, he’s an Ivy League kid (and his sister is, as well, as a member of the Harvard women’s team), and likely knows he’s not going to be playing in the NBA, so getting the best graduate degree he can likely weighed heavily into the decision.

Now, Syracuse will move on to other options at guard most notably John Gillon, from Colorado State. Michigan’s Spike Albrecht could wind up being an option as well, but Gillon is almost certainly the highest remaining priority in terms of graduate transfers. Syracuse desperately needs to add another guard to next year’s roster, with or without Richardson. Gillon would be a terrific pickup this late in the game.

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Jeff is a 2003 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been published on various websites including Cracked.com, Spike.com, TheSportster.com, Gunaxin.com, and TopTenz.net, among others. His work was featured in the New York Times bestselling book You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News. He's got a wife, and a toddler he's brainwashing to love Syracuse. Jeff's a pretty great guy, overall, and would never steal your car. Follow him on Twitter: @jekelish