Well, this is less than ideal. I think a lot of us suspected this would happen based on the buzz around the Syracuse University men’s basketball program over the summer, but it still stings to have it made official that Moustapha Diagne will not make it to the hill this year, or potentially at any point down the road.
Diagne, a 6-foot-8 power forward (with the ability to play center in a pinch) from Senegal by way of New Jersey, was going to be a big piece of Jim Boeheim’s squad this season. However, now that he’s headed to a two year school (no destination has yet been announced), it leaves the Orange painfully think in the post. Dajuan Coleman will get the bulk of the minutes as long as he stays healthy, but suddenly a lot more pressure has been heaped on Chino Obokoh, who remains a project heading into his third year in the program.
This is a big blow to the Orange, who might wind up going with smaller lineups more often than Boeheim would have liked. Don’t be surprised to see a front line of Michael Gbinije, Tyler Lydon, and Tyler Roberson more than once this season whenever Coleman has to head to the bench. On the one hand, it should force the Orange to play at a higher tempo, but on the other hand, rebounding and rim protection will almost certainly take a big hit.
If there’s any silver lining, it’s that Syracuse can start its NCAA sanctions this year after all, now that there are 10 scholarship players, though only nine eligible to play this season with Paschal Chukwu sitting out after transferring from Providence. And man, how nice would it be to have that 7-foot-2 shot blocker right about now?