Syracuse freshman Tyler Roberson goes up for a shot at Virginia Tech.
(Dennis Nett | email@example.com)
The Syracuse University basketball team's 2013-14 season ended with Saturday's 55-53 loss to Dayton in the NCAA tournament's third round at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo.
The season began with the hope and excitement of 25 consecutive wins, but it ended with the disappointment of six losses in the Orange's last nine games.
How did each player fare this season? Did they meet or exceed expectations? What goals should they have for the off-season? What will their roles be next year? And, in some cases, will they even be back next year?
Freshman, 6-8, 212 lbs.
Final stats: 2.2 ppg, 1.9 rpg
Tyler Roberson came to Syracuse after a standout career at Roselle (N.J.) Catholic, but the start to his college career was delayed.
The NCAA Clearinghouse red-flagged Roberson's high transcript in part because he had taken summer school classes to meet the NCAA's requirements for an incoming freshman. The time the NCAA needed before approving Roberson's transcript prevented him from accompanying the rest of the Syracuse players on their four-game exhibition tour of Canada. It kept him out of the six practices the team held prior to the trip.
Roberson wound up playing in just 20 of Syracuse's 34 games this past season. He showed flashes of potential, but often he looked like an overwhelmed freshman on the court. In his lone start, Roberson filled in for an injured Jerami Grant against Georgia Tech. Roberson got two points and three rebounds in 23 minutes.
Would Roberson's season have been different had he been able to take advantage of the early practices and exhibition games? It's possible. He didn't play in five of Syracuse's first nine games. One reason was he wasn't ready. Another reason was Syracuse's opening schedule included games against Minnesota, California, Baylor and St. John's.
Had things been different, perhaps Roberson could have provided a solid backup to Grant and C.J. Fair at the forward spots.
Syracuse senior C.J. Fair leaves the program, which opens up a spot at forward. Roberson will contend for that starting job.
If Roberson is to earn the starting nod, he'll need to work this offseason on his strength and his shooting touch. Roberson must get stronger; not just in the upper-body but also in the hips and legs so opponents can't push him around under the boards. He has a nice-looking shot, but he's got to do better than 30 percent from the field.
The summer should give Roberson a chance to finally catch up to the rest of his teammates who did go to Canada last August.
Not only is Fair gone due to graduation, but sophomore Grant still has yet to decide whether he's going to enter the NBA draft or return for his junior year.
Whatever Grant decides, there is playing time available at forward and Roberson is one of several young players who will compete for that opportunity.
Roberson is kind of a blend of Grant and Fair. His jump shot is similar to Fair's when he was an underclassman. Roberson doesn't have Grant's athleticism (who does?), but he's right there with Fair. He is potentially as good a rebounder as either player.
Roberson also needs to be more assertive. He has a very quiet nature. He was deferential to the team's veterans, especially Fair, this past year. Next year, Roberson has to step into a bigger role and he'll need to come out of his shell a little bit to do that.