2024 North Carolina Sports Network
Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Spotlight:

By Ben McCormick
North Carolina Sports Network

School: Syracuse University

Location: Syracuse, N.Y.

Previous Conference Affiliations: Independent (1900-79), Big East (1979-2013)

ACC Member Since: 2013-14

ACC Ranking Among 32 Leagues (KenPom): 7th (2023), 5th (2022), 5th (2021), 4th (2020)

NCAA Tournament Bids: 41 (1957, 1966, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2021)

NCAA Championships: 1 (2003)

Final Fours: 6 (1975, 1987, 1996, 2003, 2013, 2016)

Conference Titles: 5 (1981, 1988, 1992, 2005, 2006 in Big East)

Conference 1st-Place Finishes: 10 (1980, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2010, 2012 in Big East)

Head Coach: Adrian Autry (51, 1st season)

As A Player: Syracuse (1990-94); 10-year international pro career

Record As Head Coach (through Jan. 12): 11-4 (.733) in 1st season

Previous HC Experience: none

AC Experience: Bishop Ireton HS (2006-07), Paul VI HS (2007-08), Virginia Tech (2010-11), Syracuse (2011-23)

Assistant Under: Seth Greenberg, Jim Boeheim

2022-23 Record: 17-15, 10-10 (8th in 15-team ACC)

2023-24 Preseason Prediction (Coaches): 10th in 15-team ACC

2023-24 Record (Through Jan. 12): 11-4, 2-2 ACC

2023-24 Midseason Ranking (KenPom): #76 nationally (10th in ACC)

Upcoming Schedule Highlights: at #7 North Carolina (1/13), at Pittsburgh (1/16), Miami (1/20)

It was the second round of the 2023 ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., and Daivien Williamson had just netted a 3-pointer to give Wake Forest a three-point lead over Syracuse. There were 0.5 seconds remaining.

Half a second left in the game. Half a second left in Syracuse’s season. As it turned out, there was only half a second left in the legendary career of Orange coach Jim Boeheim, too.

Duke ultimately won the 2023 ACC Tournament, of course, but Boeheim controlled the news cycle for a while.

Following the loss to Wake, Syracuse announced Boeheim’s retirement after 47 seasons as the head coach for the Orange, a marathon stretch that included five Final Fours and one national championship (2003). He ended his career as the second-winningest head coach in Division I men’s basketball history, with 1,015 official wins (1,116 if you count the 101 victories vacated by the NCAA due to rules violations).

That same day, the university announced that Adrian “Red” Autry, the former decorated Orange point guard and long time associate head coach under Boeheim, would take over the program.

As college basketball surges into unfamiliar territory, with the emergence of Name-Image-Likeness (NIL) issues and the inescapable reality of a transfer portal-dominated landscape, so too does the ACC — not only in terms of conference realignment, but changes within the programs themselves.

As the ways of old flicker into the past, so do the faces that dominated the last 40 years. First, it was Roy Williams retiring from UNC in 2021, then Mike Krzyzewski from Duke in 2022, then Boeheim in 2023. In the span of just two years, college basketball lost three of its all-time winningest coaches.

Syracuse has entrusted Autry to lead the Orange into the new era, and so far he has done well. It’s been no perfect process, but the Orange are off to an 11-4 start, including Power Six wins over LSU, Georgetown, Oregon, Pittsburgh and Boston College. Their losses came to three teams currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 — #5 Tennessee, #23 Gonzaga and #11 Duke — plus against Virginia in Charlottesville.

It’s no easy transition after losing one of the game’s greatest coaches, especially when some of the program’s top players followed him out the door. The Orange’s leading scorer in 2022-23, wing guard Joe Girard III, left for Clemson, and one of the ACC’s top defenders last season, center Jesse Edwards, transferred to West Virginia.

However, Autry was able to retain perhaps the Orange’s most important player: Judah Mintz. The sophomore point guard is heralded as a potential first-round NBA draft pick. He was selected to the ACC All-Freshman team last year, after averaging more than 16 points per game.

This season, Mintz is averaging 18.5 points, the third-highest mark in the ACC. He also leads the conference in steals per game with 2.3.

The Orange also retained a myriad of other contributors besides Mintz, including sophomores Chris Bell, Maliq Brown, Quadir Copeland and Justin Taylor, plus junior Benny Williams. Bell and Williams joined Mintz in the starting lineup last season.

“The one thing about that sophomore class is, so far, I think they’ve all made a jump in their confidence and kind of understanding what it takes to play at this level,” Autry said. “So I’m excited for all those guys.”

One big pickup in the portal for Autry was former Notre Dame guard JJ Starling, who was born in Syracuse and raised in nearby Baldwinville. Like Mintz, Starling was selected to the ACC’s All-Freshman team a season ago, and he can score at every level.

“We got a really, really good backcourt,” Autry said. “I love the dynamics that we have with those guys. They are gelling well. They play well together. They have a really good rapport.”

It’s odd seeing Syracuse basketball without Boeheim on the sidelines. It’s even weirder seeing the Orange play man-to-man defense, after decades of relentless zone schemes under Autry’s predecessor.

But Syracuse hasn’t been itself lately anyway. It hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2021, and it hasn’t been better than a #8 seed in the NCAA Tournament in 10 years.

Now, as the program begins to pen a new chapter, we will see if the Orange can turn the page and once again write the story of a true national contender.


2023-24 Syracuse Orange
(11-4, 2-2 ACC; through Jan. 12)


PG Judah Mintz*, So. — 32 mpg, 19 ppg, 3 rpg, 43% FG, 79% FT, 37% threes, 58/44 ATO, 3 blocks, 35 steals
(6-4/185); 2023 ACC All-Freshman; Oak Hill (Va.) Academy; Fort Washington, Md.

G JJ Starling, So. — 34 mpg, 11 ppg, 4 rpg, 43% FG, 69% FT, 26% threes, 39/31 ATO, 3 blocks, 14 steals
(6-4/206); 2023 Notre Dame transfer (starter); La Lumiere (Ind.) School; Baldwinsville, N.Y.

G Justin Taylor, So. — 27 mpg, 7 ppg, 6 rpg, 33% FG, 67% FT, 32% threes, 23/17 ATO, 5 blocks, 12 steals
(6-6/218); 17 mpg, 4 ppg in 2022-23; IMG (Fla.) Academy; Charlottesville, Va.

F Chris Bell*, So. — 25 mpg, 11 ppg, 2 rpg, 40% FG, 50% FT (few), 36% threes, 12/16 ATO, 8 blocks, 9 steals
(6-7/188); 20 mpg, 7 ppg in 2022-23; Wasatch (Utah) Academy; Concord, Calif.

C Naheem McLeod, Jr. — 14 mpg, 4 ppg, 4 rpg, 59% FG, 70% FT, 1/6 ATO, 27 blocks, 3 steals
(7-4/265); 2023 Florida State transfer (part-time starter); Plymouth Whitemarsh HS; Philadelphia, Pa.

Key Reserves

G Quadir Copeland, So. — 21 mpg, 8 ppg, 6 rpg, 50% FG, 72% FT, 18% threes, 44/29 ATO, 3 blocks, 21 steals
(6-6/200); 9 mpg, 2 ppg in 2022-23; IMG (Fla.) Academy; Philadelphia, Pa.

G Kyle Cuffe Jr., r-So. — 11 mpg, 4 ppg, 1 rpg, 40% FG, 50% FT, 35% threes, 7/11 ATO, 4 blocks, 10 steals
(6-2/190); 2023 Kansas transfer (reserve/redshirt); Blair (N.J.) Academy; Harlem, N.Y.

F Maliq Brown, So. — 24 mpg, 10 ppg, 6 rpg, 71% FG, 89% FT, 40% threes, 14/11 ATO, 13 blocks, 33 steals
(6-8/222); 20 mpg, 6 ppg in 2022-23; Blue Ridge HS; Culpeper, Va.

F Benny Williams*, Jr. — 15 mpg, 5 ppg, 3 rpg, 42% FG, 53% FT, 20% threes, 12/12 ATO, 11 blocks, 9 steals
(6-9/210); 22 mpg, 7 ppg in 2022-23; IMG (Fla.) Academy; Bowie, Md.

*—returning starter (started at least 50% of current team’s games last season)

Syracuse Orange
10-Year Snapshot

Season — Overall, League (Place), Postseason

2022-23: 17-15, 10-10 ACC (8th), no postseason (Jim Boeheim)
2021-22: 16-17, 9-11 ACC (9th), no postseason (Jim Boeheim)
2020-21: 18-10, 9-7 ACC (8th), NCAA Sweet 16 (Jim Boeheim)
2019-20: 18-14, 10-10 ACC (6th), COVID (Jim Boeheim)
2018-19: 20-14, 10-8 ACC (6th), NCAA Round of 64 (Jim Boeheim)
2017-18: 23-14, 8-10 ACC (10th), NCAA Sweet 16 (Jim Boeheim)
2016-17: 19-15, 10-8 ACC (7th), NIT Sweet 16 (Jim Boeheim)
2015-16: 23-14, 9-9 ACC (9th), NCAA Final Four (Jim Boeheim)
2014-15: 18-13, 9-9 ACC (8th), no postseason (Jim Boeheim)
2013-14: 28-6, 14-4 ACC (2nd), NCAA Round of 32 (Jim Boeheim)

*—conference champion

NOTE: Please visit the North Carolina Sports Network’s 2023-24 profiles and 10-year snapshots for all 19 Division One men’s basketball programs in North Carolina and all 15 Atlantic Coast Conference programs.

Appalachian State Mountaineers, Sun Belt Conference

Campbell Camels, Coastal Athletic Association

Charlotte 49ers, American Athletic Conference

Davidson Wildcats, Atlantic-10 Conference

Duke Blue Devils, Atlantic Coast Conference

East Carolina Pirates, American Athletic Conference

Elon Phoenix, Coastal Athletic Association

Gardner-Webb Runnin’Bulldogs, Big South Conference

High Point Panthers, Big South Conference

NC Central Eagles, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

NC State Wolfpack, Atlantic Coast Conference

North Carolina Tar Heels, Atlantic Coast Conference

North Carolina A&T Aggies, Coastal Athletic Association

Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Atlantic Coast Conference

Pitt Panthers, Atlantic Coast Conference

Queens Royals, Atlantic Sun Conference

UNC Asheville Bulldogs, Big South Conference

UNC Greensboro Spartans, Southern Conference

UNC Wilmington Seahawks, Coastal Athletic Association

Western Carolina Catamounts, Southern Conference