As part of the NCAA rules, teams are allowed to take one out of country trip every four years and the Orange have decided to take advantage of that rule to go face some Canadian competition. On their trip they will face two teams in Montreal, Bishop University and McGill University, and two teams in Ottawa, Ottawa University and Carleton University.
While they should roll over the first three teams fairly easily, the Carleton game should be interesting. Carleton has been a powerhouse university among Canadian Basketball programs for the better part of a couple of decades. In 2013, they won their ninth title in the last eleven years, they are truly a dynasty. Because of this and Syracuse’s roster turnovers, it should be a tighter game than some in the USA might anticipate.
Not only will this trip be great for team bonding, allowing chemistry within the team to take its own course, this trip will be good for recruiting purposes. Syracuse is one of the universities that has really worked hard to create a pipeline with Canada as a way to find recruits. In recent years they have been successful getting some important players for their roster from Canada. Two primary examples of this are Andy Rautins and Kris Joseph, both of whom became team leaders.
On this year’s Syracuse roster, they have an incoming freshman from Brampton, Ontario, Tyler Ennis, who played his prep school basketball in New Jersey and has been named to Team Canada’s under 19 world championship team.
Syracuse’s presence in Canada will signal to potential future recruits that the Orange and coach Jim Boeheim are aware of the talent in the country and that they are interested in seeking it out. As basketball is quickly growing sport in Canada, this can only mean good things for further development of the game. Drawing interest from a big time US program will give the feeling of legitimacy to these young players, a lot of whom probably are growing up following the Orange as one of their favorite college teams.
Though the games are ultimately purely exhibition games for the Orange, it should have amazing long term effects for their ability to seek out hidden talent. It sounds like a wise move by coach Boeheim in the world of recruiting that is often cold and calculated.