The Syracuse University men's basketball program came away Monday night with an easy 92-56 victory over Manhattan University in the first round of the NIT Tipoff Tournament. Sophomore guard Dion Waiter came off the bench to net a game-best 17 points to help the Orange, No. 5 in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN Coaches polls, earn their second victory of the year.
However, the biggest news of the night wasn't SU's lopsided victory, but head coach Jim Boeheim's post-game announcement that freshman guard Trevor Cooney will be redshirted -- a process in which the player's eligibility is delayed one or, at most, two seasons. The player is allowed to attend classes, practice with the team and dress for a game, but he/she can't play. Now, if an injury were to occur to another SU player, Cooney's redshirt status could be removed.
Currently, Syracuse is using a 10-man rotation that already features at least five 3-point shooting threats. Cooney, who was rated as one of the best, if not the best, 3-point shooting recruits in the Class of 2011, will not be needed with all of the Orange's offensive threats.
On Saturday, after Syracuse drubbed Fordham University, 78-53, Boeheim was asked if he was close to deciding on Cooney's redshirt status. Boeheim response was, "We're close. We're close." Now, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out Boeheim's plans with the 6-foot-4 freshman, who played in both preseason games, but didn't take off his warm ups in SU's first two contests -- if Cooney did, he would have forfeited the right to redshirt.
For SU and Cooney, this is the right choice. One year to study, one year to develop and one extra year to snipe in an Orange uniform.
-- On Tuesday at 7 p.m. (ESPN3), the Syracuse basketball schedule features the Orange hosting the University at Albany at the Carrier Dome.