Pretty impressive win for SU last night. Hung in there against a solid opponent in a crazy loud building...fell behind, put on a spectacular run to end the first half. Took a string of bad shots to let NC State right back in it in the 2nd half, but finished very strong. Overall, a 16-point win at NC State is a very good win.
This team is absolutely loaded. One of the best recruits in the nation, Rakeem Christmas, is playing like 2 minutes a game for them. Carter-Williams, another top-shelf freshman, played 2 minutes. And the guy that's probably their best shooter, Cooney, was redshirted.
As excited as I am for this current year, I'm also thinking two years down the road. This team will still have Melo, Keita, Waiters, Fair, Christmas, Carter-Williams, Cooney, and two excellent recruits for 2012 in DeJuan Coleman (#10 in the US), and Jerami Grant (#60 in the US).
I agree the future looks bright, but I think next year is the "look out" year. Maybe I'm just cynical, but I don't think there is any way Waiters will be in college his senior year. Frankly, I'm hoping he'll come back next year. Similarly, given the improvement and trajectory of Melo, the scarcity of true centers in the NBA, and the fact that Melo is already a 21 year old sophomore, I don't expect him on the team in two years (unless his development flatlines, of course).
Next year the team loses Joseph and Scoop. CJ Fair will be ready to step into Joseph's position, and frankly, with Scoop there is a bit of addition by subtraction. Scoop has been more under control this year, but I think a strong argument can be made that Scoop is the least talented guard among Waiters, Triche, MCW, and Cooney. Next year Waiters and Triche can start with MCW coming off the bench and Cooney acting as the deadeye shooter. The team will be absolutely loaded down low, having Melo and Christmas with another year of development and Coleman, who is an offensively inclined center, coming in. I actually think there may even be a chance that Keita redshirts. He's a useful player, but I don't see a whole lot of minutes for him. If he would be willing to sit a year, Melo, Christmas, and Coleman all could very well be out of the program in the following year or two. Keita would be a valuable bridge to whatever younger bigs they bring in.
Defensively, next year they could be even better. A lineup of Waiters and MCW at the top of the zone with Christmas, Melo, and Fair in the back would be very long, very quick, and very disruptive.
The team will still have ridiculous depth, with four quality guards, three quality post players, and depth on the wing with Southerland and Grant. They should have an uptick in post scoring with the addition of Coleman and the continued development of Melo and Christmas. Waiters already looks like an 18-20 ppg scorer, and Cooney is there to keep teams honest from three.
I like this years team, but I really love the potential for next year's team.