WEST ORANGE, N.J. — Syracuse didn’t play a basketball game on Sunday, but the Orange got two big wins in New Jersey.
Tyler Roberson and Tyler Ennis — two of the five players signed to the Orange for 2013 — both won MVP awards at the Hoop Group Showcase at West Orange High School.
The 6-foot-8 Roberson went for 20 points and nine rebounds as Roselle Catholic beat Pope John XXIII, 71-58, and the 6-2 Ennis had 20 points as St. Benedict’s, No. 15 in the USA Today poll, crushed Wilbraham & Monson, 57-39, in the day’s final game.
The two Garden State players aren’t close friends, but Ennis, a point guard, is looking forward to playing with Roberson next season.
“I think he’s real versatile, he can play a lot positions,” Ennis said. “He can help us in a lot of areas. Hopefully, he can score and be one of our top scorer’s next year and really come in and contribute.”
Roberson had just four points at halftime as his team trailed Pope John, 29-26, but he woke up and scored 16 after the break.
“I think in the first half I missed a lot of free throws, I think I might’ve missed about eight,” Roberson said. “In the second half, I was still missing them but I made a lot more.”
Roselle Catholic coach Dave Boff, whose team improved to 2-0 on the season, said he’d like to see Roberson become more aggressive with his skill-set.
“He is so unselfish, which is one of his great attributes, but there are times when he needs to become selfish,” Boff said. “And I think in second half, a light switch went which was, ‘Right now I need to take over this game because I’m one of the best players in the country.’ And he certainly did that, he carried us in the second half.”
Along with Roberson and Ennis, Syracuse also has shooting guard Ron Patterson, small forward B.J. Johnson and big Chinonso Obokoh signed for 2013, their first year in the ACC.
The Orange remain in the mix for 6-11 Dakari Johnson of Montverde (Fla) Academy and 6-10 Jermaine Lawrence of Pope John, who missed the game with a hand injury. Lawrence will visit Cincinnati Friday, and is also considering Syracuse, St. John’s and UNLV.
“Pretty much everybody we went after we’ve gotten,” Ennis said. “With our class, we have five of us right now…I think we have one more scholarship to get, not sure who they’re going after for that, hopefully we get that one more to make our class complete.”
When that class finally hits the floor for Syracuse, it will be in the ACC, not the Big East where the school has ben since the league was founded in 1979.
“I’m really excited, it’s the best conference in the country right now,” Ennis said. “Every game is gonna be a tough one at my position, especially. I’m gonna go against the top guards and I’m really looking forward to that.”
Photos: Hoop Group