Syracuse will be starting anew at the point guard position next season, banking on a freshman to run the show from day one. If that sounds familiar, it's because the Orange needed to do the same thing last season, handing the ball to Tyler Ennis and letting him go to work immediately.
This season, the ball will be in the hands of Kaleb Joseph, a 6-foot-2 New England product who is completely different from Ennis. Whereas Ennis was a pass-first lead guard who played with an old-school feel, Joseph is more of an athlete who can get by his man due to his explosiveness as opposed to craftiness and change of speeds.
While Joseph understands his role, he also knows he's not the same player as Ennis.
"How you are off the court is how you are on the court — mentally at least," Joseph told Syracuse.com. "Ennis has a very calm demeanor, that's how he is. I have more energy, but channeling it, learning how to use it to my advantage, that's what I'm working on.
"I'm not Tyler Ennis."
While outsiders might compare Joseph to Ennis due to their similar circumstances, the coaching staff doesn't seem to have the same expectations of style.
"I don't compare him to Tyler," assistant coach Mike Hopkins told the paper. "I compare him to Jonny Flynn and Jason Hart. Tyler Ennis was old school. Those other guys are new school point guards. Tyler valued the ball like it was a piece of gold. He was like a coach on the floor in that he wasn't high risk. Those other guys, they're great athletes. Instead of hitting singles, it's grand slams."
While they might be different players, Syracuse will once again need a tremendous season from a freshman point guard. Heading into last season, Ennis was going to be one of the most important newcomers in the country -- mainly because the Orange didn't have any other options at the point guard spot. Ideally, Joseph was going to have a year to learn the position under Ennis, but Ennis' outstanding freshman season helped boost him to the NBA after just a few months in Upstate New York.
Joseph is still learning how to be a true point guard, as opposed to just using his athleticism and strength to get by his defender and create a shot for himself. But like Ennis, he will be one of the most important freshmen in the country. If Syracuse is going to be an ACC title threat once again, Joseph will be the key.
Even if he's not Tyler Ennis.