Syracuse's Richmond, Braswell and Ajak leaving program

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) After Syracuse was eliminated by Houston in the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament, Orange coach Jim Boeheim said he expected players to leave the program. He was spot on.

Point guard Kadary Richmond, forward Robert Braswell, and center John Bol Ajak entered the NCAA transfer portal and Boeheim essentially said good-bye to them on Tuesday.

''I want to thank John Bol, Rob and Kadary for all they contributed to the Syracuse program,'' Boeheim said in a statement. ''I especially want to thank Rob and Kadary for the key role they played in the success we had at the end of the year. We all wish them the best.''

Richmond is the biggest loss because of his defensive contributions in the Orange's zone defense and his ability to run the offense as a freshman. He played in all 28 games, with three starts when junior shooting guard Buddy Boeheim was out recovering from COVID-19, but averaged just 21 minutes playing behind sophomore Joe Girard. Richmond averaged 6.3 points, ranked third on the team with 86 assists, topped the team with 46 steals, and had 14 blocks.

Braswell, a 6-foot-7 redshirt sophomore who was injured most of the previous season, averaged 12.1 minutes in 2020-21. He became a factor off the bench near the end of the season. Over a four-game stretch prior to the loss to Houston on Saturday night, he averaged 25 minutes and scored 37 points on 14-of-22 shooting.

Ajak, a 6-10 freshman center, played only 51 minutes in 10 games.

''We're going to have to adjust to it and start recruiting in the transfer portal,'' Boeheim said. ''Being able to transfer and play right away means if you have any issue at all, any issue, you're going to leave.''

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