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Orange Fizz Inbox: Hoops Faltering, Slick Rick Handshake, Nu’keese

While last week’s Orange Fizz Inbox was a blast, this week’s is the opposite. Last Sunday Fizz Nation was celebrating big wins at UConn and USF, a very successful National Signing Day, and the debunking of the point-shaving rumor.

This week? Yikes.

Let’s start with the recruiting rumblings for this week’s inbox.

“@orangefizz Did the ‘Cuse get Nu’keese?” – @AnishESPN

Always good to hear celebrity Fizz Feedback, in this case ESPN’s Anish Shroff. The short answer is no, at least not yet. As The Fizz noted, Nu’keese fits the description of Recruit X. He would fill the void left by DeFarrel Davis failing to qualify academically, his timeline coincides with Marrone’s declaration it would sort out two weeks from Signing Day. And it seems like Syracuse may have been looking at him for a while now.

The problem is he doesn’t fit the type of student-athlete Marrone is targeting. He has off the field baggage, and this year’s SU recruiting class is highlighted by every player being a high school captain. As Chad Ochocinco/Johnson would say: “That don’t make no damn sense.”

A few people are throwing this theory out there on Recruit X:

“This is only speculation on my part and I don’t want to start any rumors here, but do you think RECRUIT “X” might be the #1 Defensive End Jadeveon Clowney out of South Carolina? I noticed that he hasn’t declared to any school yet. That would be huge for Syracuse if he did come here to play.” – Ron

My response in our comments section stated there is as good a chance that Clowney is Recruit X as me starting at point guard for Scoop tomorrow. Clowney hasn’t committed yet but is headed to an SEC school or Clemson.

“Well according to Hoffman’s sources Scoop isn’t starting anymore anyway so I’d say there might be a chance he comes here.” -Howie

Unless my sources are my hopes and dreams, Scoop is starting. As mentioned in the most recent Fizzcast, Scoop is a prototypical backup point guard. But never did we suggest he’s not going to start. Scoop’s game = backup point guard. Scoop = your starter for at least the rest of this year.

As for Clowney? No chance. Syracuse isn’t in on him, despite @orangedan09’s best efforts.

“@orangefizz I’ve said it from the start it’s Clowney. Marrone is going to announce on v-day as a gift to all Syracuse faithful. Quote me.” – @orangedan09

And I’m the next President of the United States. Rough week for Orange hoops. Let’s start with the positive and The Fizz’s profile Saturday of C.J. Fair. He’s the most efficient player Syracuse has and maybe the most consistent Orange outside of Rick Jackson (unless you count Fab Melo being consistently terrible).

“Impossible not to root for the hard-working underdog. He’s reminiscent of Josh Pace, just a little taller. Like the Scoop/Jackson recruiting combo, Scoop was the real target, Jackson almost a tag along. Just like almost all great Cuse players, a hard-working, humbling approach turns out winners!!!” -aty2626

Whether it be on a basketball court, as a journalist, or an accountant, hard work pays off. Most high-level high school guys are able to get by on talent alone. At the college level, you either develop a work ethic or frustrate the hell out of your coaches. Fair came in knowing he had to grind and getting by on talent wasn’t an option. The result – he’s a key contributor, a fan and coach favorite, and his “more talented” counterparts (Fab and Waiters) drive everybody up a giant orange wall.

In the comments section of Couzen’s article after the Georgetown loss, there was a call for more time for Mookie and Southerland.

Watching them in warmups would have you believe these two should play more, but there’s a reason they don’t get more minutes. At 5’11” (listed), Brandon Reese is a better defender at the top of the zone than Mookie Jones. His feet are just too slow. And it doesn’t help The Per’fesser has no idea what’s going on with the Mookster any given day emotionally.

Meantime, C.J. Fair is everything Southerland is not. Fair gives max effort, he’s an efficient scorer (who amazingly is always open), and rebounds. Southerland has only grabbed more than three boards in a game three times all season, and two of those were against Morgan St. and Colgate. There is no reason Southerland can’t be an elite rebounder given his freakish length and freakier athletic ability, but he’s simply not there yet and until he is, let him ride the pine.

Wednesday, The Fizz got technical breaking down the Hoyas “Princeton offense,” and how SU would defend it.

“I’ve noticed we’ve gotten abused when our guards are collapse on the key/high post. This leads to either an open 3 at the wing, or if our forward shifts up to cover it, from the corner. If they get it to the open corner and don’t shoot a 3, they can drive the baseline (equivalent of getting the ball in the short corner), causing our centers to come out to meet the shooter (and fouling). 1) Am I off-base on that? 2) What’s the solution if I’m not? More quickness from our Forwards? Weakside guard acting as primary defender in the middle? Hope for bad shooting? I could see this being a problem with Freeman.”  – Mr. RenegadePumpkin

My response in said comments section:

Mr. Pumpkin, you’re dead on. Unlike a man defense where rotations are usually unpredictable (unless you execute perfectly), you know where the help is coming from in a zone and can exploit it. Same concept as described in the article, the two weaknesses are the high post and the short corners either with a drive or pass. Doesn’t matter how it gets there.

The solution is two-fold. First, don’t let the ball get there. That starts with ball pressure and ends with ball denial. The second is reacting before the pass. It’s pretty easy to figure out where the next pass is going, so get there as the pass does and don’t get burned. Easier said then done, but that’s how you do it.

Watching the game, I thought my Fizz-tacular breakdown was for naught. Georgetown wasn’t running Princeton. The Hoyas were in your standard zone offense. And then with time winding down, two backdoor cuts to the jugular. One off a slow rotation, the other exploiting a lack of communication after the center stepped up to guard the high post. Exactly like we diagrammed on The Fizz that day.

Finally, the loss to Louisville led to the realization Rick Pitino simply owns Jim Boeheim. This was met with open wound style anger.

“@orangefizz Boeheim has no class. Never congratulates opposing coach, win or lose. Doofus look on face. Can’t win going seven deep” – @MartinBerliner

I wouldn’t go that far. Does he come across as a salty old man? Absolutely. Are young media members petrified to ask him questions? Yep. Are unprepared reporters guaranteed to get dumped on after asking a dumb question? 100%. But that doesn’t mean he has no class.

The man was just named “Father of the Year.” His foundation is one of the biggest in the country among college coaches. He does a ton of work with the V Foundation. He is certainly not classless. Also, this picture confirms Boeheim shook hands with Slick Rick.

Not an emotional moment but absolute evidence of a handshake. I have a much bigger problem with the graphic than the handshake. Seven straight? That’s the issue.

Should SU go deeper to the bench? Boeheim made it to the Sweet 16 last year (and A.O.’s quad away from a possible Final Four) by going seven deep. As long as the seven are healthy, you can win with them. It’s who makes up the seven and how they’re playing that has been the issue.

If you’d like your question answered in the Orange Fizz Inbox, email us, comment below our posts or shoot us tweets. We’ll reconvene right here next week!

Posted: Craig Hoffman

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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