The real Trevor Cooney has finally entered the Dome. The redshirt sophomore scored 27 points to rally the Orange from a 14-point deficit to beat Cornell on Friday night. As a result, he was named the ACC Player of the Week for his stellar play. It’s only one game, but what are some of the differences between this season and last for the Delaware product?
We’ll call it the three “Ps”.
Poise: The bottom line is Cooney struggled last season. He could not connect from behind the arc on a constant basis, including a handful of air balls. He just did not seem comfortable when he was on the floor. However, Cooney looked like a completely different player on Friday. With every made shot, Cooney grew more confident. Even went he missed a shot in the middle of the first half, he shook it off and went on to make his next six three-point attempts. That is something he did not do last season. For the first time since joining the Orange, it seemed as if Cooney was having fun rather than feeling every shot he took had to go in.
Pressure: That leads into the next difference. Last season, Cooney had high expectations to produce right away from the three-point line. Because he also redshirted his first year, many fans expected him to be ready during his redshirt freshman season. When he struggled to find his shot, Cooney would hear a showering of boos from the fans. It always seemed as if the boos were louder for Cooney because expectations were so high. Some people tagged him as a better shooter coming into SU than his mentor, Gerry McNamara. But the reality is fans just wanted to see him succeed. Cooney put the critics to rest this past Friday for at least a few days. He embraced the pressure for the first time since playing against Georgetown in the Big East Championship last season. Cooney finally got to show off his ability and the work he has put in with the coaching staff. Mike Hopkins constantly tweets pictures of Cooney putting in extra hours to get where he wants to be, while Gerry McNamara has worked with him closely since the beginning.
Playing time: One of the major reasons Cooney felt so much pressure to hit shots when he was on the floor was because he was not on the floor a whole lot. Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams dominated the backcourt for the majority of games, with Cooney coming in off the bench in limited minutes. This season, Cooney will be expected to be on the floor for most of the game with the lack of depth in the backcourt. With Ennis running top of the key, only Trevor Cooney and Ron Patterson are listed in the backcourt at the 2-position. Michael Gbinije has tried to feel his into the top of the key but that is still a major work-in-progress. Regardless, the increase in minutes should help Cooney’s confidence throughout the season.
It will be hard to replicate what Orange Nation witnessed on Friday, but the game does give Trevor Cooney a great platform to build off of with Fordham entering the Loud House tonight. With so many questions coming into this season, it is good to see the Orange trying to answer them early.
Posted by: Zephan Mayell