Developing a Point Guard: Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis Displays Potential in Maui Invitational

Tyler Ennis proved he is a worthy player during the Maui Invitational.

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via Yahoo! Sports

Coming into the year, Tyler Ennis was unknown. Jim Boeheim raved about the maturity of the freshman point guard. But in the first few games, Ennis caused some to worry about his play. Ennis erased any doubts with his play this week in Maui.

Against Minnesota, Ennis shot just 1-of-9 from the field, but he hit 10-of-11 from the free-throw line, totaling 12 points, while adding five assists and five steals. Ennis had a solid all-around game. He got the rest of the team involved in the offense and got the offense going in a 75-67 win over the Golden Gophers. Against Cal on Tuesday night, Ennis scored 28 points, by far the most he has scored in a college game. Ennis was on the floor for 37 of the 40-minute game versus the Golden Bears, and every one of his points was needed in a matchup that was much closer than the final score indicates. Then, last night, against 18th-ranked Baylor, Ennis had 11 points and nine rebounds, and played nearly the entire game, helping the offense run very smoothly.

So what is the difference between Ennis now and Ennis earlier in the year? Could Tyler Ennis simply be playing up to a higher level of competition? If so, that is good news for the Orange, because Syracuse will be playing many high-level teams the rest of the year.

Or, did the college game just take getting “used to” and Ennis turned a corner this week? If that is the answer, it is even better for the Orange, because it does not need to worry night-to-night about how well its point guard will play.

Maui showed what Ennis could be. Ennis has the potential to be a scorer and a facilitator. In the Cal game, Ennis shot 9-of-12 from the field and 8-of-8 from the free-throw line, leading to 28 points. In the Baylor game, Ennis shot just 4-of-11, leading to 11 points, but he handed out nine assists and did not commit a single turnover. Ennis played well in transition, something he bragged about at media day before the season. Ennis consistently brought the Orange down the court fast and it led to many quick points on open threes and dunks.

Before the year, Boeheim said how mature Ennis is on the court. He said how Ennis played well beyond his years and that he already has the respect of the team. Ennis showed this week in Maui that he can be the leader of the team this year. Ennis played 40 minutes against Baylor, 37 against Cal and 32 against Minnesota. Those are big-time minutes and Ennis took advantage, putting up three of his best games of the year. If Ennis can play well, and consistently, it will be huge for the Orange, who needs a guy to bring the ball up the court and get the ball into the hands of Trevor Cooney, C.J. Fair and Jerami Grant. Ennis will have games where his scoring spikes, like the 28 against Cal, but his main job is and will be to score about 12 points and hand out about 10 assists a game.

Whether he is more of a scorer or facilitator, one thing is certain: Ennis is much more confident following a successful week in Maui.

Posted by: Seth Goldberg

The Fizz wishes you a happy Thanksgiving!

12 Comments on this Post

  1. @Seth Goldberg;

    I see as lot of positives over the last three days that I didn’t see from the team last year. The biggest being the play of Ennis and Cooney at the guard position. I feel both will be some of the best that’s ever played at Syracuse. C J Fair and Jerami Grant just unbelievable play from the two.

    Another big positive was the improved play of Rakeem Christmas,I hope he keeps the intensity up through the rest of the season.

    Other positives that I see was the low amout of turnovers from a year ago and the improvement in the team hitting(88.7%)55-62 free throws during the last three games.

    Kaleb Joseph coming in next year should cut down Tyler Ennis’ playing time by giving him a rest when needed,and won’t be relied on to play 37-40 minutes each and every game.

    As loaded as team is with talent,and if you were paying close attention to the rotation,Coach Boeheim reverted back to playing 7 players and got away from playing the entire bench.

  2. I love what I saw from this team in the Maui Invitational! The key for this team in my opinion is the great play from Grant. He is so much better on the offensive end from last year. This is a huge plus for the team. If Coleman can continue to get better and score on the inside, this team will be so tough to stop come tournament time. The other key is for the team to continue to shoot well from the charity stripe. Go Cuse!!!!!

  3. By the time the 2014 season rolls around Ennis and Joseph are going to make for a fantastic backcourt for the Orange.Coleman isn’t improving and is on schedule to be a huge bust as a star recruit. Jimmy takes him out early and never puts him back in the game. You think thats a mistake on Boeheim’s part? The man isn’t blind.Redshirting Obokoh. was necessary to get him ready for next year when Keita leaves.Chris and Kaleb coming in will make the returning players even better. They will make up for C J’s lost points. Meanwhile we have this year to watch the player’s progress.

  4. Smitty Section 129

    Love this team. They play very well together and have all the pieces. Chris I wouldn’t call Coleman a bust by any means he looks a lot better then he did last year and will continue to improve. Once he figures out how t play defense he will be fine. Christmas looks a lot better to. Final Four here we come again.

  5. @Smitty Section 129;

    I agree with it all. I would like to add,maybe another National Championship, and if that happens look for Coach Boeheim to retire and turn the program over to the young guns.

    Note—people I’m NOT,repeat NOT starting a rumor here about Coach Boeheim retiring.
    It’s just an observation that I have if Syracuse were to win another championship.

  6. With the men coming off of the Maui Invitational championship and getting ready for Indiana at home in front of 30-31,500 fans. Just letting you know that the Syracuse Womens Basketball Team beat Texas on Thursday and is leading Memphis 45-30 at the half,in the second game of the “PARADISE JAM” AT ST. THOMAS, VIRGIN ISLANDS.

    The womens team is also undefeated going for their 7th win of the season.

    Go CUSE;

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