Could Tyler Ennis’s unexpectedly awesome lead him to the NBA early?
The college basketball world buzzed as the season started and a star-studded freshman class entered the game. But sometimes lost among Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Jabari Parker, Aaron Gordon and others was Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis, who has quietly raised his game to be among the best point guards in the country.
Although it was a foregone conclusion that Wiggins, Randle and Parker would be one-and-done players and go to the NBA, it wasn’t widely thought that Ennis would be one of those players. However, is it possible that he is playing his way into one-and-done territory?
Ennis has been outstanding for the Orange this year, starting every game and averaging nearly 33 minutes per game in a 15-0 start. While Ennis may not score like Michael Carter-Williams last year, he is more poised and more careful with the ball , as shown by his 4.6 assist-to-turnover ratio, good for second in the nation.
Because he is really a pure point guard, Ennis does not need to score to have an affect on the game, though he has been able to score (think about Maui). Against Eastern Michigan, Ennis didn’t score a single point, but dished out nine assists, pulled in five rebounds and had three steals in the 22-point win.
Ennis has traits that NBA teams drool over, even if the scoring isn’t quite there on a consistent basis.
As for where Ennis stacks up with some of the other freshman, Jeff Goodman of ESPN has Ennis ranked as the third best freshman in the country, behind Parker and Randle.
Better than Aaron Gordon, who is leading the no.1 team in the country, and super-freshman (and former Ennis teammate) Andrew Wiggins.
CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein has tweeted multiple times that although other freshmen may be more talented than Ennis, none are more important to Ennis is to his team. Just last week, Rothstein tweeted Ennis “plays like a RS junior,” or somebody three years older than he is. Ennis’ poise should come as no surprise, as Jim Boeheim raved about the freshman point guard before the season started.
While a big question before the year was how Ennis would adapt to the college game, halfway through his freshman year it looks like Ennis could be playing his way into one-and-done territory.
So what would Ennis leaving mean to the future of the Orange? As far as recruiting, Kaleb Joseph has already verbally committed for next year, but the Orange may need to bring in another point guard to come off the bench. It could also mean more Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney running the point next year in the event that Joseph isn’t ready to run the offense 32+ minutes a game the way Ennis has done. If Ennis leaves, it would also mean Ron Patterson needs to step up big and become somebody Boeheim can turn to.
By no means is it a done deal Tyler Ennis leaves. He is simply playing better than expected, as well as any other point guard in the country, and possibly into a situation where he will have a very hard decision to make at the end of the year.
Posted by: Seth Goldberg