Tyler Ennis’s cool-under-pressure attitude is a huge part of Syracuse’s 25-0 run.
Smooth, calm, reliable, efficient and clutch: all accurate descriptions of Tyler Ennis. “Flashy” isn’t usually one, though lately he’s capitalized on his cool: the last-second, game-winning assist to C.J. Fair against NC State Feb. 15 and the unimaginable buzzer-beater against 25-ranked Pittsburgh, for example. What Ennis can do on the court is oftentimes incredible, but what is even more remarkable is how he does it.
Despite having an off night against NC State, Ennis still delivered in crunch time with a fast-break pass to Fair that stole the game for the Orange. After making the decisive pass, Ennis played spectacular defense on NC State’s T.J. Warren during the Wolfpack’s last possession. Warren’s final shot came up just short. The voice of the Orange, Matt Park, called Syracuse’s win a miracle. Postgame there was no showy celebration from Ennis. He simply hugged Fair, thanking him for converting the final bucket, and then went into the locker room. Ennis’s calm nature is always on display even after the biggest of wins.
When he hit the one-in-a-million 35-foot buzzer-beater against Pitt, Ennis looked out into the crowd and yelled two quick words before he was engulfed by his teammates. There was no obnoxious “look at me” follow-through, nor a finger over the mouth to quiet Pitt fans. There was not even a raised arm. The way he succeeds is what makes him such a special player. He will make an All-American play and act like it was just another day at the office. He simply does his job. If Syracuse needs a bucket he delivers, no matter what the situation calls for. Just like against NC State, his collected way once again carried over after the game. He hit the shot of the season and then coyly told the press that he was the second option to take the last shot.
He is every coach’s dream. He lets his play do the talking for him.
The eye-popping statistic for Ennis is that he rarely turns the ball over. He averages a mere 1.5 turnovers per game. His main job for the Orange is to control the offense and be the main distributor. He does it flawlessly. Fair, Jeremi Grant and Trevor Cooney are all having incredible seasons and a lot of it is because Ennis puts them in positions to score. He is not a glitzy scoring point guard like Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell or UConn’s Shabazz Napier—and that is perfectly fine. Even in the final two minutes, when he scores at an exceptional level, he is not suddenly a dazzling scorer. The great scorers improvise; Ennis plans his every movement. His devices turn into buckets and those buckets turn into wins.
Ennis triumphs in an unflappable and humble manner. Right now Syracuse, at 25-0, has the longest win streak in program history. The freshman phenom is a huge part of that.
Posted by: Connor Morrissette