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Now that Syracuse is 22-0 and at the top of the nation’s rankings, it’s a legitimate time to really consider if this team is worthy of a national championship.
Syracuse has played five ranked opponents: Baylor, Villanova, UNC, Pittsburgh and Duke. Although some of these games were close, it shows how much of a second-half team the Orange is. Some players have stepped up, while others have not. Here are individual grades for the guys who are making it happen:
Jim Boeheim: A. Boeheim has led this team to its best start in school history and the top team in the nation. He had faith in Tyler Ennis to be his starting point guard and has helped him become the leader of this team. Right now, Boeheim is just doing his thing and he has the best tools to get the job done.
Tyler Ennis: A. Ennis is likely the best point guard and one of the top freshmen in the country. He is the biggest tool for the Orange and Syracuse would not be 23-0 and No. 1 without him. Sometimes he doesn’t put up the high scoring numbers, but he never hurts the team.
Trevor Cooney: B+. He has slipped a little bit in ACC play, becoming somewhat inconsistent. He dominated non-conference play, setting career highs in points, but the game against Notre Dame on Monday shows his potential. He set a career high in points and also had nine three’s to tie the school record. He’s still Syracuse’s number one three-point guy and he and Ennis build what is likely the best backcourt in the ACC.
CJ Fair: B+. This may be a little tough for Fair. He could even be an A-. He still does his thing, even with Ennis and Cooney arriving on the scene. He’s the senior leader and hasn’t been a selfish player. He knows that all he wants to do is win and he is willing to dish the ball to the players that give Syracuse the best chance to win.
Jerami Grant: B+. He’s probably NBA bound. He has done nothing but a solid job filling in for DaJuan Coleman and he’s played better than Coleman. He can hit the mid-range shot when he needs to, and he can drive to the basket and provide the Orange with some much needed-energy at times.
Rakeem Christmas: C+. Orange Nation knows not to expect any offensive production from him. He has played solid defense in his junior year, and he has also shown to be more aggressive with players who attack the basket. He’s not the best player in the conference but with the rest of the offensive explosion, much isn’t needed from Christmas.
BJ Johnson: C. He’s been coming off the bench and is a freshman,. He will be a solid player for Syracuse in the future.
Ron Patterson: N/A. He hasn’t played much since non-conference play. At times he looked to be a solid player off the bench.
Tyler Roberson: B. He comes in and gives Boeheim some needed minutes to give his starters some rest.
Baye Keita: B-. He’s a fan favorite, and people like him because he gives Syracuse minutes. When Christmas gets into foul trouble, Keita is the man off the bench. He provides the energy Syracuse needs, but doesn’t bring much offensive skill. He has done a solid job off the glass.
Michael Gbinije: C+. Ennis can play 40 minutes. Therefore, Gbinije doesn’t get much attention or time to show off his skills. This is his first season after sitting out after the Duke transfer, so he’s probably still a little dry.
How do you rank them?
Posted by: Austin Pollack