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Syracuse Dominates Kennesaw State, But Does The Orange Have Guard Issues?

Joseph Struggles while Gbinije sits out for undisclosed reasons.

The transition from Tyler Ennis to Kaleb Joseph might not be as easy as expected.

Yes, it has only been one game, but Joseph did not wow anyone last night in SU’s 89-42 season opening win over Kennesaw State. The freshman had only four points as well as four turnovers in 23 minutes. Ron Patterson replaced Joseph for the majority of the second half despite not playing particularly well either. The sophomore went 2-9 from the floor scoring five points, but Boeheim still trusted Patterson over Joseph.

Like Joseph, Ennis struggled to score in SU’s opener against Cornell last season. The main difference between the two however, is that Ennis looked much more comfortable. He scored only a single point against the Big Red, but dished out eight assists and grabbed eight boards.

Using a one game sample size to evaluate a player is totally unfair. Just look at Ennis’ numbers last year against St. Francis (warning: it’s not pretty). Obviously, it was not an ideal debut for Joseph, but just like Ennis did, he needs time to truly learn what it takes to play point guard under Jim Boeheim. We’ll check back in December.

The more pressing issue for Syracuse basketball is last night’s absence of Michael Gbinije. The player many consider to be SU’s backup point guard sat out last night and it was not because of an injury.

Post-game Boeheim said, “I never talk about it when we hold someone out…It was a team thing.” Syracuse’s coach went on to say that Gbinije will be back for SU’s game against Hampton on Sunday.

Something smells fishy here. Gbinije could have been suspended for playing in a second summer league just like Jeremi Grant was last year. If that’s the case though shouldn’t Gbinije have learned from Grant’s mistake? This is just speculation of course, the Duke transfer really could have been suspended for anything. Hopefully whatever happened does not haunt SU down the road.

Putting all outside factors aside, Syracuse’s guard play was not good enough last night. That must change Sunday.

Posted: Connor Morrissette

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