Trevor Cooney has hit 28% of his three pointers so far this season, Kaleb Joseph has hit 23% of his, Michael Gbinije currently sits at 14% and Ron Patterson brings up the rear at 11%. Bring in the walk-ons!
Just kidding. SU’s shooting will obviously get better; there is no chance that any of Syracuse’s guards have these same numbers next month. Clearly it’s been a rough start to the season, but shooting this badly will eventually go away. These guys are too good for it not to. That being said, there are some things this team can do to improve in addition to just waiting for the slump to end.
It starts down low. Rakeem Christmas and Chris McCullough need to kick the ball out more often. It’s true that these two have been SU’s best players this season but in ACC play, the top teams will be able to limit the big men. Christmas and McCullough looking to shoot as a first option will not always be what is best for Syracuse. When met with a double team, SU’s big men should look to kick the ball out instead of forcing a shot. This will give the likes of Cooney and Gbinije open looks.
DaJuan Coleman returning from injury will also have a positive effect on SU’s three point shooting. Yes, you read that right. Coleman’s return allows Syracuse to go big with the junior in the middle and Christmas and McCullough beside him. With two other big men, McCullough can play further from the basket and shoot the long ball. The true freshman has only attempted (and made) one three so far this season, but judging from his high school performances he is definitely capable of hitting threes. Get healthy soon DaJuan.
Finally Jim Boeheim should not be afraid to start Gbinije or Patterson over Cooney, if Cooney’s three point shooting woes continue. He does have the highest percentage on the team currently, but his one job is to knock down threes and right now he is not doing it well enough. Gbinije can play better inside and Patterson offers a better defensive presence. Boeheim loves Cooney, but when SU’s sharp shooter is not hitting, he is not helping the team. Benching Cooney could even spark Syracuse’s go-to three-point scorer.
After the Orange’s 69-57 loss to St. John’s last Saturday Boeheim said, “We gotta make some shots or we’re going to lose.” He’s right; if SU continues to shoot this poorly the team has no shot at an NCAA tournament bid.
Posted: Connor Morrissette