In the Fizz’s player preview of the Syracuse Basketball season, we compared freshman point guard Howard Washington to Syracuse legend (? is that fair? Maybe not, but a great player) Tyler Ennis. Washington has had extremely limited opportunities this season and perhaps we overthought things. Or maybe under thought it. Comparing a freshman point guard to a former freshman point guard is an easy comparison, but maybe we should have looked at the guy who has a personal relationship with Ennis and is following in his footsteps at Syracuse, Oshae Brissett.
This comparison is not about style of play. Comparing a small point guard to a lanky forward would hardly be fair. But the rapid development and growth of Brissett from a new face to a true leader has to seem familiar to Orange fans. Brissett may not possess the raw shooting ability that Tyus Battle has. He may not be blessed with the sheer size and length that Paschal Chukwu has or the passing ability that Frank Howard shows when he is on his game but he sure as heck can do a whole lot of things well. And do it calmly.
Perhaps that was Ennis’ greatest attribute. Everything the Canadian did seemed effortless. His drives to the basket with the shot clock winding down and his 35 foot buzzer beaters were done with the same cold, confident expression. Brissett is a picture of composure for the Orange. On Tuesday when Matthew Moyer went down, Tyus Battle struggled to get consistent looks and the Bulls refused to go away quietly, it was the Canadian freshman who proved to be the calming influence. He stepped up to the charity stripe and knocked down 16-16 free throws, a Carrier Dome record for most free throws made in a game without a miss. He hit a pair of big three pointers and, speaking for myself, there was no one I wanted to have the ball more down the stretch than Oshae Brissett.
Want to compare the tangibles? Brissett is averaging 15.6 points per game. Ennis averaged 12.1 points per game through his first 11 career college games. Brissett leads the ACC in free throws attempted and made, he is fourth in total rebounds and top ten in both offensive and defensive rebounds. He has the fourth lowest turnover percentage among qualified ACC players and is a half rebound shy of averaging a double-double. He is 19 years old and will only get better. And he, night in and night out, improves and makes clutch plays for the Orange, all with an air of confidence and calmness that is reminiscent of his friend Tyler Ennis.