All offseason, Syracuse fans have become increasingly excited about the potential of Jalen Carey and Buddy Boeheim. Two games into their respective careers, the freshmen have shown flashes of potential. However, they have also made mistakes common among young players.
While Carey sat out preseason play due to injury, Boeheim was one of Syracuse’s top scorers against Saint Rose and Le Moyne. Obviously those games were warm-ups for the Orange but it was encouraging to see Boeheim shoot the three-ball well. However, he hasn’t been the same player in the regular season as he’s scored just six points in the first two games while shooting 2-18 from the field.
The absence of Frank Howard due to injury has pushed Boeheim into a starting role that he’s not ready for. Boeheim may have grown up learning the 2-3 zone, but that doesn’t change the learning curve of playing against D-1 competition. Like most freshmen, he has to get stronger and gain confidence in his shot. Even though he’s 1-10 from three in the first two games, he showed his range in exhibition play where he shot fifty percent from deep. Clearly he has the ability. The next step is to gain confidence in making those shots in games that count.
Meanwhile Carey had a solid debut against Eastern Washington, scoring seven points and grabbing six rebounds. He also made big plays that didn’t show up on the stat sheet. Many of those were a result of the full court press where the point guard was a spark plug for the Orange. He forced turnovers and created scoring opportunities for teammates.
While he showed his potential against Eastern Washington, his game against Morehead State showed the rawness of his game. Carey didn’t score and turned the ball over four times. He had a couple of assists but didn’t record a rebound. As a freshman, he’s going to have games like this, but they will become less frequent as the season goes on. Similarly to Boeheim, the return of Howard will take the pressure off of the guards.
Luckily, on a loaded roster the two won’t have to shoulder the burden of responsibility. Instead, they will defer to Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett, and Frank Howard once he recovers. The freshmen will eventually grow into the future leaders of the Orange but for now, Boeheim, Carey, and SU fans will have to wait.