Syracuse is just eight games into the 2019-20 season, and already fans are projecting doom and gloom. With a 4-4 record SU hasn’t given fans much to be optimistic about. The Orange – particularly Bourama Sidibe – are consistently getting bodied on the boards. Penn State big Mike Watkins (who’s only 6-foot-9) grabbed an astonishing 10 offensive rebounds against Syracuse. For years now the Orange have been skinny, soft, and ill equipped to handle any presence on the glass. But this year, there’s a freshman who seems tough, physical, and an absolute load to take pressure off Sidibe. He, along with his freshmen buddies – outside of John Bol Ajak who is redshirting – need to turn their flashes of potential into consistency soon.
Guerrier’s workload has steadily increased, and he’s taking advantage of his opportunities. Against Penn State Guerrier racked up the first double-double of his young career. He dropped 13 points, including a three, and pulled down 10 rebounds. However, Guerrier does need to take better care of the ball. He’s averaging almost two turnovers a game and it’s not like he’s bringing the ball up the court. Generally a guard feeds him in the post where he’s doing most of his work so far. Guerrier has also started fouling more often as the level of opponent has increased. Both of these things should improve in time as he learns what he can do against D-1 competition.
Serving as the back-up center for Syracuse is sometimes like being a back-up quarterback. When things are going poorly, fans want to give you a shot because it can’t possibly get any worse. And Edwards does what the best back-up QB’s do. He doesn’t turn the ball over, he makes good decisions and he rarely commits dumb penalties. Maybe SU fans can dream he’s the Patrick Mahomes to Alex Smith… or more likely the Duck Hodges to Mason Rudolph. Alright enough back-up quarterback comps. Edwards is a good, solid player. He’s shown off a couple offensive moves and can grab rebounds too. He’s really skinny, but would he really be a Syracuse big man if he wasn’t? Best case scenario for Edwards is that he continues to play smart, fundamental basketball and his playing time increases just like Guerrier’s has.
So uh Goodine hasn’t stepped on the hardwood since SU’s victory over Seattle. Jim Boeheim has stated that the Orange will play seven… maybe eight… no probably seven guys this season. Goodine may not be one of those guys. But if Girard continues to struggle maybe Goodine gets a look. Granted from what we’ve seen Girard has looked better than Goodine even though he’s been terrible recently. But Boeheim has said that he’ll play whoever practices the best. If Goodine starts playing more, you can bet it’s because he’s outplaying Girard when no one’s there to see it.
Girard has shown flashes of brilliance but has really faltered against power five teams. In SU’s past three games – against Oklahoma State, Penn State, and Iowa – Girard has hit just one of 15 threes. He’s getting a taste of college ball after shredding through opponents in high school. But it’s not like he’s forgotten how to score. He’s still a tremendous shooter, but it’ll take time for his shot to become consistent. Unfortunately, the clock is prematurely ticking on SU’s season. To avoid a losing season for the first time in generations, Girard needs to recover his shooting touch fast.