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Will Jim Boeheim Finally Play Robert Braswell Next Season?

Courtesy of Syracuse.com

Over the past couple of seasons, Robert Braswell has sat on the bench watching average Syracuse teams do average team things, like lose to a bad Miami team and squeak past an awful Wake Forest squad.

Throughout this mediocrity, Braswell has played a total 103 minutes and lost two inches, according to cuse.com. Obviously SU has better players ahead of Braswell on its depth chart. But there were plenty of times when Marek Dolezaj was in foul trouble last season – he fouled out in nearly a third of the games – when Braswell could have entered. 

Sure Braswell has dealt with injuries, which ended his season prematurely. Since he can redshirt, that could actually help him turn into a late-bloomer at Syracuse. 

Even with Dolezaj and Quincy Guerrier ahead of him on the depth chart this coming season, Braswell has shown potential, albeit in extremely small sample sizes. Frankly, he’s a good depth player at Syracuse’s deepest position. But when he is on the court, Braswell tends to deliver. 

His 2.2 points per game last season won’t raise any eyebrows, but he has decent range. Braswell seems to know his role in SU’s offense and takes what the defense gives him. When the shot’s there, he’ll take it. That forces defenses to pay attention to him, but Braswell won’t force a bad shot. 

Last season Braswell went 8-12 from the field and sinked one of his two attempts from distance. Based on this minute sample size, Braswell may have the best range of SU’s bigs. Hypothetically, he could space the floor if SU played small-ball offense.

Since he’s seemingly shrunk to 6-foot-7, some fans have wondered if Braswell could play small forward. Obviously that wasn’t going to happen last season with Elijah Hughes manning the position. But could it happen this coming season, since there’s now a gaping hole left in Hughes’ departure to the NBA?

It’s possible, but it’d be interesting to see how Braswell would perform on the defensive end. Syracuse’s offense wouldn’t be as strong with Braswell at small forward over someone like Buddy Boeheim bumping up a position. But on defense, if Braswell’s fully recovered from his leg injuries, he could be a better wing defender.

The problem is we’ve never seen him in this role. When there is a rare Braswell emergence – akin to seeing Bigfoot – he’s always positioned on the blocks. If he’s never practiced on the wing, would it really work now? No one knows when Syracuse players will be able to make it back to campus for summer workouts. That doesn’t bode well for Braswell learning a new position in the 2-3 zone. 

Right now, it seems like Braswell will only play power forward. Sure that could change, but that’s doubtful. And unfortunately, that means he’s still stuck behind Dolezaj and Guerrier. No new information suggests Boeheim is planning to open up his bench either. So, Braswell may have to wait for Dolezaj to graduate next year before seeing action on the court. 

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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