As we recount Brandon Triche’s great performance against Gonzaga it’s important to remember the road he’s been on since coming to the Hill.
Mid-summer, the Per’fesser anointed the freshman as his starter at point for the upcoming season. Nobody had seen Scoop Jardine’s metamorphosis and thus, figured things with Scoop would continue down the same disappointing path.
Then the season happened. Scoop was in damn good shape, and the offense seemed to click when he was in the lineup. The numbers indicated the same: Scoop had a better assist to turnover ratio, and averaged slightly more than Triche in the points department as well. Even I mentioned how the lack of play from the point hurt the Orange.
So everyone began to ask, “should we be starting Scoop?”
The Fizz vehemently argued against it. Not because Scoop didn’t deserve it, but because of the effect it would have on a serviceable rotation. Essentially, they wouldn’t have one.
Why? Most talented freshmen can hoop at this level. But many run into problems when things don’t go the way they used to.
In Triche’s case, he didn’t have turnover problems in high school, and his coach never had the quick trigger. If he was pulled from SU’s starting lineup, he very well could have been lost as even a bench player.
With only seven players getting legitimate minutes, this could have killed the team (especially with AO’s injury).
By leaving him in the starters zip code, Boeheim gave Triche a chance to prove that he deserved the position every night. If he didn’t perform, he was yanked, but he always had that chance.
In the end, the term “starter” ended up being thrown away with this team because of the “seven-starter mentality.” And to Scoop’s credit, he downplayed the role all season long.
But if Triche comes off the bench, does he score 13 points in a round-two tournament game? Debatable.