Scoop Jardine has been through it all, and sees a Final Four team in front of him everyday at practice. So he’s taking it upon himself to impart that wisdom to help keep this potential runaway train on the tracks. After one final tuneup tonight, Syracuse will finally get its much anticipated season underway Saturday and begin its journey to what Orange Nation hopes will be a magical March. The Orange will be led on that journey by its fifth-year point guard.
The enigmatic Scoop has experienced success in his career with the Orange, posting a solid 12.5 points and 5.8 assists per game last year, and earning sixth man of the year honors in ’09. But the point guard has also been widely criticized by fans and media for his propensity for turnovers (2.8 per game last season) and questionable decision making.
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If Syracuse is going to reach an elite level this season, it‚Äôs going to need more Good Scoop, and less bad Scoop. If Scoop has matured like we want to believe, SU is in good hands.¬†Jardine believes the roller coaster ride he‚Äôs been through at SU already will help the team in his final season.
‚ÄúUps and downs that we had last year our team is back with the same people, we know what we went through, we know what the reporters are going to say, we know how teams are going to play us, we know everything. So this is a year we just got to take control. I see it like we‚Äôve got the notes to the test and we‚Äôve just got to study them and try to win a championship.‚Äù
With Rick Jackson gone, Scoop has also assumed an even bigger leadership role on this year‚Äôs team. It‚Äôs a position he embraces, and Scoop has plenty of knowledge to impart on his younger teammates.
‚ÄúI have it all for them. I have everything you could possibly have at Syracuse. I‚Äôve been through it all. ¬†If you wanna know about getting in trouble or winning, I‚Äôve been through it all. So me being here for this team, there‚Äôs a reason that I‚Äôm here and hopefully that reason is a great reason.‚Äù
The point guard went through a rigorous summer, and appears focused and determined heading into his final campaign. Part of the reason may be Scoop knows this team has the talent to accomplish big things. When asked if he got the feeling that this was a special group:
‚ÄúI do. I get it everyday. But the thing about this season is you can be a special team and lose in the first round of the NCAA tournament, then all that means nothing. So we just want to take it one day at a time, forget what people say about us, and just know what we have to do every game, every practice, every minute.‚Äù
With all the talent on this year‚Äôs roster, Jardine knows part of his role as a leader will be to keep everyone focused on the ultimate goal. In his mind the key for the Orange to reach their potential is simple. Just like Kris Joseph suggested, allowing the team to come before the individual will be SU’s greatest challenge.
‚ÄúKeeping our egos at the door, and doing whatever it takes to win basketball games.‚Äù
Scoop has been an incredible sparkplug throughout his career, but as a fifth-year senior he needs to eliminate the head-scratching decisions that haunted him in the past. The point guard is the engine that makes the Orange machine go. With more horsepower than ever, if Scoop can steer that machine in the right direction he just may get to experience the one thing he hasn‚Äôt yet at Syracuse: a Final Four.
Posted: Steve Neikam