Beneath all of the officiating calls and reaction to Jim Boeheim’s late-game meltdown there is one clear takeaway from Syracuse’s 66-60 loss to Duke: Tyler Ennis needs to play a second year of college basketball.
Entering the NBA draft after only one season at Syracuse would be a big mistake. Ennis’s play this season has been nothing short of spectacular at times, but another year will do him wonders. There is no doubt he is the now 25-2 Orange’s most vital player. Lately, however, he’s come back down to Earth. In yesterday’s loss to Duke, Ennis did not play like the smooth and reliable point guard Orange Nation knows and loves. He shot only 15.4 percent from the field, with nine points on just 2-of-13 shooting. Ennis must work on scoring more consistently and winning games late now that the opposition knows what he is capable of. A second season would allow him to fine-tune his game and become a lottery pick.
Comparing Ennis to definite one-and-done small forward Jabari Parker, it is clear that Parker has the ability Ennis still needs to work to attain. Yes, Ennis is a pass-first point guard, but accompanying that aspect of his game with an improved scoring ability will raise his draft status immensely. Parker, though, has NBA-ready scoring capabilities. He has 15 20-point games this season and had a well-rounded game against Syracuse on February 22, shooting 75 percent from the floor and grabbing 10 rebounds.
The key difference between the two is that Parker possesses an NBA ready talent and ability. On any given night he can carry his team and lead them to victory. He is almost always the most talented player on the court. Ennis has been clutch for SU and scored key buckets in crunch time, but he is not on the same scoring level as Parker. In that regard, the Canadian has a tendency to fade out of games. Eight times this season Ennis has been held to single-digit point. Parker has only been held to single digits twice.
One player will never hit every shot with the game on the line, but for a while this season Ennis came close. Lately, he has not been able to even get the shot off. Teams know that he is a serious threat and needs to be accounted for in crunch time. But against NC State Ennis was called for a charge with his team down one with a minute to go. When BC upset Syracuse Ennis made an errant pass to C.J. Fair in the final minute of regulation. Last night Ennis could not cope with Duke’s aggressive defense.
The Blue Devils were not going to let Ennis beat them. He shot 2-of-13 from the field. Ennis must cut down on his mistakes in the big moments now that teams game plan specifically for him. A second year at Syracuse offers Ennis a chance to improve in this area and weld himself into a highly coveted NBA prospect.
Posted by: Connor Morrissette