The Orange has now wrapped up its exhibition schedule as the team prepares for the season opener against Kennesaw State this Friday. We take a look at the five biggest takeaways from the wins against Carleton and Adrian.
Cooney needs to find his touch:
The redshirt junior had tough shooting nights in both games. Cooney did not even record a field goal against Carleton and went 2-9 from behind the arc against the Bulldogs. The key for Cooney is consistency from game to game. He will go through stretches within the game of highs and lows. It is important for him to have a short memory and shake off missed shots, something he has done a poor job of in the past.
Christmas must stay out of foul trouble:
With DaJuan Coleman a huge question mark for the Orange, Christmas needs to limit racking up personal fouls, especially early in games. He did a good job staying out of foul trouble in the exhibition games but he will inevitably play more aggressive against tougher competition, leading to more fouls. Chinonso Obokoh is the only other center on the bench with Coleman out. While Obokoh does have the potential to become a serviceable player on this team, he is a raw talent that will take time to develop.
Gbinije will play starter’s minutes:
This is not too much of a shock as Gbinije was one of the bright spots from last year’s team.
“I told Mike from the beginning that he is just like a starter. I think he will play like a starter. He’ll get as many minutes as the starters and I have a lot of confidence in him,” said Boeheim after the win against Adrian.
There is no doubt this is a big year for Gbinije. He logged a solid amount of minutes last year and was an aggressive scorer. His role becomes even more important if Joseph struggles during the season. He is a versatile asset that can be a solid leader for this young team.
Joseph should take the Ennis approach to turnovers:
Nobody expects Kaleb Joseph to be the next Tyler Ennis. Ennis is a special breed of a player. However, Joseph can learn a lot from his predecessor. Unlike Michael Carter-Williams two years ago, Ennis did not turn the ball over often. Ennis engaged in smart passing that led to better game flow and more scoring. Carter-Williams on the other hand was wild passing the ball and turned the ball over much more than Ennis. But, hey: Carter-Williams took the Orange to the Final Four, so maybe I am wrong. Joseph has succeeded so far in keeping turnover numbers low against easy competition with one turnover in each of the games.
Syracuse has capable players on the bench:
With all the uncertainty with freshman in starting roles and the expectations that Cooney and Christmas will step up for Syracuse, there are a few players besides Obokoh on the bench that Boeheim can mix and match with. Ron Patterson has taken advantage of his minutes off the bench with double-digit point totals in both exhibition games. He also showed he can shoot from the perimeter, highlighted by going 4-5 from three-point land against Carleton. B.J. Johnson also showed flashes against Adrian with 7 points including a three-pointer and a block.
Overall, the exhibition games are a great way for the Orange to form chemistry before the season starts. Basketball season officially starts in three days.
Posted: Zephan Mayell