For all of the things that went wrong on Saturday afternoon for the Orange, just as many went right. Syracuse blew a 15-point lead, but everyone watching could tell that it was the best we have seen out of Syracuse this season. One of the biggest bright spots was Kaleb Joseph.
Up until Saturday’s game, the freshman point guard had been, for lack of a better word, sloppy. Joseph led the ACC in turnovers with 34 on the year, and held a dismal assist/turnover ratio of 1.29. He had all but trademarked the unbalanced, mid-jump pass, and was coming off his worst game of the season as a ball handler, having given up eight turnovers on only four assists against Louisiana Tech.
The point guard is the quarterback of basketball, and Joseph had been the Jay Cutler of point guards.
A different player came out of the locker room in Villanova. Joseph looked like a true floor general against the Wildcats, finding passing lanes while maneuvering his way to the basket himself. He fed his big men the ball in the post and kicked out to open shooters on drives, all en route to a career high 10 assists and his first double-double. Joseph also grabbed three steals, another personal best.
After playing only 19 minutes against St. John’s, it would appear as if Joseph has regained the trust of coach Jim Boeheim. He played all 40 minutes vs. Louisiana Tech, and was on the court for the entirety of the Villanova game as well.
The headlines of the Sunday papers told you all of the bad that came out of Syracuse’s near-upset of 7th-ranked Villanova, but there was a lot of good for the Orange to take away as well. Joseph, who has shown greatness in flashes throughout the season, did so with the consistency that Syracuse fans have come to expect from their point guard. The freshman is now only 3rd in the ACC in turnovers (if you call that an improvement), and hopefully will continue to grow as time goes on.
The point guard is the quarterback of basketball, and on Saturday Joseph showed us that he has Pro Bowl potential.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson