After a shaky beginning to the season that included losses to Wisconsin, UConn, and South Carolina, Syracuse basketball might be wondering what the missing factor is so far this year. One answer might be team leadership.
Last year, Syracuse leaned on Michael Gbinije when it needed help. When SU was trailing the gameplan was often to give the ball to Gbinije. When the Orange were losing momentum, Gbinije would make a huge play and raise Syracuse’s energy.
But he and Trevor Cooney have moved on, leaving the team to grow with its new players.
Tyler Lydon is supposed to be SU’s most experienced player on the court, staying with the Orange after playing a big role in last year’s Final Four run. He seemed to be the easy choice as the team leader going into this season. But Lydon is averaging less than ten points per game (9.9). He has only scored over ten points in three games so far this season. It is hard to be the leader when you aren’t producing for the team.
Andrew White III has been the most impactful and consistent offensive player for Syracuse this season, but in his first year he hasn’t shown the big personality that the entire team is turning to.
DaJuan Coleman has been doing well on the court, but he isn’t the first player in mind when it comes to the team captain kind of attitude.
With just four games left before 18 straight conference matchups that will take SU through the end of the regular season, it would help the Orange to figure out who is going to take the leadership role. The Orange must get the team to mesh and put the pieces in place where they need to be, or else it could be a very disappointing season.