In Jalen Carey’s first season in Orange there was plenty of hype, a few flashes, and way too many turnovers. In the third game of the season Carey almost led SU to a win over UConn, slashing to the hoop for 26 points to go along with seven rebounds and three steals. But the stat that foreshadowed the rest of his season was the turnovers. He lost possession of the rock six times at Madison Square Garden. As the season went on Carey’s confidence seemed to regress by the game. By the end of the season it looked like he could barely dribble without dribbling off of his foot.
So will we see the highlight version of Carey from early last season? Or will we see a guy with the ball handling skills of Paschal Chukwu?
Why Syracuse Needs Him?
SU desperately needs Carey to at the very least bring the ball up the court. The squad is incredibly inexperienced at point guard. Behind Carey is Howard Washington and true freshman Brycen Goodine. Joe Girard may be able to play some point, but he’s a true shooting guard despite his 6-foot-1 stature. And while Washington is a junior, he’s only tallied 120 minutes of playing time in his career.
Carey won’t be a three-point threat for the Orange, but his ability to get to the hoop will open up space for his teammates. On the defensive end, his length fits perfectly into Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone, and he can start plenty of fast breaks for a team that wants to play fast. I can already picture Carey tipping a pass, running it down, and then finding Buddy Boeheim on the wing for a wide open three.
Best Case Scenario
As alluded to, Carey has the potential to be an absolute nuisance for opponents at the top of the zone. Carey could easily clog passing lanes for 30-35 minutes a game. The big question is can Carey take a step forward offensively? He doesn’t need to be a big-time three point threat, but he could easily average 12 points per game to go along with five assists per game. Plenty of those assists will be to open three point shooters as well. If Carey can do more than simply manage the offense, this could be a high scoring team that can score from every area of the floor.
Worst Case Scenario
At the same time, we could see a guy who looks the same as last year and plays himself out of the starting role. If his turnover troubles continue, the SU offense could stall and Boeheim may be forced to play an inexperienced player like Brycen Goodine. If Carey plays with the confidence from the beginning of last year, he’s incredibly fun to watch. But if the player that we saw during ACC play shows up again, it might take long for Boeheim to yank him from the starting role.
We’ll continue to unveil our top five up until Halloween. Check back here on these days as we continue to get you ready for the much-anticipated 2019 basketball season. Also, make sure to check out our audio content on SoundCloud at Orange Fizz. We post a weekly show, podcasts and more.
Thursday, October 17th: Quincy Guerrier
Monday, October 21st: Jalen Carey
Thursday, October 24th: #3?
Monday, October 28th: #2?
Thursday, October 31st: #1?