After it was announced that Jalen would undergo hand surgery and miss 8-10 weeks, with the possibility of redshirting, Howard Washington‚Äôs role skyrocketed. Now, he‚Äôs Syracuse‚Äôs backup point guard and the veteran leader of the second unit. Who knows how much playing time Jim Boeheim will delegate to Washington. But after Joe Girard‚Äôs struggles against Oklahoma State, 3-11 shooting with five turnovers, it makes sense to give Washington minutes every game.¬†
One of Washington‚Äôs biggest attributes is his experience. Along with Elijah Hughes and Bourama Sidibe, Washington‚Äôs been on the roster longer than anyone else. So he‚Äôs comfortable in the 2-3 zone, and managing the offense.¬†
Washington has played less than 200 minutes at Syracuse. Of course last season he had a stroke which stopped him from walking on the court for all but 10 minutes. So he doesn‚Äôt have nearly as much playing time as other juniors. But if he doesn‚Äôt start to rack up minutes this season, when will he?
Washington showed promise his freshman season, and he‚Äôs been solid this year as well. He‚Äôs not going to be a spark plug shooter off the bench like Boeheim was last year. But Washington can run the offense, find the open man without turning the ball over. Boeheim isn‚Äôt asking for much more than that.¬†
There will be times when Girard turns the ball over, or isn‚Äôt playing his best game. He got exposed against Oklahoma State. He‚Äôll struggle against top-notch ACC teams as well. None of that‚Äôs surprising since he‚Äôs a true freshman. But when Syracuse starts to play sloppy, Washington could enter for Girard and right the ship. He won‚Äôt be asked to score with player like Buddy Boeheim and Hughes on the floor. And Girard will get a breather, and a talking to from Boeheim on what he should do better.
Washington likely won‚Äôt have a huge role this year. But his contributions are incredibly important.