Against Virginia, Jalen Carey got the nod at the starting point guard position with Joe Girard as the backup. The next game versus Colgate, Jim Boeheim went with the same depth chart. Then against Seattle there was a change. Carey was sidelined with an injury, which sent Girard into the starting lineup and moved the other freshman PG, Brycen Goodine, into the backup role. It has been like that ever since- Girard starting and Goodine behind him. That is until last game against Georgia Tech. Against the Yellow Jackets, Boeheim gave the supporting role to junior Howard Washington. Now, there is a debate to be had. JG3 has the starting spot on lock, but who should be his backup? Here are reasons for both players.
Goodine is the shiny new toy you get on Christmas day and want to play with immediately. He’s a new face and a guy that will be the future of the program, alongside Girard. So, because of that you want to get him reps early. Goodine is a great floor manager. He isn’t too flashy and doesn’t talk much, but he can control the ball and organize the offense. At the point, he is the motor that keeps the machine moving. That is all you really need from your backup point guard. Boeheim has said many times that he plans on playing with a small rotation this year, which means if your name isn’t Joe Girard III, you won’t be seeing many minutes. When you do, you aren’t going to be the number one option to score. Goodine just needs to be a floor general and he can do that. Plus, his quick hands and feet make him a great player at the top of the zone on defense.
Talk about a story. Washington suffered a knee injury that sidelined him during his freshman year. Then last year, he had a stroke. The Buffalo native is still playing and showing he deserves some minutes. While playing third-fiddle for the majority of the season and only seeing the court in trashtime, Washington made the most of his opportunities. He is averaging 2.6 points and 2.8 assists per game. Now that doesn’t sound like that much, but he’s only playing 9 minutes a game. Washington had his best game most recently against Georgia Tech. He racked up 8 assists, which is his most valuable trait. What Washington brings to the table as a backup is his passing ability. He’s not the most prolific scorer, but with shooters around him like Buddy Boeheim and Elijah Hughes, Washington can be extremely helpful for the Orange.
They are both very similar players, but Washington deserves the backup role for Syracuse. This team does not need another freshman. One of the major reasons why the Orange have struggled early in the season is because they are too young and too inexperienced. Goodine being the second string PG would only make that issue worse. Plus, he hasn’t shown anything to keep him in the backup spot. Boeheim has given him opportunities, but he squanders them away. Washington doesn’t. He has shown he can be a great passer. He is just as effective at the top of the zone as Goodine. Plus, he is a veteran presence for this young team. Although the backup, ultimately, won’t see the floor too much and most likely won’t change the outcome of many games, Washington deserves the role.