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The X-Factor for Syracuse Basketball

Courtesy Syracuse Athletics

Syracuse’s basketball has plenty of question marks this season. First, how much of Elijah Hughes’ role can Alan Griffin fill? He’s a tremendous shooter, but can he score at all three levels? Was Bourama Sidibe’s improvement over the course of last season a fluke, or can the Orange count on the big man this season? But the biggest player improvement must come from Quincy Guerrier. 

Guerrier has the highest potential of anyone on the roster, and could one day be playing in the NBA. Last year, the forward averaged around seven points and five rebounds every game, as the first man off the bench. Whenever Guerrier entered a game, he seemed to provide a spark with his tenacious rebounding and put-back buckets.

There was also a level of physicality that Syracuse has with Guerrier on the floor. At times, there were flashes of the player that he could become – a ferocious playmaker in the paint. However, Guerrier needs to improve his three-point shooting to improve his game further. Last season, Guerrier hit just three of 24 shots from behind the arc. 

At the beginning of the season, head coach Jim Boeheim encouraged Guerrier to keep shooting from deep, since he was hitting those shots in practice. Eventually, Boeheim soured on the idea of Guerrier shooting, and the freshman attempted just one three in the final 11 games. He missed. 

Guerrier must also become better at resisting the urge to foul. Too often, his minutes were limited by foul trouble, and in three games, Guerrier fouled out. For a player coming off the bench, he shouldn’t be committing the ticky-tack fouls that he was. But these are both correctable issues for SU’s sophomore. Guerrier has all the intangibles, and physical attributes to develop into a future star in Orange. This season will show just how far he advanced in his first collegiate offseason.

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