We’ll start from the RAC. It seemed like SU did everything they possibly could to lose this game from the outset. But the Orange hung around for just long enough to unsettle Rutgers in the second half, especially when the pace quickened as Alan Griffin and Quincy Guerrier took the game over. However, Rutgers locked Syracuse down in the final five minutes. The Orange only scored four points in crunch time, all on free throws.
Newton was the only non-starter to play in the second half, and just over a minute and 30 seconds of run. In that time, he missed one three pointer, which if I remember correctly was an end of shot-clock prayer. Griffin even snagged the offensive rebound, so it wasn’t even a negative result for SU. Woody subbed in for JG3, who was having his third terrible shooting day in four games. Girard’s shot selection was extremely questionable (that’s putting it kindly), and everybody knows he’s a minus on defense. It made sense to replace him with more length.
However, when Newton was in the game in the second half, Syracuse scored 0 points, and Alan Griffin turned the ball over then committed a foul. The offense was not in rhythm. Despite his bricklaying night, Girard is SU’s most confident ball-handler, and the one with the most experience running the offense. That’s why Boeheim brought him back in.
Unfortunately, the bench as a whole did not inspire much confidence. John Bol Ajak looked like a stick standing next to Myles Johnson of the Scarlet Knights. JBA is still getting used to college basketball. Robert Braswell shoots the ball every single time he touches it, at a 16% clip. Newton is the only guy that positively contributes, and does so with “vintage Syracuse” length and athleticism, and boundless energy. He loves to be on the floor, and it shows.
To wrap this up, against Rutgers, I don’t blame Boeheim for running with the starters. Newton deserved a bit more time on the floor, and does in general, but in a tight matchup, coaches always lean towards experience.
Let’s be blunt. Neither Marek Dolezaj or Bourama Sidibe have much of a chance of making the NBA. If forced to pick, 99% of people in the 315 would say Dolezaj. Buuut he’s 220 pounds, a tweener, and has no range on his jumper. I could see him having a nice career overseas (and moonlighting with Boeheim’s Army), but he won’t make it out of training camp on a NBA roster. He needs to gain weight and develop that three-pointer, which he can do if he sticks around.
Sidibe’s a really smart dude. He was part of the ACC All-Academic team last year. An international relations major, Sidibe could use the extra year to pursue a master’s degree program, for free. That’s a win-win for both SU and the senior center.
College is the best part of many people’s lives, no matter if you are/were a regular student or an athlete. Why leave that for an uncertain future? Take some extra classes, have another year with your buddies, and run it back with the exact same basketball team.