Week two of the Syracuse basketball season ends after two easy wins for the Orange. A 75-45 victory over Niagara and an 87-52 route of Rider advanced SU to 3-0. Syracuse’s first real test is Tuesday against 24th-ranked Rutgers (follow the Fizz on Twitter @orangefizz for updates), and let me tell you, the Scarlet Knights are no joke. Steve Pikiell’s squad is also 3-0 and has three players averaging over 15 points.
But that’s not why we’re here. Let’s get into some questions/comments from this week’s mailbag.
Alright, let’s talk about Joe Girard and Kadary Richmond. Any questions of the freshman taking JG3’s starting spot were erased on Saturday, when Girard dropped 21 points, draining six threes. The sophomore point guard played within the rhythm of the SU offense, and it worked because he didn’t have the ball! Girard gave the ball to Richmond, Griffin and Dolezaj, then spotted up or ran around screens. This helped Syracuse’s ball movement as a whole, and worked like a charm. Girard is going to continue to start, but if the Orange get in a funk, expect Jim Boeheim to insert Richmond to run the offense, and shift Joe to the two.
The whole “Orange Zone” of Central New York can get confusing at times. Onondaga County was declared an Orange Zone by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on November 23rd. Four days earlier, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon toured the Melo Center and gave county approval for SU to play its first game against Bryant, and I would assume the following contests as well. Whether that’s the end-all-be-all, I’m not 100% sure, but that seems to be the reason SU is able to host games in the Dome.
I agree wholeheartedly. Boeheim’s 2020 recruiting class is already making an impact, and Benny Williams has a change to play from day one if Marek Dolezaj leaves SU. Richmond, Woody Newton, and Williams remind me of the prototypical Syracuse players from the winning days of the early 2010s. They’re long, rangy, athletic, and multi-faceted. They fit the zone and the isolation/spacing style of offense so much better than a Dolezaj or a Girard. Most of Orange nation has had issues with Boeheim’s recruiting, and for good reason, but the production from this year’s crop of freshmen might just quell those concerns for the foreseeable future.