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Fizz Report Card: Syracuse’s Backcourt Struggles in 79-69 Loss to No. 21 Rutgers

Alright, Syracuse lost to a ranked team without two of their starters. It’s not the end of the world, and it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. But the Orange are trying to build a formidable team for when Bourama Sidibe and Buddy Boeheim return. Let’s take a look at how the players fared against No. 21 Rutgers.

Joe Girard: D

Girard did a slightly better job taking care of the ball compared to the first three games of the year, and you could look at the stat sheet and be concerned with his three points on 1-8 shooting. But he is a streaky shooter by nature. The biggest problem with Girard is his lack of Zone awareness. Considering he is about four inches shorter than the ideal 2-3 point guard, his margin for error is smaller than Kadary Richmond’s. It’s disappointing that Girard still looks lost out there after a full year as the starter.

Kadary Richmond: D

A lot of grading is based on potential. I’m only giving Richmond a D because we know he is capable of so much more. With Buddy Boeheim out of the lineup, you would think Richmond would try to be overly aggressive. Instead, the freshman wanted no part of the spotlight. He had one point, and took just one shot from the field in the first half.

Alan Griffin: B+

Griffin’s efficiency was the main appeal of his transfer from Illinois. He missed five of his first six shots. But it’s more about how you finish. The junior flipped a switch in the second half, hitting six of his final 13 shots. The inconsistency should even itself out as he gets more reps.

Quincy Guerrier: B+

It’s not quite time to dub Guerrier as the best player, but he’s been the most consistent and he’s only getting better. The Canadien hit as many three-pointers in this game alone (3) than he did all of last year. He finished with 18 points and five rebounds. This is where the NBA buzz comes from. If Guerrier can sustain this, SU might have a new star on its hands. Sustainability largely comes from staying out of foul trouble.

Marek Dolezaj: B

Dolezaj scored the first seven points of the game for SU, but finished with just 14. Normally that wouldn’t be anything to scoff at, but he disappeared. That seems like the antithesis of the scrappy Slovakian, who used to plop a stamp on every play. Maybe the Orange are asking too much of him, but you can’t help pointing fingers at your best defensive player when Rutgers scores 11 straight points down the stretch.

John Bol-Ajak: C-

Sometimes when Bol-Ajak goes up for a rebound with his 6’10”, 215 lb frame it feels like Waldo is on the glass. He’s not ready for the role Syracuse needs him to play, which is the physical anchor of the 2-3 Zone when Dolezaj gets into foul trouble. The freshman showed some flashes, like the dime to Woody Newton for the first half jam, but watching Bol-Ajak makes me appreciate Bourama Sidibe.

Woody Newton: B-

There’s not much to go off of here, but six points in eight minutes is good any way you slice it. The monster dunk on the baseline drive and the three-ball show what the freshman is capable of. Expect more minutes for Newton later in the year.

Robert Braswell: N/A

I think Braswell would have been a nice sub for the zone. That would allow Griffin to move to the top and get Girard off the court when he’s struggling defensively. But two minutes is not enough to grade.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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