Entering his third season spending most of his time on the bench, Robert Braswell had a potential break out performance against Pittsburgh on Wednesday. The forward played a career high 20 minutes and finished with another collegiate high 12 points on 4-5 shooting from three.
While Bourama Sidibe didn‚Äôt play after being expected to be available earlier in the week, Braswell stepped up and was a major contributor in the crushing loss.
Ever since Braswell arrived at Syracuse, he hasn‚Äôt had much of an opportunity to show what he can do on the court. Even in preseason Orange and White games, Braswell showed a strong shooting touch, and a case that he was one of the better shooting forwards on the roster.
Still, he continued to sit on the bench waiting for his moment. It‚Äôs still far too early to tell if Braswell finally broke through head coach Jim Boeheim‚Äôs rotation, but after a career game he needs more playing time.
Even if Sidibe plays on Saturday against Georgetown, SU needs Braswell to play. Besides the junior and Marek Dolezaj, the Orange didn‚Äôt have a player shoot better than 50% from the field against Pitt.
Besides poor shooting, SU was plagued by foul trouble and turnovers. But none of Syracuse‚Äôs 13 turnovers were committed by Braswell, despite his ample playing time. Meanwhile fellow forwards Quincy Guerrier, Alan Griffin and Dolezaj combined for eight personal fouls. Braswell had zero.
Throughout his career, Braswell has generally played clean basketball. But it‚Äôs difficult to discern if that was strong play, or simply a lack of playing time that dissuaded foul trouble.
Regardless, it‚Äôs time for Braswell to see the floor every game. Not just for one or two minutes, but for significant minutes. With the offense floundering, Braswell provides a spark.
He may not receive 20 minutes per game, but Braswell should be playing at least equivalent minutes to Woody Newton. Before Wednesday, Newton‚Äôs minutes nearly doubled Braswell. After three seasons, it‚Äôs past time for Braswell to receive the opportunity he came to Syracuse for.