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The Growing Trend in the SU Lineup That Needs to Continue

Photo Courtesy of Syracuse Athletics

Throughout the season, many people have been begging and pleading for Kadary Richmond‚Äôs minutes to increase, and Joe Girard‚Äôs minutes to decrease. Well it appears as though it is finally happening. In both of SU‚Äôs last two contests, Richmond logged more minutes than the Glens Falls Native. Is this a trend that will continue? Well we don‚Äôt know, Coach Boeheim has repeatedly said over and over again, ‚Äúthe fans don‚Äôt decide who gets to play,‚Äù and, ‚ÄúAll three guards are important, we need all 3.‚Äù But now is the time, Richmond needs to play big minutes and here‚Äôs why. 

Exhibit A 

Richmond offers more to the team when he‚Äôs on the floor. He‚Äôs a two-way player and has some uncoachable traits. He‚Äôs 6‚Äô5‚Äù compared to Girard‚Äôs 6‚Äô1‚Äù stature, and he has defensive instincts nobody else seems to have on the roster. The way Richmond can recognize skip passes and use his long wingspan to clog passing lanes is quite valuable. Part of the reason why he‚Äôs third in the ACC averaging about 2 per contest. 

You just don‚Äôt see the same with Girard. But let me be clear. We‚Äôve seen flashes from JG3 defensively. He had 47 steals just one season ago and had six in three different games. This year he has 26, if you can believe it, but only 12 of those have come in ACC games against better competition. 

Richmond on the other hand has had some of his better games against the ACC teams. He had 4 takeaways against BC, 5 against Miami, and a career high against 6 in the loss to Clemson. Keep in mind that he’s posted these numbers while playing 20 minutes (at most sometimes) off the bench. So as far as the defensive end goes, he needs to play more so he can continue to make an impact and a bigger impact at that.

Exhibit B

Okay, let‚Äôs talk about offense. Admittedly, Girard is a more skilled offensive player at this juncture, based on what I‚Äôve seen thus far. But let‚Äôs not confuse the argument here, this is about 

Kadary needing to play more, not a question of who needs to start, or who‚Äôs better than the other. 

Here‚Äôs what Richmond brings to the table offensively. He‚Äôs a talented passer that can handle the ball and create opportunities for himself and for shooters with his drouble drive. His assist to turnover ratio is 1.93, good for 8th best in the ACC. He is most dangerous when he‚Äôs driving to the hoop and drawing double teams and finding shooters open on the perimeter.Nobody else on this team has the ability to consistently drive to the basket and score or dish.  

Some teams have been gameplaning to allow Richmond to shoot at times this year because he‚Äôs not a great shooter, that‚Äôs fine. He gets it, it took him a while to understand, but he gets it. He knows his role and how he can contribute. *May I add though that he‚Äôs a 47% shooter from the floor. 

JG3 is an incredible shooter, when he‚Äôs hot. He‚Äôs shown this season that he‚Äôs not good enough to run the point for all 40 minutes of the ball game. Solution? Put him in positions to succeed. If he‚Äôs more lethal in catch and shoot situations, like Robert Braswell, than put him at the 2. He‚Äôs shown he can create his own shots in the season and a half he‚Äôs played at SU. But against the elite teams of the ACC, he hasn‚Äôt been very effective, or understanding of shot selection. I‚Äôm not saying he can‚Äôt play point guard, but he doesn‚Äôt need to exclusively play the 1. And herein lies my conclusion.  

ROTATE THE GUARDS MORE FREQUENTLY. Coach Boeheim has said over and over how important all three guards are. Richmond, Girard, and Buddy all have critical roles to play for this team. So use all three, but not in the manner that you were early in the season.  

I‚Äôm not asking for Richmond to start or to play 30-40 minutes. Just give me 22-29. Richmond can do so much more for this team. We saw the upside in the NC State game, but really we‚Äôve seen it all year. Down the stretch all I‚Äôm asking for here is that Richmond touches the floor more because when he does, he makes Syracuse better. 

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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