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What Does Syracuse Have in Benny Williams?

Courtesy of Syracuse.com

Maybe eleven games aren’t enough of a sample size to assess a player’s assets, regardless, Benny Williams hasn’t shown that he’s capable of living up to “32nd overall recruit” status. He was heavily hyped coming in, some believed Williams was a one-and-done talent, we know now that he surely isn’t. No doubt about it, he’s struggling. Let’s take a dive into what Williams has offered to SU basketball:

Pros:

  • Easily the most athletic player on the team

If you look back on Orange basketball through the past few years, each team had a handful of really solid athletes:

2020 – Quincy Guerrier, Kadary Richmond, Alan Griffin

2019 – Elijah Hughes, Quincy Guerrier, Jalen Carey

2018 – Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett, Frank Howard, Elijah Hughes

And so on. Syracuse really hasn’t had a roster like this one before. It’s filled with guys who are advertised as great shooters, average defenders, and lacking athletes. It’s changed the brand of basketball that Jim Boeheim became famous for. Williams is the lone player that still kind of fits the mold of teams SU used to trot out. He’s long, quick, tough, and has a staggering vertical. If he can figure out just what he needs to do on the floor, he could be a great weapon for the Orange.

  • Can make the big defensive play

This isn’t a huge pro. Though it shouldn‘t go unnoticed. The youngster can get up there and swat the ball all the way to marshall street. We’ve seen a couple times this year, the fans love it and so does the team, but those plays don’t necessarily translate to ‘good defense’ more just that once again, the kid is a freak athlete.

Cons:

  • Has little to no offensive skillset

It’s really no surprise that Boeheim doesn’t allow Williams to see the floor for very long against the good teams. While he does offer a set of fresh legs, he’s doesn’t contribute much on the court. His season-high scoring totals came against Colgate, Lafayette, and Brown last night. 7, 6, and 6 points respectively. Offer than that, the 4-star has displayed 6 goose eggs as well as 2 points a couple of times. Does this mean he doesn’t have potential? No, he’s got all the potential in the world, he’s just probably not going to reach it this year. That’s gonna be kind of brutal for SU, who runs a shallow lineup and has already felt the impacts of doing so this season. It’s obvious that the starting 5 felt plenty fatigued right up until the COVID pause, they’ll need to figure something out in terms of bench minutes if they’ll play all year like this.

  • Looks lost on the floor

It’s commonplace for any newcomer to Syracuse basketball that they’ll struggle within the zone and probably even struggle on offense despite Syracuse having a lack of offensive strategy. Williams is a prime example. Just watch him on a defensive possession, there are times where he certainly misses his rotation, leading to an easy score, or simply just doesn’t to his spot in time leading to the same. That’s understandable for a young guy like him and he isn’t the only one on the team who struggles this way, *cough* Frank Anselem *cough* Cole Swider *cough* but despite that, it still hurts the team plenty. What does it matter that you’re athletic and have great ability if you can’t apply it? That’s what Benny Williams is struggling through right now.

If the Orange are to succeed this season, they’ll have to figure out how to get the best out of Williams. He’s a talented kid who’s shown he’s dedicated to the program as he ensured SU fans through an interview earlier this season

Coach Boeheim, he’s a legend that speaks for himself. He knows what he’s talking about. Whenever he speaks, you have to listen. He knows what he’s talking about. Coaches were the same through the recruiting process as they are now, which I love. There’s nothing to hide about it. And I won’t be transferring. So I want to put any rumors of me transferring… I will be here. I will fight through this, whatever this is.” 

If he can figure it out and be a joy to watch off the bench, Syracuse could be an entirely different team come March.

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