A basketball team can never have too many centers, especially at the collegiate level. With Jesse Edwards potentially out the door after this upcoming season, Syracuse could be in big need of a big man at this time next year. Why not solve that issue now and bring Papa Kante into the mix? The Fizz thinks very highly of the Connecticut native, and we’re not alone. Kante has received an offer from defending national-champion Kansas among other high-major programs. So what makes him so special? Let’s watch some film to find out.
Kante (Blue, 4) shows his pristine ability in the pick-and-roll here as well as his chemistry with his teammates. He starts by setting a pick for the point guard (22). The PG then kicks it to the top of the key, and by that point Kante is cutting to the rim for an easy slam. The cherry on top? That’s Kyle Filipowski guarding him, the #7 recruit in the class of ’22 and a future Duke Blue Devil. He’s showing the ability to play as a team against one of the best in the nation. How can an Orange fan not get giddy over a play like that?
You know the old saying “defense wins championships”? Kante’s (Blue, 5) defensive prowess was on full display at an AAU Tournament in Louisville last week. He is on the left block trapping the ball-handler at the start of this play, only for the ball to be kicked to the cutter (White, 23). Kante casually slides over, fends off a power dribble, and swats it with his left hand. But here’s the really special part. Kante then tips it to his teammate with his right hand, who chucks it down the court for an easy transition bucket. Excellent defense leading to excellent offense. Plays like this don’t exactly happen often, but Kante makes it look effortless. Many say the best offense is defense. That’s on full display here.
Kante goes for the iso-play at first here, but it doesn’t work out. It happens, no reason to fret. The big man takes it back outside, then kicks it to a teammate who draws his nearest defender. Kante is left wide-open in the corner and has no afterthoughts after receiving the pass. Splash. Three-point shooting big men aren’t exactly common in college basketball. Kante has shown that ability, and it would make SU’s offense so much more dynamic.
If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. Kante is dealing with a swarming defense here. But that doesn’t stop him from getting 3 consecutive (!!!) offensive rebounds, including two off of his own shots, en route to finally getting a bucket. Efforts like that deserve recognition. It’s easy to get discouraged after one missed shot at the rim let alone two. Kante keeps fighting and eventually gets the job done, something any spectator can appreciate.
These plays show Kante’s well-rounded ability. He can attack the basket, work with his teammates, defend the rim, shoot from the outside, and doesn’t stop until the whistle is blown. Why wouldn’t Jim Boeheim and company be excited over a player like this? Let’s hope SU brass sees what we at Team Fizz see in him because he could be an immediate difference-maker.