Orange Fizz


Syracuse’s Ceiling Will Be Determined By Judah Mintz’s Decision

Amidst a recent recruiting renaissance, there is palpable excitement among Syracuse fans. Adrian Autry and company have struck big with high school prospects adding Donnie Freeman to the Class of ’24 and Naheem McLeod to this year’s roster via the transfer portal. But regardless of how many more players the Orange add (especially over the next two weeks), we shouldn’t make any predictions until May 31. Why is that date so significant? It’s the deadline for players to withdraw their names from the NBA Draft pool. In other words, we’ll in all likelihood know by the end of the month whether Judah Mintz is staying or going.

The NBA Draft Combine is taking place right now, and you can rest assured Mintz is participating.

Here we have Mintz working on the main thing that drew him criticism throughout the season and has had a lot of fans (definitely no bias involved) say he should come back for one more year. As a freshman, he shot just over 30% from beyond the arc. That is well below par for an NBA point guard. Granted, he showed flashes of improvement near the end of the season, including a 4-4 performance from deep against Clemson (overshadowed by the blowout L). Were those flashes enough to remove the worry of NBA scouts?

When you dive into Mintz’s three-point struggles, the question becomes are his other qualities enough to offset that issue? His athleticism is off the charts, he can go off for 20 at any instant, and he showed potential as a passer too. But, Mintz did tend to get too careless, as evidenced by the catastrophic endings of the Miami and North Carolina games. There are a lot of good things about Mintz’s game, but there’s plenty to improve on. There’s no such thing as a “perfect” prospect- even Jordan and LeBron had things to iron out when they got to the NBA. But there’s a lot to iron out for Mintz. Are his strengths enough to offset that?

If Mintz does not come back, it’s not the end of the world, but SU’s success will depend on the development of last season’s role players. All of them have shown tremendous potential in their careers, but they have all lacked the essential element of consistency. Can Benny Williams put it all together in year 3? Will Chris Bell rebound on a game-to-game basis? Could Maliq Brown start to stretch the floor? Can Quadir Copeland use his remarkable bounce and energy for the better? Will Justin Taylor knock down perimeter shots consistently? All of those questions are yet to be answered with or without Mintz. If Mintz does not come back, all of those things coming to fruition become much more important.

It’s hard to claim the upcoming season as an “NCAA Tournament or bust” season because it’s Autry’s first year at the helm, but a program like Syracuse naturally comes with those expectations. If Mintz decides one more year of college hoops is best for him, those odds will increase significantly. If he doesn’t, back to the drawing board we go.

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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