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Could Maliq Brown Be The Starting Center?

Of the many question marks surrounding Syracuse’s roster, none may be bigger than that of the center position. Jesse Edwards’ departure left a glaring hole in that position, and Adrian Autry has been presented with plenty of options to potentially fix that hole. One option that hasn’t been talked about a whole lot is Maliq Brown. There are several reasons behind that, but making the rising sophomore the primary big man is, at minimum, something to think about.

Throughout his recruiting process and in his first year at SU, Brown has primarily been listed as a power forward. While he showed flashes of brilliance there last year, his play style does not represent that of a modern power forward at all. Players in that position from the high school level and upward can typically stretch the floor and shoot from beyond the arc at a relatively efficient clip. Last season, we saw Brown play an effective role in the pick-and-roll while being a menace on the glass and someone to kick out to on the block when defenses collapsed on Judah Mintz. Great for a center.

You may ask, “Brown is only 6-8, is that sustainable for the center position at an ACC school?” That’s a very fair argument, especially when you think about opposing big men in the conference. PJ Hall, Kyle Filipowski, and Armando Bacot, arguably the three best centers in the ACC entering the season, all have at least two inches on Brown. It’s not like you only need to go back two years to find evidence of an undersized big man excelling at Syracuse. Marek Dolezaj, anyone? You cannot expect Brown to be Mr. Do-It-All and the heart and soul of the team like Dolezaj was, but there’s proof that it’s happened before.

Finally, looking at the other options on the roster, are any of them super inspiring? Naheem McLeod played very well against Syracuse last year when he was a Florida State Seminole, but he has never been a collegiate starter. Mounir Hima was a solid backup last season, but he was a backup for a reason. Peter Carey’s injury history is more than concerning. And though William Patterson is 7-2 and has seen his recruiting stock rise, he wasn’t super highly touted coming out of high school. There will be an opportunity there for the taking for Brown. Is he willing to completely adjust his game to that of a true center if said opportunity arises?

Next year’s offense should not revolve around the center position, regardless of who ends up starting. At this point, none of the options would be a jaw-dropping surprise. But if Coach Autry wants to get the best out of his team and his players, Maliq Brown is someone to think about.

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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