Orange Fizz


How Judah Mintz’s Return Helps The Rest Of The Core

The common theme here is that there is a load of pressure off the rest of the roster. Judah Mintz is without question the primary scoring option heading into the season. His decision to return lessens the workload on a bunch of guys who have potential, but are very unproven still. That said, it’s not difficult to find ways Mintz’s presence will help key members of the roster.


Impressive as Starling’s freshman campaign at Notre Dame was, he wasn’t shouldering the load. Even for an Irish team that struggled, guys like Cormac Ryan, Trey Wertz, and Nate Laszewski took on just as much, if not more, as Starling. If Mintz didn’t return, it’s not crazy to assume that Starling would have naturally taken the #1 offensive threat burden based off raw athleticism and how highly-touted he was coming out of high school. Now, Mintz will not only be the best player Starling has played with at the collegiate level, but he doesn’t need to be the guy. Get ready for one of the best backcourts in the ACC.


Bell didn’t show a ton of desire to want to go anywhere inside the three-point line last season, regardless of whether Syracuse was on offense or defense. He loved to shoot the long ball, and did not love rebounding. The latter won’t slide again this year, but Mintz’s return mitigates the need for Bell to be an interior threat. More consistency shooting is a necessity, but Bell can completely turn his offensive focus into being a spot-up shooter off the pass. Defenses are going to collapse on Mintz should he attack the basket with frequency, leaving Bell open in some cases. Jim Boeheim talked all about how good a shooter Bell was last year, now he’ll have the opportunity to really prove it.


Regardless of what Mintz had decided, no one on the roster was going to need to find their own this season more than Williams. He’s been the most athletic player on the team each of the last two seasons, but hasn’t been able to use it to his advantage consistently. No player has taken more criticism from Boeheim over the last two years, so you can’t help but root for the guy. Mintz’s return helps him because there isn’t as much pressure on him to be a scoring machine, and that’s it. The rest is on him. Will he stop settling for contested long twos? Can he rebound the basketball? There’s only so much a teammate like Mintz can do to help a player like Williams.


If you look closely, you can see a lot of Mintz’s game in Copeland. Two very athletic and bouncy players, both of whom can get a little erratic and aren’t particularly proficient from beyond the arc. Is it fair to expect Copeland to be on the same level of Mintz by the end of the season? Absolutely not, but what this provides is an opportunity for the both of them to grow their games together. Because their games are so similar, it helps set the Orange’s offensive identity and gives both of them plenty to work on over the next few months.


Mintz showed flashes of elite passing ability over the course of last season, and no player is going to help him further that skill than Brown. One of the key things that helped Brown develop into one of the most important members of last year’s roster was his ability to create space on the block, whether it be off an offensive rebound or through simple rotations. With Jesse Edwards gone, Brown is in all likelihood going to be the biggest threat in the post this season, and he showed flashes of greatness when he was in the starting lineup with Mintz down the stretch. An opportunity for both of them to add significant layers to their games.


Another player who showed flashes of being an elite offensive player, but had a tendency to completely disappear sometimes. It’s a case nearly identical to that of Bell- loves to shoot from beyond the arc, but needs to be better rebounding. The catch-and-shoot will be of utmost importance for him too. The other thing is that we haven’t seen Boeheim’s self-proclaimed “best recruiting class” completely mesh yet. This is the year to do just that, and both Mintz and Taylor were integral members of that class. It’s time they show it.


These two transfer guards are grouped together because their backgrounds coming to SU are quite similar- highly touted players with potential, but have struggled with injuries since beginning their collegiate careers. Had Mintz gone pro, more would have been expected from both Westry and Cuffe from both a scoring and ball-handling perspective straight out of the gate. With the Maui Invitational taking place just a few weeks into the season, that may not have been the best idea. Now, Westry and Cuffe have time to find their rhythm both as individuals and within Syracuse’s system, that way they’re full send come conference play.


Even if Mintz hadn’t come back, none of Naheem McLeod, Mounir Hima, William Patterson, or Peter Carey were going to be an offensive focal point. Now, their offensive burden (if there was one) is much smaller. Be active in the pick-and-roll and rebound the basketball was probably all the big men were going to be asked to do offensively, now it’s even more so the case.

Mintz not only raises Syracuse’s ceiling, but he’s going to make his teammates better. All of them can and will improve as a result of Mintz’s presence in the locker room. The only question is how far will it lead the Orange?

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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