Inconsistent is one word to describe Syracuse at the moment. This adjective could also be labeled on guard Judah Mintz. Not that the sophomore has many inconsistent overall performances, given that he’s the leader of this team. But the way he has to score the ball varies.
Yes, some of it depends on how he’s defended, which varies by team. However, most of it relies on his teammates. Night in and night out, the question stands: who shows up other than Mintz?
Quadir Copeland scored double-digit points in four straight games. He hit the buzzer-beater over Miami on Saturday, but Mintz and Starling carried that game. Other than Copeland, nobody is stepping up on the bench.
Poor bench production affects how Mintz adjusts his game to accommodate his surrounding cast.
Let’s dive into the last two games as an example.
In Saturday’s last-second win, Mintz flirted with a triple-double. He recorded 10 points, eight rebounds, and 13 assists. Mintz clearly dished the ball out. He went just 3-for-11 from the floor and quickly realized his shot wasn’t on, so he became a passer.
“These two games that he’s had, to me, are the best games he’s had,” said head coach Adrian Autry after Saturday’s thriller. “He took what the defense gave him. He gets a lot of attention. That’s how he can impact a game. He doesn’t always have to score 20, but he can generate more than 20 by his passing. So I was just really proud of him.”
Tuesday’s dud to Florida State was a different story.
Mintz scored a team-high 28 points, but he only had two rebounds and three assists. The next scorer was Starling with just 10 points. The bench notched a combined 16 points.
This was a game where Mintz had to take over, simply because no one else on the team was shooting the ball well. Hence, Syracuse made just one three-pointer in 14 tries.
Mintz continues to remind us why he’s the star of this team. At this point in the season, it’s almost a bad thing when SU has to rely on the production of Mintz.
The bench needs to step up and help its star guard. Otherwise, this team’s style could remain inconsistent.