JJ Starling continues to find his role with Syracuse. After transferring to SU from Notre Dame, Orange fans have been waiting around for Starling’s production.
Has the Baldwinsville native finally arrived?
Starling has posted three 20-point performances this season. All of those resulted in a win. Most notably, two of those games have been in the last three contests.
The 6’4 guard posted 22 points with a career-high six three-pointers in the buzzer-beating win over Miami. One week later, Starling notched a career-high 26 points with four triples in SU’s victory against NC State on Saturday.
The offensive production has drastically improved from one month ago. Starling recorded five single-digit point contests in a span that ranged from the end of December through the start of January.
The Orange play their best basketball when their two star guards feed off each other.
Starling has benefited from his backcourt teammate Judah Mintz dishing the ball out. Both sophomores have correlated lately.
Mintz recorded his two highest assist totals of the season in the Miami and NC State victories. Well, those are the contests when Starling notched his best scoring marks of the year.
The duo is not only thriving on offense as of late, but their defensive presence has shown.
Starling and Mintz forced eight turnovers and combined for five steals in the first half against NC State. Syracuse went on a 23-4 run to end the opening frame. Mintz finished with four steals.
The notion where defense creates offense in basketball has come to fruition. Starling and Mintz combined for 46 points.
“I think he’s been confident,” said head coach Adrian Autry after the win over NC State. “He’s been shooting the ball well. He just has a confidence about him. I think him and Judah are starting to get a little bit, knowing where each other’s at…that’s the chemistry that you start looking for as you head down the stretch, especially with those two guys.”
Relationships just require patience to grow, even on the basketball court.