Welcome Back, College Basketball
We’ve all been patiently (and for some, impatiently) waiting for the return of college basketball and now the wait is over. It’s finally time, college basketball has returned.
Syracuse began their season with an exhibition game against D-II LeMoyne College on Monday night. There was much excitement in the Carrier Dome before tipoff, as the fans were eager to watch their beloved Orange begin the season. The Orange won decisively, beating the Dolphins 97-58.
Even after one game, you can see that the Orange have implemented a new style of offense for the 2015-2016 season. They seem to have moved on from their traditional offense of working the inside to a mid-range and three point style. This has been a trend in college basketball and will help the Orange transition to the lower shot clock this year. Having a faster pace offense more guard focused will allow quicker shots to avoid shot clock violations.
The first half showed promise for the Orange, as they hit a majority of their first half three point attempts, with a stretch of three in a row from freshman Malachi Richardson. However, Syracuse could not keep up the pace, finishing 12-32 from behind the arc. It will be interesting to see whether or not the Orange stick to this new offense or revert back to what the team has been doing for the past few seasons.
The most exciting thing about Monday night’s game was the promising play of Michael Gbinije, Malachi Richardson, and DaJuan Coleman. Gbinije, listed as a forward, dropped 21 points while dishing out 4 assists. He served as the primary ball handler for the Orange, after much speculation that head coach Jim Boeheim would choose guard Kaleb Joseph to lead the point. The 6’7” fifth-year senior proved that he handled the ball well and played excellent defense atop the 2-3 zone that Syracuse is famous for.
The return of center DaJuan Coleman and the incoming of freshman guard Malachi Richardson was the source of much speculation and excitement in the offseason. On Monday night, they both lived up to the hype. Richardson showed everyone why he was the number 35 recruit in the class of 2015 by racking up 13 points and collecting 7 rebounds. He, like Gbinije, showed that he can handle the ball well. That gives the Orange two ball handlers in the starting lineup, something that they haven’t had in a while. Many people worried about the state of DaJuan Coleman’s knees following his injury which limited him to just 37 games in the past two seasons. Coleman proved that his knees were not an issue as he was physical down low and hustled to get the loose ball. The Orange faithful are very excited to see what the former five-star recruit can do if he stays healthy for a full season.
Not everything went well in Monday night’s game, however. For one, the defense was messy at times. The cohesion and chemistry among the players hasn’t yet come together which led to a couple sloppy defensive possessions. Kaleb Joseph, in particular, seemed slow in a few one-on-one situations and Chinoso Obokoh was consistently out-battled for rebounds. For much of last season, Syracuse struggled from the free throw line. This trend continued on Monday night, as the Orange went 15-28 from the stripe. These issues need to be addressed in order for the team to win in close games.
It may just have been one scrimmage game against a D-II opponent, but everything seems to be headed in the right direction for the Syracuse Orange. If they continue to play like this, it will be a very entertaining season.
Chris Broderick ’18
Statistics from: Syracuse.com