Syracuse’s most reliable position is in a temporary flux

Syracuse’s most reliable position is in a temporary flux

September 16, 2020 pfefptdfkerv 0

first_imgIn recent years, Syracuse’s most reliable position has been point guard. The Orange have gotten some of their most consistent production from the position, and SU point guards have been remarkably durable since 2013, from Michael Carter-Williams and Tyler Ennis to Michael Gbinije and John Gillon. Last season, Frank Howard continued the lineage by starting all 37 games and averaging 38.4 minutes per game.This month, SU’s long line of durability at the point came to a screeching halt. Howard was entering his senior season as the most experienced player in the program, with 40 career starts and 99 games played on his resume. But he sustained a basketball-related injury that was announced Sept. 14. He has not practiced since.Howard’s injury accelerated the development for Syracuse freshman point guard Jalen Carey, who took over many of Howard’s reps at the point in practice. For a few weeks, it appeared Carey would be the temporary starting point guard. But Carey rolled his ankle in SU’s intrasquad game two weeks ago. Because sophomore Howard Washington has been out recovering from offseason surgery, the Orange has no legitimate point guard. For now, Syracuse’s most reliable position is in a temporary flux.The 16th-ranked Orange beat Division II Saint Rose on Thursday night inside the Carrier Dome in the first of two exhibitions. Following the game, SU head coach Jim Boeheim said Carey could return to practice Monday and play in the Orange’s exhibition Oct. 31 against Le Moyne, also a Division II program. There’s no guarantee Carey will be back Oct. 29, though Boeheim said he’s “hopeful.” Howard, meanwhile, has been cleared to move, shoot and perform “limited” movements, Boeheim said. He likely will return to the Orange backcourt at some point later than Carey.“He will not play in the exhibition game,” Boeheim said Thursday. “He’ll be progressing toward playing, but we won’t know when. There will be no time frame for him right now.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWashington should start practicing Monday, Boeheim added. He noted that the return of even just one of his three scholarship point guards would smoothen the SU offense and get players back in their natural positions. Thursday, junior shooting guard Tyus Battle was forced to play point guard, a position he played intermittently in high school. But not a spot he’s accustomed to.Over 34 minutes, Battle shot 1-for-10 from the field, scoring seven points. He collected six assists and committed a pair of turnovers while grabbing two rebounds. He earned five of his seven points from the charity stripe.Battle’s performance showed that he can run the point when needed, an encouraging sign for the Orange should this point guard situation persist. He did not face pressure, though, and struggled to facilitate from a position in which he has virtually zero experience at the college level. Syracuse’s ball movement and spacing lacked, at least slightly, as a result.“Offensively, it’s tough to get the type of movement we want without a point guard,” Boeheim said.Two weeks ago, Boeheim said Howard would be able to practice about one week before the season opener, which is Nov. 6, if “everything goes according to plan.” Asked to clarify Howard’s status, Boeheim said Thursday that he is unsure exactly when Howard will return to practice.“I have no idea whether he’ll be back at the end of 10-12 days or another week after that,” Boeheim said. “Or two weeks after that. It’s all dependent on how he progresses.”For Syracuse’s, it’s imperative that reliability comes from the spot it traditionally has: point guard. The next few days should provide a clearer picture of the timetables for three of SU’s guards.“These games, it hurts us a little bit, because we’re playing a little out of position,” Boeheim said. “It has a little less value from that standpoint. Tyus is much better when he’s off the ball and he can make his plays. When he’s doing the point and then trying (to score), it’s just not the same. He’s much better when he’s off the ball. Hopefully that’ll be the case pretty soon.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 25, 2018 at 10:45 pm Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21last_img

 

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