My 2023-24 SU Basketball Preview Part 4 | Syracusefan.com

My 2023-24 SU Basketball Preview Part 4

SWC75

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Chris Bell, sophomore 6-7 188

Chris Bell was Chris Bunch when we recruited him. There were times when I thought he might have shot the ball better as Chris Bunch. He was a tall, athletic small forward who was supposed to be a dead-eye shooter but who went 2 for 8 from the arc against Illinois, 0 for 4 vs. Pittsburgh, 1 for 5 vs. Miami, 1 for 9 against Florida State and 1 for 6 against NC State. Of course he had better games but we’ll need him to do better than the 34.5% he shot from three last season. JB also chose him as his whipping boy, (meaning he had more respect for his talent than for his play), because he didn’t use that tall, athletic body to help the team in other ways, such as on defense, or on the boards. Here were his number for the year:

20.1m 13.2p 3.6r 0.9a 0.5s 0.5b = 18.7+ = 7.1mfg 0.3mft 1.5to 2.9pf = 11.8- = 6.9NP 5.8OE 1.1FG

Chris needs to significantly improve these numbers this year, both for himself and the team.

Here’s Chris at his best:


He’s an enthusiastic shot blocker. He can basically do it all – if he wants to. Chris was the #72 national recruit and #19 small forward, per 247, which had him as a 4 star.


Maliq Brown, sophomore 6-8 222

Maliq Brown, recognizable by his long ponytail, was the mirror image of Benny Williams last year. He stayed inside. He had good hands and good moves around the basket and he could score in bunches in there. He was also a good rebounder. What had excited me about his high school tape was his defensive skills:

Maliq Brown - 2022 Forward: 20-21 Season Clips

I’ve never seen a high school highlight tape that shows as much of a player’s sneaker-to-sneaker defensive skills and Maliq’s are considerable. He’s also good at stealing the ball and blocking shots – to his teammates or himself. He’s also a fine passer with good court vision. These things were not evident in his limited role last year. I think he could operate as a true power forward or as a center in a man-for-man defense or in the press. His mobility would be a big plus in such a role. One thing you didn’t see on the tape was a jump shot. He never even attempted a three last year. It’s not his game. That would matter a lot less at center than at forward.

The best of Maliq at SU:

Maliq Brown 2022-23 Regular Season Highlights | Syracuse Forward

247 had him as the 55th best power forward and a 3 star recruit, #220 overall. Here are his numbers:
20.2m 11.3p 9.1r 1.7a 1.8s 1.0b = 24.9+ = 2.2mfg 0.9mft 1.6to 2.0pf = 6.7- = 18.2NP 8.7OE 10.0FG


Justin Taylor, sophomore 6-6 218

Justin came advertised as a Buddy Boeheim clone. He looked and sounded the part. His high school highlight tape looked good – he could score from all three levels. He’s a bit bigger than Buddy and more able to mix it up inside. That tape seemed to indicate he was good at driving to the basket- better than Buddy was, but that trait didn’t show itself last year. Neither was Justin much of a rebounder. He was in here for his shooting. That basically showed up in one game, an otherwise embarrassing loss to Bryant. In that game Taylor dropped in 25 points, going 3 for 6 from the arc and 3 for 3 inside it. He got to the line 13 times and made 10 shots. He added 3 rebounds. It seemed he might be taking over the small forward position. But he never had another game remotely like that. Here are his numbers for the year:
16.7m 10.1p 4.3r 1.6a 1.4s 0.5b = 17.9+ = 5.4mfg 0.4mft 0.6s 2.1pf = 8.5- = 9.4NP 4.3OE 5.1FG
He did shoot well from three: 24 for 61, 39.3% but only 37% inside.

This is that high school highlight film I liked:

2022 Syracuse Commit Justin Taylor's Senior Season Highlights

And here are his Syracuse highlights:

Highlights | Best of Justin Taylor
Justin was rated the 39th best small forward and a 3 star prospect per 247, #124 overall.


Benny Williams, junior 6-9 210

Benny was a blue chip recruit who could do it all but likes to operate away from the basket and put up jump shots, to the consternation of Jim Boeheim, who wanted his power forward inside, rebounding, scoring and defending the basket, (see Maliq Brown). He was a total bust in his first year here:
11.5m 6.7p 5.0r 0.7a 1.4s 0.8b = 14.6+ 4.9mfg 1.0mft 2.2to 2.9pf = 11.0- = 3.6NP 0.8OE 2.8FG
Particularly pathetic was his shooting. He was 1 for 11 from three point range and made only 39% of his two point shots. He once went 40 days and 9 games without making a shot from any distance, going 0 for 12. He looked like a deer in the headlights. It was frustrating because some of the teams we played also had highly recruited freshmen forwards who were far more productive in games we lost.

But he survived that to have a more productive sophomore season:
22.4m 12.8p 7.3r 1.5a 1.4s 0.5b = 23.5+ 6.3mfg 0.8mft 1.7to 2.0pf = 10.8- = 12.7NP 5.7OE 7.0FG
If Chris Bell has numbers like that this year, we’ll all be celebrating. Benny even started hitting three pointers, winding up the season at a stunning 39.6%, abit over a small sample (19/48). Maybe he should be the ‘small’ forward. In fact, 247 listed him as one coming out of high school. But he can be even better. They rated him as the #41 recruit in the country and 10th best small forward and a 4 star.

Benny at his best:

Benny Williams 2022-23 Regular Season Highlights | Syracuse Forward

Among his other skills, he shows a strong ability to pass the ball, especially to big men.

All four of these guys are talented players. They’ve gotten off to a slow start in their careers but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be fine players. Becoming fine players will have a lot to do with what happened to this team this year.
 
A small nit to pick:

Bell’s shooting 34.5% as a Frosh is actually quite decent.

MANY of our best shooters struggled as Frosh.
Cooney - 26.7%
Shump - 29.0%
GMac - 35.7% (2nd best % of his career, actually)
D Nic - 23.6%
Southy - 29.2%
Buddy - 35.3%
JGIII - 32.4%
Andy Rautins - 32.6%
Mali - 35.3%

Honestly, the list of dudes who shot the 3 really WELL as Frosh is pretty small:
RoboTriche 40.0%, Devo 37.6%, Tyler Lydon 40.5% are the notables.
 
A small nit to pick:

Bell’s shooting 34.5% as a Frosh is actually quite decent.

MANY of our best shooters struggled as Frosh.
Cooney - 26.7%
Shump - 29.0%
GMac - 35.7% (2nd best % of his career, actually)
D Nic - 23.6%
Southy - 29.2%
Buddy - 35.3%
JGIII - 32.4%
Andy Rautins - 32.6%
Mali - 35.3%

Honestly, the list of dudes who shot the 3 really WELL as Frosh is pretty small:
RoboTriche 40.0%, Devo 37.6%, Tyler Lydon 40.5% are the notables.

But "we’ll need him to do better than the 34.5% he shot from three last season" if he's going to be the guy who bends the defense out of shape to allow our guys to get to the basket.
 

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