My Take | Syracusefan.com

My Take

sutomcat

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Gotta write down something after that game but pressed for time. Here goes...

Wow. I think we have all commented before this game on how streaky and inconsistent this team has been. It has been their hallmark so far. Great half. Awful half. There has been little in the way of simple good play. Like the meme says, 'sometimes a good, sometimes a s***'.

But they took that inconsistency to a new level last night.

Gotta give props to Colgate. They have a veteran team. They are well coached. They do a great job running their half court offense and they dissected our man defense this year almost as easily as they have destroyed the 2-3 the last 2 years.

And their defense isn't bad either. They switched from zone to man and back again a number of times and did a passable job with both. When they played man, they sagged towards the paint and it appeared their strategy was to allow Syracuse to shoot as many 3s as possible, preferably as early in possessions as possible. They knew their players were not as athletic as ours and did not want our guys slashing to the basket. When Judah tried to drive, he had 5 man in the paint and no room to maneuver.

For too long in the game, we fell into this trap and we happy to settle for taking early 3s with no one under the basket to rebound. Lots of bad shots by bad shooters. Guys like Benny, Q, Mintz, JJ and Cuffe were jacking shots up without even getting set in shooting position. We took 32 3s. Ridiculous against a team as unathletic as Colgate.

Was really disappointed when this continued into the second half. Thought Red would surely put a stop to it but he did not. Which is troubling. Looks like he is letting anyone shoot whatever shot they want with no ramifications. If JAB was here, some guys would have been taken out and reprimanded. And yes, doing that stuff embarrasses players and JAB probably undermined the confidence of some players and hindered development with some qucik hooks. But you have to have a balance between supporting your players and preventing them from hurting the team by taking bad shots. To Red's credit, he saw Benny was shooting every chance he had. Not a great shooter to begin with, very rusty, not a good situation. Red saw this and pulled him the rest of the game.

What to see a contrast in plus minus? Look at the center position for Syracuse last night. Maliq was +10. Best on the team. Naheem was -6. Worst on the team. Rough day for Naheem, who let slow smaller guys back him to the basket repeatedly to get off easy shots. Did not show any interest rebounding. Just played really soft. And on offense, he just stands on the low post and takes up real estate so our cutters have no room to get to the paint. There will be games when he is a big factor. This was not one of them.

When Maliq is in, the offense runs better because Maliq hangs out on the high post. That alone is important. He is really agile and has really quick hands for a big and drove the Colgate bigs crazy with his hyper active poking at the ball. Really good at it. Generates a lot of turnovers and havoc with this. His defense was IMHO, one of the turning points of the game. That said, he needs to be part of the offense more (gotta be more aggressive looking for shots) and needs to rebound more too. Great to see him take over the game in the final minute. This is a kid who is not afraid to make plays at crunch time and I think he will make a lot of them for us in coming years.

Judah was bad. Again. For most of the game. Again. He got schooled repeatedly by Smith and reacted by losing his poise and making a flagrant foul. He continues to be immature, gets caught up on how he is doing in one on one battles with his counterpart and his defense for a big part of the game was poor. Over and over when we were struggling to score, he got the ball at the top of the key, looked up to see 5 men in the paint and went 1 on 5 anyway. With a bad forced shot or a wild bad pass turnover that inevitably followed.

And then we started pressing, the game sped up and he was terrific. He is a huge contributor to our inconsistency and he needs to get over the petty stuff and focus on his game. At this point, he should know better and not force stuff when it isn't there. I hope he learns from this game. So talented. So inconsistent.

Wish Taylor would shoot more. He needs to be a tad more selfish. Love how he has improved his rebounding and his defense. He was assigned one of the Colgate bigs a lot, especially in the second half and he more than held his own. Bodes well for the future.

Thought JJ was pretty solid. Probably got gassed some in the second half and could have used a couple minutes off but he was good defensively, generally made good decisions and man, he continues to do a good job tracking down rebounds.

Haven't said anything about Bell yet. Going off my memory, we got down 24 around the 16 minute mark. No one could score, we were cold as ice and things looked hopeless. And then Chris just went off. We saw Justin do it last year. This was I think the first time I have seen Chris just take over a game. Yes, he made a bunch of 3s but he scored on drives and mid range jumpers too. That kid believes in himself and confidence can sometimes go a long way. Hell of a performance just to get us back in the game and the long 3 he hit to tie it up was the biggest shot of the game. Props to him. Great job. That said, still have to rebound more and I would like to see him make a good pass occasionally too.

Shocking that we were able to come back from that far against a veteran team like Colgate. It might mean nothing. We might go on an 8 game losing streak and have a losing season.

Or it might be the start of a special season.

I don't know how good this team is yet. But I do know this. This team has a lot of potential. They have the ability to play extremely well and do some special things. They also have the ability to play really poorly for extended periods.

I think this year is going to be a wild ride. I am expecting some real high points and probably some real low points as well. This is what young teams do. But if we are lucky, they find ways to play well a lot more than they play poorly and make improvements toward that end all season long.

If nothing else, it is going to be interesting to watch.
 
This game was a real trial for me but not because of the game. It was because I couldn’t watch it! Hospital does not carry ACC channel. For the love of god, why not?? My ESPN app did not work as it has not worked every time I’ve tried to use it. Hardly mattered because the internet went in and out.(I notice it seems perfectly fine this morning.) So I tried to listen on my WAER app but the channel was more off than on. Finally resorted to staring at the Google score updates. Finally a friend of mine texted the play by play for the last 6 minutes! My daughter did as well. I could have been there! Stupid surgery.

I really went kind of numb during the first half. Stared at the Duke/MSU game on the tv. Duke also had to struggle to win but not like we did! Like everyone else I am worried about our inconsistency. I am pretty sure Tennessee will pound us; if we can lose to them by 15 or less, I will feel good. I don’t understand why they’re not coaching McLeod to put his arms up and swat or dunk. I hope Benny gets it together. It seems we have so many potentially good players who are not good yet (because inconsistency is not good).

How the heck do you get italics off?

Anyway, I can’t WAIT to watch the second half of the game once I get to my daughter’s house! Sweet sweet joy.
 
Few random thoughts of my own...

- I don't want to make too much of it, but for us to start the 2nd half down big - 16 points, and JJ comes down and takes a quick 3. Really poor decision making. It was exactly what we needed to avoid... forcing shots and taking what Colgate was hoping. I can understand such a shot later in the game, but the very first shot out of the half??

- I love Copeland's energy and ability as a guard to get rebounds like he does. That's huge. 3 rebounds in 9 minutes and they aren't ones that just find their way into his hands - he goes after it. Now for shooting 3's... PLEASE stop.

- LOTS of games left but so far, Mintz looks like last year's early season Judah. Plenty to love about the young man, but was really hoping for better play from him after going through the nba process and coming back.

- Get Red a taller microphone for his pressers.
 
Gotta write down something after that game but pressed for time. Here goes...

Wow. I think we have all commented before this game on how streaky and inconsistent this team has been. It has been their hallmark so far. Great half. Awful half. There has been little in the way of simple good play. Like the meme says, 'sometimes a good, sometimes a s***'.

But they took that inconsistency to a new level last night.

Gotta give props to Colgate. They have a veteran team. They are well coached. They do a great job running their half court offense and they dissected our man defense this year almost as easily as they have destroyed the 2-3 the last 2 years.

And their defense isn't bad either. They switched from zone to man and back again a number of times and did a passable job with both. When they played man, they sagged towards the paint and it appeared their strategy was to allow Syracuse to shoot as many 3s as possible, preferably as early in possessions as possible. They knew their players were not as athletic as ours and did not want our guys slashing to the basket. When Judah tried to drive, he had 5 man in the paint and no room to maneuver.

For too long in the game, we fell into this trap and we happy to settle for taking early 3s with no one under the basket to rebound. Lots of bad shots by bad shooters. Guys like Benny, Q, Mintz, JJ and Cuffe were jacking shots up without even getting set in shooting position. We took 32 3s. Ridiculous against a team as unathletic as Colgate.

Was really disappointed when this continued into the second half. Thought Red would surely put a stop to it but he did not. Which is troubling. Looks like he is letting anyone shoot whatever shot they want with no ramifications. If JAB was here, some guys would have been taken out and reprimanded. And yes, doing that stuff embarrasses players and JAB probably undermined the confidence of some players and hindered development with some qucik hooks. But you have to have a balance between supporting your players and preventing them from hurting the team by taking bad shots. To Red's credit, he saw Benny was shooting every chance he had. Not a great shooter to begin with, very rusty, not a good situation. Red saw this and pulled him the rest of the game.

What to see a contrast in plus minus? Look at the center position for Syracuse last night. Maliq was +10. Best on the team. Naheem was -6. Worst on the team. Rough day for Naheem, who let slow smaller guys back him to the basket repeatedly to get off easy shots. Did not show any interest rebounding. Just played really soft. And on offense, he just stands on the low post and takes up real estate so our cutters have no room to get to the paint. There will be games when he is a big factor. This was not one of them.

When Maliq is in, the offense runs better because Maliq hangs out on the high post. That alone is important. He is really agile and has really quick hands for a big and drove the Colgate bigs crazy with his hyper active poking at the ball. Really good at it. Generates a lot of turnovers and havoc with this. His defense was IMHO, one of the turning points of the game. That said, he needs to be part of the offense more (gotta be more aggressive looking for shots) and needs to rebound more too. Great to see him take over the game in the final minute. This is a kid who is not afraid to make plays at crunch time and I think he will make a lot of them for us in coming years.

Judah was bad. Again. For most of the game. Again. He got schooled repeatedly by Smith and reacted by losing his poise and making a flagrant foul. He continues to be immature, gets caught up on how he is doing in one on one battles with his counterpart and his defense for a big part of the game was poor. Over and over when we were struggling to score, he got the ball at the top of the key, looked up to see 5 men in the paint and went 1 on 5 anyway. With a bad forced shot or a wild bad pass turnover that inevitably followed.

And then we started pressing, the game sped up and he was terrific. He is a huge contributor to our inconsistency and he needs to get over the petty stuff and focus on his game. At this point, he should know better and not force stuff when it isn't there. I hope he learns from this game. So talented. So inconsistent.

Wish Taylor would shoot more. He needs to be a tad more selfish. Love how he has improved his rebounding and his defense. He was assigned one of the Colgate bigs a lot, especially in the second half and he more than held his own. Bodes well for the future.

Thought JJ was pretty solid. Probably got gassed some in the second half and could have used a couple minutes off but he was good defensively, generally made good decisions and man, he continues to do a good job tracking down rebounds.

Haven't said anything about Bell yet. Going off my memory, we got down 24 around the 16 minute mark. No one could score, we were cold as ice and things looked hopeless. And then Chris just went off. We saw Justin do it last year. This was I think the first time I have seen Chris just take over a game. Yes, he made a bunch of 3s but he scored on drives and mid range jumpers too. That kid believes in himself and confidence can sometimes go a long way. Hell of a performance just to get us back in the game and the long 3 he hit to tie it up was the biggest shot of the game. Props to him. Great job. That said, still have to rebound more and I would like to see him make a good pass occasionally too.

Shocking that we were able to come back from that far against a veteran team like Colgate. It might mean nothing. We might go on an 8 game losing streak and have a losing season.

Or it might be the start of a special season.

I don't know how good this team is yet. But I do know this. This team has a lot of potential. They have the ability to play extremely well and do some special things. They also have the ability to play really poorly for extended periods.

I think this year is going to be a wild ride. I am expecting some real high points and probably some real low points as well. This is what young teams do. But if we are lucky, they find ways to play well a lot more than they play poorly and make improvements toward that end all season long.

If nothing else, it is going to be interesting to watch.
Outstanding summary of the game!
 
Always appreciate the takes. I didn't see it with quite so much of a negative lens. Also JB let a number of guys shoot us out of games in recent years to be fair be it because we lacked enough shooters but still.

Judah was good for the last 16 minutes when the game was flipped I thought.

While I get JB would have pulled some players quickly- Red having a longer leash on shots is pretty much in lock step with a lot of programs and colleges these days. Red is probably still developing how he handles this but it's not the same landscape it was even 10 years ago.

Also we still lose this game with last year's team in my opinion.
 
Always appreciate the takes. I didn't see it with quite so much of a negative lens. Also JB let a number of guys shoot us out of games in recent years to be fair be it because we lacked enough shooters but still.

Judah was good for the last 16 minutes when the game was flipped I thought.

While I get JB would have pulled some players quickly- Red having a longer leash on shots is pretty much in lock step with a lot of programs and colleges these days. Red is probably still developing how he handles this but it's not the same landscape it was even 10 years ago.

Also we still lose this game with last year's team in my opinion.
Agree. Didn’t have the athletes to beat Colgate last year. Sadly.

The ceiling for the team this year is significantly higher.
 
Briefly:
We need to press always. We are built to run.
McLeod should be used sparingly
We need to be able to play a half court game on offense. Given our spotty shooting we need to work for good shots. Makes no sense to play fast if the other team is set on defense.
When Bell shoots he has to go for a follow-up instead of just standing there. Basketball 101.
I think that Cope, Benny, Cuffe and Judah will improve from distance if we are more patient.
Great move by Red to start pressing before it was too late.
 
The difference with Red’s press is that everyone is matching up and not just having our center hang out at the other end of the court. Pitino would have been happy with all the tips from behind in the press. I think we had 3-4 four tips hustling back on defense. Good pressing teams cause a lot of turnovers after passing center court. I want our weak side guys on the press to anticipate turning the dribbler near half court and blindside them with the double or steal. We had a few chances last night. It’s important when the ball gets ahead of you to run like hell. You can cause a lot of turnovers hustling from behind.
 
Always appreciate the takes. I didn't see it with quite so much of a negative lens. Also JB let a number of guys shoot us out of games in recent years to be fair be it because we lacked enough shooters but still.

Judah was good for the last 16 minutes when the game was flipped I thought.

While I get JB would have pulled some players quickly- Red having a longer leash on shots is pretty much in lock step with a lot of programs and colleges these days. Red is probably still developing how he handles this but it's not the same landscape it was even 10 years ago.

Also we still lose this game with last year's team in my opinion.

JB let inefficient guys shoot us out of games in the later years, for sure.

As it pertains to Red, he absolutely needs to do something about it. I'm not going to hammer JB and then give Red a pass on this.

There are basically zero people that should be doing off the dribble three pointers on this team outside of someone who is streaking doing a heat check. Q shooting a jab step three last game was the wildest thing I've seen. Benny is a mess. JJ's jump shot looks awkward at best. Judah... inconsistent at best.

Bell and Taylor should get the opportunity to prove if they have a hot hand (and Red has run some early plays for them, but at times Judah is looking them off).

This team has to attack, attack, attack. It has to get into the bonus in games early and then hit FTs. Work inside out (with the caveat that I do like setting up early opps for Bell and JT to see if they can knock one down to get engaged). But Judah can't give away possessions while flinging himself at the rim. It not only gets us zero points, it makes it a four on five going the other way.

Also, if we aren't rebounding, we aren't running and getting open looks in transition. McLeod has to rebound or else I'm not sure what he's doing out there. He should be getting everything.

Team showed a lot of heart last night, but they also were their own worst enemy for the first 25 minutes of the game or so. Against a good team, we're cooked if that happens.

Guys need to lock in from the jump. Judah wants a shot at the NBA? Make better decisions. The NBA will fix your jump shot, but they aren't going to pay you millions to make bad decisions as a lead guard. That position is as deep as its ever been in the NBA and you are swimming in a pool of insane talent.

BUT, 3-0 and a comeback win against a well-coached team matters. This is a journey with Red and this team, but this helped more than hurt, so you always take it.
 
I thought it was ironic that the last 3 minutes of the game when it was on the line the Syracuse players on the floors numbers were 1,2,3,4,and 5..
Good observation!
 
Gotta write down something after that game but pressed for time. Here goes...

Wow. I think we have all commented before this game on how streaky and inconsistent this team has been. It has been their hallmark so far. Great half. Awful half. There has been little in the way of simple good play. Like the meme says, 'sometimes a good, sometimes a s***'.

But they took that inconsistency to a new level last night.

Gotta give props to Colgate. They have a veteran team. They are well coached. They do a great job running their half court offense and they dissected our man defense this year almost as easily as they have destroyed the 2-3 the last 2 years.

And their defense isn't bad either. They switched from zone to man and back again a number of times and did a passable job with both. When they played man, they sagged towards the paint and it appeared their strategy was to allow Syracuse to shoot as many 3s as possible, preferably as early in possessions as possible. They knew their players were not as athletic as ours and did not want our guys slashing to the basket. When Judah tried to drive, he had 5 man in the paint and no room to maneuver.

For too long in the game, we fell into this trap and we happy to settle for taking early 3s with no one under the basket to rebound. Lots of bad shots by bad shooters. Guys like Benny, Q, Mintz, JJ and Cuffe were jacking shots up without even getting set in shooting position. We took 32 3s. Ridiculous against a team as unathletic as Colgate.

Was really disappointed when this continued into the second half. Thought Red would surely put a stop to it but he did not. Which is troubling. Looks like he is letting anyone shoot whatever shot they want with no ramifications. If JAB was here, some guys would have been taken out and reprimanded. And yes, doing that stuff embarrasses players and JAB probably undermined the confidence of some players and hindered development with some qucik hooks. But you have to have a balance between supporting your players and preventing them from hurting the team by taking bad shots. To Red's credit, he saw Benny was shooting every chance he had. Not a great shooter to begin with, very rusty, not a good situation. Red saw this and pulled him the rest of the game.

What to see a contrast in plus minus? Look at the center position for Syracuse last night. Maliq was +10. Best on the team. Naheem was -6. Worst on the team. Rough day for Naheem, who let slow smaller guys back him to the basket repeatedly to get off easy shots. Did not show any interest rebounding. Just played really soft. And on offense, he just stands on the low post and takes up real estate so our cutters have no room to get to the paint. There will be games when he is a big factor. This was not one of them.

When Maliq is in, the offense runs better because Maliq hangs out on the high post. That alone is important. He is really agile and has really quick hands for a big and drove the Colgate bigs crazy with his hyper active poking at the ball. Really good at it. Generates a lot of turnovers and havoc with this. His defense was IMHO, one of the turning points of the game. That said, he needs to be part of the offense more (gotta be more aggressive looking for shots) and needs to rebound more too. Great to see him take over the game in the final minute. This is a kid who is not afraid to make plays at crunch time and I think he will make a lot of them for us in coming years.

Judah was bad. Again. For most of the game. Again. He got schooled repeatedly by Smith and reacted by losing his poise and making a flagrant foul. He continues to be immature, gets caught up on how he is doing in one on one battles with his counterpart and his defense for a big part of the game was poor. Over and over when we were struggling to score, he got the ball at the top of the key, looked up to see 5 men in the paint and went 1 on 5 anyway. With a bad forced shot or a wild bad pass turnover that inevitably followed.

And then we started pressing, the game sped up and he was terrific. He is a huge contributor to our inconsistency and he needs to get over the petty stuff and focus on his game. At this point, he should know better and not force stuff when it isn't there. I hope he learns from this game. So talented. So inconsistent.

Wish Taylor would shoot more. He needs to be a tad more selfish. Love how he has improved his rebounding and his defense. He was assigned one of the Colgate bigs a lot, especially in the second half and he more than held his own. Bodes well for the future.

Thought JJ was pretty solid. Probably got gassed some in the second half and could have used a couple minutes off but he was good defensively, generally made good decisions and man, he continues to do a good job tracking down rebounds.

Haven't said anything about Bell yet. Going off my memory, we got down 24 around the 16 minute mark. No one could score, we were cold as ice and things looked hopeless. And then Chris just went off. We saw Justin do it last year. This was I think the first time I have seen Chris just take over a game. Yes, he made a bunch of 3s but he scored on drives and mid range jumpers too. That kid believes in himself and confidence can sometimes go a long way. Hell of a performance just to get us back in the game and the long 3 he hit to tie it up was the biggest shot of the game. Props to him. Great job. That said, still have to rebound more and I would like to see him make a good pass occasionally too.

Shocking that we were able to come back from that far against a veteran team like Colgate. It might mean nothing. We might go on an 8 game losing streak and have a losing season.

Or it might be the start of a special season.

I don't know how good this team is yet. But I do know this. This team has a lot of potential. They have the ability to play extremely well and do some special things. They also have the ability to play really poorly for extended periods.

I think this year is going to be a wild ride. I am expecting some real high points and probably some real low points as well. This is what young teams do. But if we are lucky, they find ways to play well a lot more than they play poorly and make improvements toward that end all season long.

If nothing else, it is going to be interesting to watch.
Good wrapup. Judah needs to stay in front of his guy and take fewer chances defensively in part because we aren't great at helping/scrambling and in part because when he takes a chance at the opposite free throw line, he ends up out of the play for 5 seconds. Some of that would be solved by making a concerted effort to get back into the play. That said, he is getting to the line at a pace we've never seen before. 11 trips a game? Not sustainable but that's insane and wears on opponents. Just needs to even his performance out a bit.

I actually thought Bell, Taylor, Brown, Benny and McLeod each had moments where they actually tried to box out and still got beat for an offensive rebound for Colgate. That's troubling. There's boxing out and then there's BOXING OUT. Part of rebounding is attitude and all-out hustle. We need more of that from all those guys -- they have to understand the value in something that may not show up in the box score (keeping an opposing big off the glass so someone else can grab the board, for example).

What I liked:
  • Awesome to see them stick with it and complete the comeback. Really, really hard to do and they deserve credit.
  • JJ isn't always real flashy but he's effective and pretty consistent (outside of shooting). That's a nice steadying presence for us.
  • Locked in Judah is a really, really good player.
  • Brown gets his hands on the ball constantly. Even when it doesn't cause turnovers that's disruptive and can get in opponents' heads.
  • Bell's value is as a shooter -- my gut tells me it's pointless to dream of him doing a bunch of other stuff. When he knocks down shots and puts points on the board, that helps significantly. He did a ton of it tonight and did a nice job mixing in some 2s with his threes.
  • Our athleticism is significantly improved. Doesn't guarantee wins but does allow for this team to do things like they did last night against a well-coached team with some talent.​


  • What I'm concerned about:
    • Our defense is incredibly simple. If all five guys shut their guy down, we look good. We have some good athletes and good defenders who work hard, so that happens for stretches, particularly against a team with some talent, but not as much talent as we have. But we HAVE to do more with our m2m. We play screens on-ball well sometimes, and terribly at others where the man on ball is chasing from behind and the help defense isn't in position to stop the drive and the guy rolling is left uncovered or the help comes late. Our communication has to be better, our scouting has to be better, we need to help more and we can't sit and watch teams abuse us with bigs down low. A lot to improve here.

    • The reliance on Bell makes me a bit nervous. Not trying to knock the kid and riding the hot hand makes total sense. But his floor game is super limited and against good teams (even Colgate if a couple more of his shots rim out) I just don't know how often we can realistically play he and Taylor together. To be clear, it worked last night. Just worry about the sustainability of it.

    • Off-ball movement on offense is utterly brutal for long stretches. Has to get better.

    • Not locked-in Judah can really hurt us on the defensive end in particular. He needs to be more consistent there.

    • Not sure McLeod is playable, really. I'll reserve judgment for now, but I'm a bit concerned. Even the things he does well -- catch and dunk on offense, block shots on defense -- feel thin in that we don't get him the ball well on offense and while he's blocking shots he lacks the instincts of a good post defender. That might be trouble for us if we're thinking more than 10-15 mpg.
 
Good wrapup. Judah needs to stay in front of his guy and take fewer chances defensively in part because we aren't great at helping/scrambling and in part because when he takes a chance at the opposite free throw line, he ends up out of the play for 5 seconds. Some of that would be solved by making a concerted effort to get back into the play. That said, he is getting to the line at a pace we've never seen before. 11 trips a game? Not sustainable but that's insane and wears on opponents. Just needs to even his performance out a bit.

I actually thought Bell, Taylor, Brown, Benny and McLeod each had moments where they actually tried to box out and still got beat for an offensive rebound for Colgate. That's troubling. There's boxing out and then there's BOXING OUT. Part of rebounding is attitude and all-out hustle. We need more of that from all those guys -- they have to understand the value in something that may not show up in the box score (keeping an opposing big off the glass so someone else can grab the board, for example).

What I liked:
  • Awesome to see them stick with it and complete the comeback. Really, really hard to do and they deserve credit.
  • JJ isn't always real flashy but he's effective and pretty consistent (outside of shooting). That's a nice steadying presence for us.
  • Locked in Judah is a really, really good player.
  • Brown gets his hands on the ball constantly. Even when it doesn't cause turnovers that's disruptive and can get in opponents' heads.
  • Bell's value is as a shooter -- my gut tells me it's pointless to dream of him doing a bunch of other stuff. When he knocks down shots and puts points on the board, that helps significantly. He did a ton of it tonight and did a nice job mixing in some 2s with his threes.
  • Our athleticism is significantly improved. Doesn't guarantee wins but does allow for this team to do things like they did last night against a well-coached team with some talent.​


  • What I'm concerned about:​
    • Our defense is incredibly simple. If all five guys shut their guy down, we look good. We have some good athletes and good defenders who work hard, so that happens for stretches, particularly against a team with some talent, but not as much talent as we have. But we HAVE to do more with our m2m. We play screens on-ball well sometimes, and terribly at others where the man on ball is chasing from behind and the help defense isn't in position to stop the drive and the guy rolling is left uncovered or the help comes late. Our communication has to be better, our scouting has to be better, we need to help more and we can't sit and watch teams abuse us with bigs down low. A lot to improve here.

    • The reliance on Bell makes me a bit nervous. Not trying to knock the kid and riding the hot hand makes total sense. But his floor game is super limited and against good teams (even Colgate if a couple more of his shots rim out) I just don't know how often we can realistically play he and Taylor together. To be clear, it worked last night. Just worry about the sustainability of it.

    • Off-ball movement on offense is utterly brutal for long stretches. Has to get better.

    • Not locked-in Judah can really hurt us on the defensive end in particular. He needs to be more consistent there.

    • Not sure McLeod is playable, really. I'll reserve judgment for now, but I'm a bit concerned. Even the things he does well -- catch and dunk on offense, block shots on defense -- feel thin in that we don't get him the ball well on offense and while he's blocking shots he lacks the instincts of a good post defender. That might be trouble for us if we're thinking more than 10-15 mpg.
great reads...I agree 100%

there's a lot to be happy about but probably more to be worried about i.e. this team;s future

- the center spot is a gaping hole on this roster. McLeod doesnt really seem to get the flow of the game really well...I wonder how coachable he is.

- decision making is highly questionable thus far (at least that is fixable)

- there were a lot of things happening in the game that were inexpicable from a strategy/coaching perspective...A LOT...not rebounding at all, no one even near the rebounds to even try...1 on 1 iso ball, zero energy/movement etc etc...

unfortunately, even though Red is his own man, he obviously has held onto some stuff from JB, and thus far, some of the worst stuff it seems...I predict Red will need an actual X's and O's assistant...or for someone on the current staff to improve there...if he wants to be the answer long-term
 
Gotta write down something after that game but pressed for time. Here goes...

Wow. I think we have all commented before this game on how streaky and inconsistent this team has been. It has been their hallmark so far. Great half. Awful half. There has been little in the way of simple good play. Like the meme says, 'sometimes a good, sometimes a s***'.

But they took that inconsistency to a new level last night.

Gotta give props to Colgate. They have a veteran team. They are well coached. They do a great job running their half court offense and they dissected our man defense this year almost as easily as they have destroyed the 2-3 the last 2 years.

And their defense isn't bad either. They switched from zone to man and back again a number of times and did a passable job with both. When they played man, they sagged towards the paint and it appeared their strategy was to allow Syracuse to shoot as many 3s as possible, preferably as early in possessions as possible. They knew their players were not as athletic as ours and did not want our guys slashing to the basket. When Judah tried to drive, he had 5 man in the paint and no room to maneuver.

For too long in the game, we fell into this trap and we happy to settle for taking early 3s with no one under the basket to rebound. Lots of bad shots by bad shooters. Guys like Benny, Q, Mintz, JJ and Cuffe were jacking shots up without even getting set in shooting position. We took 32 3s. Ridiculous against a team as unathletic as Colgate.

Was really disappointed when this continued into the second half. Thought Red would surely put a stop to it but he did not. Which is troubling. Looks like he is letting anyone shoot whatever shot they want with no ramifications. If JAB was here, some guys would have been taken out and reprimanded. And yes, doing that stuff embarrasses players and JAB probably undermined the confidence of some players and hindered development with some qucik hooks. But you have to have a balance between supporting your players and preventing them from hurting the team by taking bad shots. To Red's credit, he saw Benny was shooting every chance he had. Not a great shooter to begin with, very rusty, not a good situation. Red saw this and pulled him the rest of the game.

What to see a contrast in plus minus? Look at the center position for Syracuse last night. Maliq was +10. Best on the team. Naheem was -6. Worst on the team. Rough day for Naheem, who let slow smaller guys back him to the basket repeatedly to get off easy shots. Did not show any interest rebounding. Just played really soft. And on offense, he just stands on the low post and takes up real estate so our cutters have no room to get to the paint. There will be games when he is a big factor. This was not one of them.

When Maliq is in, the offense runs better because Maliq hangs out on the high post. That alone is important. He is really agile and has really quick hands for a big and drove the Colgate bigs crazy with his hyper active poking at the ball. Really good at it. Generates a lot of turnovers and havoc with this. His defense was IMHO, one of the turning points of the game. That said, he needs to be part of the offense more (gotta be more aggressive looking for shots) and needs to rebound more too. Great to see him take over the game in the final minute. This is a kid who is not afraid to make plays at crunch time and I think he will make a lot of them for us in coming years.

Judah was bad. Again. For most of the game. Again. He got schooled repeatedly by Smith and reacted by losing his poise and making a flagrant foul. He continues to be immature, gets caught up on how he is doing in one on one battles with his counterpart and his defense for a big part of the game was poor. Over and over when we were struggling to score, he got the ball at the top of the key, looked up to see 5 men in the paint and went 1 on 5 anyway. With a bad forced shot or a wild bad pass turnover that inevitably followed.

And then we started pressing, the game sped up and he was terrific. He is a huge contributor to our inconsistency and he needs to get over the petty stuff and focus on his game. At this point, he should know better and not force stuff when it isn't there. I hope he learns from this game. So talented. So inconsistent.

Wish Taylor would shoot more. He needs to be a tad more selfish. Love how he has improved his rebounding and his defense. He was assigned one of the Colgate bigs a lot, especially in the second half and he more than held his own. Bodes well for the future.

Thought JJ was pretty solid. Probably got gassed some in the second half and could have used a couple minutes off but he was good defensively, generally made good decisions and man, he continues to do a good job tracking down rebounds.

Haven't said anything about Bell yet. Going off my memory, we got down 24 around the 16 minute mark. No one could score, we were cold as ice and things looked hopeless. And then Chris just went off. We saw Justin do it last year. This was I think the first time I have seen Chris just take over a game. Yes, he made a bunch of 3s but he scored on drives and mid range jumpers too. That kid believes in himself and confidence can sometimes go a long way. Hell of a performance just to get us back in the game and the long 3 he hit to tie it up was the biggest shot of the game. Props to him. Great job. That said, still have to rebound more and I would like to see him make a good pass occasionally too.

Shocking that we were able to come back from that far against a veteran team like Colgate. It might mean nothing. We might go on an 8 game losing streak and have a losing season.

Or it might be the start of a special season.

I don't know how good this team is yet. But I do know this. This team has a lot of potential. They have the ability to play extremely well and do some special things. They also have the ability to play really poorly for extended periods.

I think this year is going to be a wild ride. I am expecting some real high points and probably some real low points as well. This is what young teams do. But if we are lucky, they find ways to play well a lot more than they play poorly and make improvements toward that end all season long.

If nothing else, it is going to be interesting to watch.
Good stuff!
Maliq being +10 is a great stat and not surprising. Where did you find a box score with the +/- btw?
 
I REALLY like Judah so I've been a bit critical of him this early season because he's an nba talent. That said, up to this point, I don't see him doing anything different (or better this year) that is going to help his draft status. His outside shooting remains suspect at best and he looks too often for his own shot versus being a distributor. He (and JJ too) should only shoot a 3 when they're really hot or wide open. That will help the team and help his case for the nba.
 
I think we need to stop using the “youth” excuse. Every P5 team in college basketball is going to deal with a fair amount of turnover these days. Last year with the 5 freshmen playing heavy minutes I can understand. But now these guys all have a year under their belts. The transfers have played at this level.

New to Red’s system? Sure I can kinda follow that logic. Just someone please tell me what offensive and defensive system we’re supposed to be seeing out there.
 
Good wrapup. Judah needs to stay in front of his guy and take fewer chances defensively in part because we aren't great at helping/scrambling and in part because when he takes a chance at the opposite free throw line, he ends up out of the play for 5 seconds. Some of that would be solved by making a concerted effort to get back into the play. That said, he is getting to the line at a pace we've never seen before. 11 trips a game? Not sustainable but that's insane and wears on opponents. Just needs to even his performance out a bit.

I actually thought Bell, Taylor, Brown, Benny and McLeod each had moments where they actually tried to box out and still got beat for an offensive rebound for Colgate. That's troubling. There's boxing out and then there's BOXING OUT. Part of rebounding is attitude and all-out hustle. We need more of that from all those guys -- they have to understand the value in something that may not show up in the box score (keeping an opposing big off the glass so someone else can grab the board, for example).

What I liked:
  • Awesome to see them stick with it and complete the comeback. Really, really hard to do and they deserve credit.
  • JJ isn't always real flashy but he's effective and pretty consistent (outside of shooting). That's a nice steadying presence for us.
  • Locked in Judah is a really, really good player.
  • Brown gets his hands on the ball constantly. Even when it doesn't cause turnovers that's disruptive and can get in opponents' heads.
  • Bell's value is as a shooter -- my gut tells me it's pointless to dream of him doing a bunch of other stuff. When he knocks down shots and puts points on the board, that helps significantly. He did a ton of it tonight and did a nice job mixing in some 2s with his threes.
  • Our athleticism is significantly improved. Doesn't guarantee wins but does allow for this team to do things like they did last night against a well-coached team with some talent.​


  • What I'm concerned about:​
    • Our defense is incredibly simple. If all five guys shut their guy down, we look good. We have some good athletes and good defenders who work hard, so that happens for stretches, particularly against a team with some talent, but not as much talent as we have. But we HAVE to do more with our m2m. We play screens on-ball well sometimes, and terribly at others where the man on ball is chasing from behind and the help defense isn't in position to stop the drive and the guy rolling is left uncovered or the help comes late. Our communication has to be better, our scouting has to be better, we need to help more and we can't sit and watch teams abuse us with bigs down low. A lot to improve here.

    • The reliance on Bell makes me a bit nervous. Not trying to knock the kid and riding the hot hand makes total sense. But his floor game is super limited and against good teams (even Colgate if a couple more of his shots rim out) I just don't know how often we can realistically play he and Taylor together. To be clear, it worked last night. Just worry about the sustainability of it.

    • Off-ball movement on offense is utterly brutal for long stretches. Has to get better.

    • Not locked-in Judah can really hurt us on the defensive end in particular. He needs to be more consistent there.

    • Not sure McLeod is playable, really. I'll reserve judgment for now, but I'm a bit concerned. Even the things he does well -- catch and dunk on offense, block shots on defense -- feel thin in that we don't get him the ball well on offense and while he's blocking shots he lacks the instincts of a good post defender. That might be trouble for us if we're thinking more than 10-15 mpg.
Believe you are right about Chris Bell being just a shooter even though he did have a couple of good drives. Maybe we should not get so upset about no rebounding and/or no assists. If he can be hot and score 15-16 points or more a game and provide some defense (which is an improvement from last year), shouldnt we be happy. Maybe, Taylor or Williams can pick up on the rebounding to make up for Bell’s lack of. To me, we need an inside scoring presence which could be Benny if he would just focus on that as well as forget about shooting threes. Scared that he may make one thus encouraging himself to short even more 3s. He should try working inside like Colgate’s forwards did last night.
 
Good writeup.
I am rewatching the game now and noticed the COMEBACK starts right after Colgate's 55 started smiling and jawing after abusing Taylor in the post. Seems Mintz had had enough at that point and scored 2 quick buckets.
 
We pretty clearly won the game on TO margin - 19 to 7. We will not have that sort of a TO margin against ACC caliber opponents.

The team's Achille's heels IMHO are 3 point shooting and rebounding.

I thought we were really hurt by Benny, yes, he will need a few games to get back to where he was last season.

I still think Cope deserves more minutes.
 
Believe you are right about Chris Bell being just a shooter even though he did have a couple of good drives. Maybe we should not get so upset about no rebounding and/or no assists. If he can be hot and score 15-16 points or more a game and provide some defense (which is an improvement from last year), shouldnt we be happy. Maybe, Taylor or Williams can pick up on the rebounding to make up for Bell’s lack of. To me, we need an inside scoring presence which could be Benny if he would just focus on that as well as forget about shooting threes. Scared that he may make one thus encouraging himself to short even more 3s. He should try working inside like Colgate’s forwards did last night.
Can they tell him to follow his shot? Maddening that he just stands and admires the arc of the ball. Junior high lesson.
 
Good stuff!
Maliq being +10 is a great stat and not surprising. Where did you find a box score with the +/- btw?
It is in OX’s links for the game. One of the first. Syracuse.com.

Here it is FYI…

1700086871303.png
 
Few random thoughts of my own...

- I don't want to make too much of it, but for us to start the 2nd half down big - 16 points, and JJ comes down and takes a quick 3. Really poor decision making. It was exactly what we needed to avoid... forcing shots and taking what Colgate was hoping. I can understand such a shot later in the game, but the very first shot out of the half??

- I love Copeland's energy and ability as a guard to get rebounds like he does. That's huge. 3 rebounds in 9 minutes and they aren't ones that just find their way into his hands - he goes after it. Now for shooting 3's... PLEASE stop.

- LOTS of games left but so far, Mintz looks like last year's early season Judah. Plenty to love about the young man, but was really hoping for better play from him after going through the nba process and coming back.

- Get Red a taller microphone for his pressers.
If we line up Q / JJ / Judah and Benny at the three point line and ranked there shooting form/rotation arc etc three of them would not be encouraged to shoot threes and Q isn’t one of them.

His shot is very much improved. Results will come around.
 
There’s only one player with high level “dog in him” ability and he’s focused on the wrong stuff. Judah is a competitor and has the gear to drive the team but gets distracted by petty small stuff and sometimes selfish play.

Starling and Copeland are the next best but are not quite comfortable for whatever reason.

McLeod looks like he doesn’t want to compete. He’s got classic “I’m tall so they said I’d be good at this” demeanor.

Bell is a scorer but is probably a year away still from being a consistent guy.

Lots of promise, but not a lot of “dog” in this team. They are lacking confidence, IMO.
 
Gotta write down something after that game but pressed for time. Here goes...

Wow. I think we have all commented before this game on how streaky and inconsistent this team has been. It has been their hallmark so far. Great half. Awful half. There has been little in the way of simple good play. Like the meme says, 'sometimes a good, sometimes a s***'.

But they took that inconsistency to a new level last night.

Gotta give props to Colgate. They have a veteran team. They are well coached. They do a great job running their half court offense and they dissected our man defense this year almost as easily as they have destroyed the 2-3 the last 2 years.

And their defense isn't bad either. They switched from zone to man and back again a number of times and did a passable job with both. When they played man, they sagged towards the paint and it appeared their strategy was to allow Syracuse to shoot as many 3s as possible, preferably as early in possessions as possible. They knew their players were not as athletic as ours and did not want our guys slashing to the basket. When Judah tried to drive, he had 5 man in the paint and no room to maneuver.

For too long in the game, we fell into this trap and we happy to settle for taking early 3s with no one under the basket to rebound. Lots of bad shots by bad shooters. Guys like Benny, Q, Mintz, JJ and Cuffe were jacking shots up without even getting set in shooting position. We took 32 3s. Ridiculous against a team as unathletic as Colgate.

Was really disappointed when this continued into the second half. Thought Red would surely put a stop to it but he did not. Which is troubling. Looks like he is letting anyone shoot whatever shot they want with no ramifications. If JAB was here, some guys would have been taken out and reprimanded. And yes, doing that stuff embarrasses players and JAB probably undermined the confidence of some players and hindered development with some qucik hooks. But you have to have a balance between supporting your players and preventing them from hurting the team by taking bad shots. To Red's credit, he saw Benny was shooting every chance he had. Not a great shooter to begin with, very rusty, not a good situation. Red saw this and pulled him the rest of the game.

What to see a contrast in plus minus? Look at the center position for Syracuse last night. Maliq was +10. Best on the team. Naheem was -6. Worst on the team. Rough day for Naheem, who let slow smaller guys back him to the basket repeatedly to get off easy shots. Did not show any interest rebounding. Just played really soft. And on offense, he just stands on the low post and takes up real estate so our cutters have no room to get to the paint. There will be games when he is a big factor. This was not one of them.

When Maliq is in, the offense runs better because Maliq hangs out on the high post. That alone is important. He is really agile and has really quick hands for a big and drove the Colgate bigs crazy with his hyper active poking at the ball. Really good at it. Generates a lot of turnovers and havoc with this. His defense was IMHO, one of the turning points of the game. That said, he needs to be part of the offense more (gotta be more aggressive looking for shots) and needs to rebound more too. Great to see him take over the game in the final minute. This is a kid who is not afraid to make plays at crunch time and I think he will make a lot of them for us in coming years.

Judah was bad. Again. For most of the game. Again. He got schooled repeatedly by Smith and reacted by losing his poise and making a flagrant foul. He continues to be immature, gets caught up on how he is doing in one on one battles with his counterpart and his defense for a big part of the game was poor. Over and over when we were struggling to score, he got the ball at the top of the key, looked up to see 5 men in the paint and went 1 on 5 anyway. With a bad forced shot or a wild bad pass turnover that inevitably followed.

And then we started pressing, the game sped up and he was terrific. He is a huge contributor to our inconsistency and he needs to get over the petty stuff and focus on his game. At this point, he should know better and not force stuff when it isn't there. I hope he learns from this game. So talented. So inconsistent.

Wish Taylor would shoot more. He needs to be a tad more selfish. Love how he has improved his rebounding and his defense. He was assigned one of the Colgate bigs a lot, especially in the second half and he more than held his own. Bodes well for the future.

Thought JJ was pretty solid. Probably got gassed some in the second half and could have used a couple minutes off but he was good defensively, generally made good decisions and man, he continues to do a good job tracking down rebounds.

Haven't said anything about Bell yet. Going off my memory, we got down 24 around the 16 minute mark. No one could score, we were cold as ice and things looked hopeless. And then Chris just went off. We saw Justin do it last year. This was I think the first time I have seen Chris just take over a game. Yes, he made a bunch of 3s but he scored on drives and mid range jumpers too. That kid believes in himself and confidence can sometimes go a long way. Hell of a performance just to get us back in the game and the long 3 he hit to tie it up was the biggest shot of the game. Props to him. Great job. That said, still have to rebound more and I would like to see him make a good pass occasionally too.

Shocking that we were able to come back from that far against a veteran team like Colgate. It might mean nothing. We might go on an 8 game losing streak and have a losing season.

Or it might be the start of a special season.

I don't know how good this team is yet. But I do know this. This team has a lot of potential. They have the ability to play extremely well and do some special things. They also have the ability to play really poorly for extended periods.

I think this year is going to be a wild ride. I am expecting some real high points and probably some real low points as well. This is what young teams do. But if we are lucky, they find ways to play well a lot more than they play poorly and make improvements toward that end all season long.

If nothing else, it is going to be interesting to watch.
Hi end players trust themselves more than systems or teammates. One component of coaching is getting them to surrender what has always worked for them and buy in. It isn’t happening at Syracuse yet. Perhaps there isn’t great definition as to what they’re buying into. Letting young players have free rein is trouble. It may take breaking some eggs and jarring relationships to get to the next step. Truthfully, we don’t really know if HCAA will be able to blend these talents to maximum benefit. I hope so.
 

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