Here are my grades for the 2010-11 Syracuse basketball team.
Fab Melo: D
The grade is a little unfair given Melo’s hype coming into Syracuse. It was clear from the beginning that Melo wasn’t physically in shape to play in the college game, even though he showed signs of life at the conclusion of the season.
Kris Joseph: B-
Another example of a player’s grade being hurt by the hype. Joseph was touted as the next go-to player at Syracuse, taking over the reigns from Wesley Johnson. But Joseph’s mentality is more of a supporting player, which led to inconsistent performances throughout the season.
Rick Jackson: A
Jackson was the perfect example of how a player can go from an average recruit to one of the elite players in the Big East. Most nights, you could pencil Jackson in for a double-double, and he was a major reason for Syracuse’s regular season success.
Scoop Jardine: B
Jardine led the Big East this year at more than six assists per game, but on the flip side, he also averaged 2.9 turnovers a game. For every solid drive and dish that Jardine had, he also had a questionable lob, pass or charge (also known as: “scOOPS”).
Brandon Triche: B-
Triche initially struggled in his transition from point guard to shooting guard. That would partially explain his drop from 40 percent shooting from downtown in his rookie year to 33 percent this season. Triche, like many of his teammates, was also inconsistent with his production.
CJ Fair: B+
Whereas the hype heading into the season hurt both Joseph and Melo, it helped Fair. The Baltimore native flew under the radar, but finished with the most productive season out of the four recruits. Fair has a bright future, with the ability to finish strong in traffic and block shots on defense.
James Southerland: C
Southerland has all the makings of a top tier player. He can shoot and has supreme athleticism. If he can put it all together on a consistent basis, Southerland will be an impact player. But the reality is, he hasn’t yet.
Baye Moussa Keita: B
Keita was initially looked at as a long-term project, but with Melo being ineffective, Keita ended up playing major minutes. Out of the two freshmen centers, Keita was the more polished of the two, although a hand injury slowed him at the end of the year.
Dion Waiters: B-
Waiters had a strong finish to the end of the year, playing his best game against Marquette with a season high 18 points. But like many freshmen who have come before him, he also had a tough time in the Big East schedule.
Mookie Jones: INC
Jones played only 13 games this season and was never seriously considered for a rotation spot. With Michael Carter-Williams and Trevor Cooney coming in next season, will Jones ever be a consistent contributor?
Jim Boeheim: B
Boeheim lost Johnson, Andy Rautins and Arinze Onuaku heading into this season, yet still managed to guide his team to as high as No. 3 in the rankings. That being said, Boeheim hasn’t been to the Elite 8 since the 2003 season.