With 2011 in the books, let’s take a look at the key members of the No. 1 Syracuse Orange and what their resolutions for 2012 should be to keep the team going strong, and march on towards New Orleans and the Final Four.
Bear in mind, with a record of 15-0, I may need to nitpick a little in this column as most of the squad has been fairly solid thus far. But alas, there’s always room for improvement.
Kris Joseph, F
Kris’ resolution should focus on maintaining some form of consistency. Putting up a 0-for-6, zero point performance will not cut it once the Orange square off against the crème de la crème of the Big East. The 22-point follow up against DePaul should mean this was a gigantic outlier. Still, a better overall shooting percentage wouldn’t hurt either. (I told you there’d be some nitpicking.)
Scoop Jardine, G
Scoop has done a great job keeping the turnovers down to just over two per game. If he could learn how to make a free throw, he’d probably be able to stay out there on the court longer. Shooting only 48% from the charity stripe will make it easy for Boeheim to play Michael Carter-Williams and Dion Waiters down the stretch. Speaking of which…
Dion Waiters, G
Thinking…Still thinking…aaannnddd I got nothing. What a great season for Dion so far. I wouldn’t mind seeing him attack the rim every play, but even when he settles for the three, he’s knocking them down at a respectable 32.4% clip. Nevertheless, Dion should resolve to take less than 27% of his shot attempts from behind the arc since he’s shooting 62% from 2-point range.
Michael Carter-Williams, G
Simply put, Michael needs to sleep in the gym and find his stroke. Sometimes it’s hard to find your rhythm in just 13.8 minutes per game, but shooting 35% from the field, 18% from downtown, and 53% from the FT line is not what a heralded shooter should be producing off of the bench for a championship caliber team. If he can find the range, the Cuse could be unstoppable.
Fab Melo, C
Fab has finally broken out. In two Big East games he’s averaged 12 points, 6 boards, 8 blocks, and shot 75% from the floor. Fab should make his New Year’s Resolution to do that night in and night out. While those numbers can’t possibly stay consistent, the effort needs to. He must maintain a line of 10-5-3 every night, and make the 2-3-1 lines a thing of the past.
Brandon Triche, G
Brandon needs to get to the foul line more often. He’s shooting over 86% there, yet takes less than two per game. If he forgoes some pull-up jumpers and instead attacks the rim to find some fouls, he can easily up his scoring average to 12 per game.
Rakeem Christmas, F/C
Rebound. Rebound. Rebound.
C.J. Fair, Baye Moussa Keita, James Southerland
These three have been the perfect specialty role players all season and seem happy to be in that position. They should to resolve to keep their egos in check and continue to do what the team needs when called upon. This holds especially true for C.J. if his performances continue to outweigh his minutes.
Jim Boeheim, Coach
Coach has done a great job of rotating his guys, finding match ups that work and the players that complement each other. As the competition intensifies it’s up to him to keep the pieces working as one well-oiled machine. It will become tougher to give everyone minutes as the games become closer, but if he can find a way, the Cuse should have a very rewarding 2012.Matt Goodman