A quick take on Syracuse’s 99-63 win over Pace to open preseason action:
- Pace freshman point guard Salvatore Vitello is 5 foot 7 and 140 pounds. At one point, he was standing next to DaJuan Coleman, who towered over him at 6 foot 9 and 275 pounds. It reminded me of this picture of Muggsy Bogues and Manute Bol.
- Speaking of DaJuan Coleman, he ran the floor well, had a nice low post repertoire and was quick enough to start at wing. On top of that, he showed a nice touch from the line, hitting all five of his free throws. That being said, I fully expect him to be shooting 50 percent from the line come March with a full season of Syracuse practices under his belt.
- Things you won’t see during the regular season: Jerami Grant handling the ball. Or shooting. At least, not this season. He’s got the makings of a star later in his career, especially with his wingspan.
- Looking through the rosters, Pace had three players listed under 6 feet. The shortest guy on Syracuse? 6 foot 4 Trevor Cooney and Brandon Triche (on scholarship, at least). That will be one of the biggest advantages Syracuse has all season.
- With Trevor Cooney unavailable for this game because of tonsillitis, James Southerland got some burn at shooting guard. Definitely a weird sight seeing him at the top of the zone.
- Baye Moussa Keita showed off his soft hands, catching a couple of bullet passes for easy baskets. Those types of baskets came often for Keita. He finished with 14 points on 7 of 8 shooting.
- Michael Carter-Williams looked every bit the go-to guy that we’ve been hearing about in the preseason. He was scoring on all sorts of drives and was also shooting well from 3-point land, hitting both of his attempts. He finished tied for the team scoring lead with 16 points.
- And while I’m talking about outside shooting and people finishing with 16 points, CJ Fair said he spent the offseason becoming more consistent from downtown (he shot 24 percent from there last year). The work paid off, at least, for one game, as he went 2 for 3 from beyond the arc.
- Rakeem Christmas still has no offensive moves to speak of, but you know what he did show? Some awesome orange and pink sneakers. “Awesome” being a relative word.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Orange finish up the preseason against Bloomsburg on Sunday Nov. 4 at 4 p.m. TV: TWCS or on tape delay on SNY at 7 p.m.