Syracuse’s recruiting class received a lot of attention during the summer. Fans were excited to see Tyus Battle, Taureen Thompson and Matthew Moyer, all four-star recruits, bolster a roster full of talent returning from last year’s Final Four run.
In the end though, the Orange landed a much more accomplished contributor. Senior forward Andrew White announced in late August that he was headed to Syracuse to play his final year of eligibility.
White’s fit with SU was on display as Syracuse routed LeMoyne in its final exhibition game on Tuesday night 97-64. White led all scorers with 24 points, hit 6 of 10 3-pointers and finished 8 for 12 from the field.
“John [Gillon] and Frank [Howard] did a good job getting me the ball,” White said.
This is a huge turn around from last week when White finished the game with just 8 points on 2 for 9 shooting.
“I watched the Warriors game the other night, Steph Curry went 0-10 from the 3-point line. It broke a 150-plus game streak of him hitting a three,” White said. “Then I watched him hitting 13 threes to break the record. It’s all about that mindset as a shooter.”
Similar to Curry’s, White’s collegiate career has not been typical by any means. Following two underwhelming years at Kansas where he failed to win much playing time under Kansas Head Coach Bill Self, White sat out a year to make the switch to Nebraska.
He played his senior season with the Cornhuskers, leading the team in scoring with 16.6 points per game. He also racked up 5.9 boards per game while shooting 48 percent from the field and 41 percent from beyond the arc.
It was not an accident either that he ended up at Syracuse.
“We lost three guys who could really shoot last year. We went into the summer knowing we needed some shooting,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said.
It’s not an exact fit, but White definitely reminds fans of Michael Gbinije. Both measure 6-foot-7, handle the ball well and can stretch the court with their shooting ability. White will play more of the wing position that Gbinije was supposed to fill before he was forced into the point guard role.
Sophomore guard Frank Howard knows that White will not be placed in the same position as Gbinjie.
“I’ll have the ball. My job will be to get him a shot,” Howard said.
He also seemed fond of his new backcourt mate’s shooting ability.
“You pass it to him and it’s an assist,” Howard said, adding that White was great as a catch-and-shoot player.
The potential for offense is apparent, but there’s still room for improvement.
“He’s learning our defense,” Boeheim said. “He made some errors that he can correct.”
With the exhibition games all wrapped up, the Orange can turn its attention to the regular season. And White is ready for the chance to play some meaningful games.
“It all starts Friday,” he said.