The Syracuse men’s basketball team may have crushed Pace in a landslide victory of 99-63 last night, but everyone’s eyes were fixed on freshmen DaJuan Coleman and Jerami Grant as they made their debut for the Orange. Fans anxiously awaited the outcome of their premier performance, and the two newest members of the squad did not disappoint.
Coleman started the game at wing along with C.J. Fair, Rakeem Christmas, Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche. He played well defensively during the opening minutes of the first half, making his first monster block a mere two minutes into the game.
Offensively, Coleman remained quiet until around the 12-minute mark, where he muscled his way through the paint for a contested layup. He quickly followed this play with a defensive rebound and another layup down the court.
When asked about his performance, Coleman remarked that, “Going out there, I know my bread and butter is down low.” “I just wanted to go out there and play my game, and let the game come to me,” he added.
In the second half, Coleman grabbed five rebounds and added four points to the board. His solid presence underneath the basket was coupled with an ability to hustle and get down the court—a trait seldom found in players of his stature. Coleman also went a perfect 5-5 from the free throw line, which is a number that famous big men like Shaquille O’Neal would envy.
Overall, Coleman looked like a very promising center for the Orange, finishing the game with 11 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
Much like Coleman, Grant also had a bit of a slow offensive start to the game. He subbed in for C.J. Fair as the small forward with 14:33 left to go in the first half. He showed off his incredible defensive length from the get-go with a block immediately followed by a rebound in his first few minutes of play.
Throughout the game, Grant posted six points, four of which came from slam-dunks. He also recorded an impressive seven rebounds, a number which is sure to grow as the season progresses.
Grant definitely had a defensive mindset going into the game. “I just wanted to come to the game, rebound, defend and get my teammates the ball as much as I can,” he explained. “I think I rebounded the ball well, especially weak-side rebounds.”
The freshman also demonstrated his passing abilities with two assists, including a smooth no-look pass to Fair in the corner for an easy three. He finished the game with seven rebounds, six points, one block and one steal.
While both players need to work more on their outside shooting, their toughest critic—Jim Boeheim—seemed satisfied with their inaugural performance.
“I thought Jerami was good; he was active, he works hard…he’s a good rebounder.” he said. Boeheim also thought Coleman did a nice job, stating that, “He is a very, very good defensive center in there.”
If Coleman and Grant continue to build off of their already solid sets of skills, fans should look forward to what is in store for them the rest of the season.