If you’re still basking in Syracuse’s basketball season, here’s one more column for you looking back at this year. Pencils are down, and the grades are in. Let’s see how the team did:
Michael Gbinije: In his fifth year, Gbinije became the alpha dog of Syracuse, and may have played his way into the NBA Draft (currently projected as high as an early second round draft pick). Gbinije led the team in scoring (17.5 ppg), assists (4.3), and steals (1.9). What more could you have asked for? Grade: A.
Frank Howard: Howard’s stats (1.6 ppg, 1.8 apg) weren’t particularly gaudy, but he emerged at the end of the year as a serviceable backup to Gbinije once Kaleb Joseph fell out of the rotation. Howard will certainly need to work on his shot (28.6 percent from the field) in the offseason, but he’s got some of the best court vision Syracuse has seen in years. Grade: B.
Trevor Cooney: Imagine a world in which Syracuse doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament and Cooney doesn’t get to become the first Syracuse player in history to play in two separate Final Fours? His grade would be significantly lower. But that wasn’t what happened. To be sure, Cooney slumped majorly at the end of the season, but once he was told to stop settling for outside shots and to take things inside, his production improved. His 22 points against North Carolina in the National Semifinal kept it from being a rout. Grade: B+.
Kaleb Joseph: Joseph’s situation reminds me a lot of what happened to Josh Wright. Both players came into Syracuse has highly touted freshmen, and both struggled to find their places at SU. In the 17 games Joseph appeared in this year, he looked rattled, but here’s hoping he can resurrect his career at Creighton. Grade: INC.
Tyler Lydon: He is now the author of the second most famous block in Syracuse history. Lydon came in off the radar, but he’ll likely be at the top of every opposing team’s scouting report next year. Despite slumping in the middle of the season, he led the team in 3-point shooting at 40.5 percent. Once he develops a more consistent inside game, his legend will only grow. Better yet, this fall, he should be able to slide back to his more natural wing position. Grade: A-.
Dajuan Coleman: First of all, it’s just great to see that Coleman was able to stay healthy enough throughout the entire season after two years away from the game. Still, he isn’t a particularly good finisher near the basket, nor does he protect the rim well on defense. But perhaps with another healthy offseason and senior year, that will change. Grade: C+.
Tyler Roberson: Syracuse got the “plugged in” version of Roberson in the NCAA Tournament, with the forward snagging at least eight through five games. When he puts in the effort, he looks like an NBA prospect. When he doesn’t, well, Jim Boeheim notices. Grade: B+.
Malachi Richardson: If Richardson’s 3-googles against Virginia to advance to the Final Four is the lasting image of his time at Syracuse, that’s a pretty good legacy to leave. He was second on the team in scoring at 13.4 points per game, though you would like to see his field goal percentage (36.9) a little higher. If he does return, he’ll likely be looked at as the alpha dog for the 2016-17 team. Grade: A-.
Chinonso Obokoh: Best of luck to Obokoh, as he will join Joseph in transferring out of Syracuse. Obokoh appeared in just 156 minutes in his entire SU career. Grade: INC.