2018-19 Syracuse basketball report card

Bourama Sidibe
Syracuse center Bourama Sidibe (34) pulls down a rebound against Colgate. Mandatory Photo Credit: Initra Marilyn, The Juice Online.

Syracuse basketball’s season a week ago. Pencils are down, and the grades are in. Let’s see how the team did:

Tyus Battle: For the second straight season, Battle led the Orange in scoring (17.2 ppg) while being overall more efficient with his shooting (43.1 percent). But Battle also saw a drop in his 3-point percentage, which dipped each year from his freshman campaign (from 36.6 percent down to 32.1 percent). We wonder what may have happened if Battle had a healthy Frank Howard to work with to get him better looks, because Howard’s ineffectiveness forced him into being the primary ball handler. Grade: B+

Buddy Boeheim: After starting the season ice cold, Boeheim ended up shooting 40.7 percent from downtown in ACC play. It’s rare for players touted as great shooters to come in right away and contribute, but Boeheim defied those expectations to average 7.6 points per game in conference. Grade: B+

Oshae Brissett: Brissett took a step back in his sophomore campaign with his outside shooting. This year, he shot 27 percent from 3 compared with 33.1 percent as a freshman. He did offset that with improved shooting inside the 3-point line (44.1 percent). If Brissett gets back to high energy rebounding and improves on his finishing around the basket, he can vault himself back into NBA Draft consideration. Grade: B

Jalen Carey: Carey appeared in only 25 of 34 games, falling out of the rotation once ACC play started. And it’s easy to see why: His turnover rate was 34.1 percent, by far the worst on the team. He showed flashes of why he was a top 50 recruit, with a lightning fast first step and an aggressive style in the 2-3 zone not seen since Dion Waiters. But he needs to sure up his dribble if he wants to become a big-time player in the ACC. Grade: C+

» Related: Syracuse basketball 2018-2019: A statistical retrospective

Paschal Chukwu: Chukwu in particular was maddeningly inconsistent this season. In SU’s upset win over Duke in January, Chukwu went off for 10 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks. Against that same Duke team in the ACC Quarterfinals, Chukwu fouled out in seven minutes of play and only two points. It would’ve been nice to see him develop an offensive dimension to his game, but that simply never materialized. Grade: C+

Marek Dolezaj: Dolezaj ended the season as SU’s most efficient offensive player, with a true shooting percentage of 61.9 percent. By way of reference, that’s 5.5 percent better than Elijah Hughes’ and nearly 8 percent better than Tyus Battle. He needs to put on more bulk to stay in games longer, and he needs to be more offensively aggressive in his junior year. Grade: B+

Elijah Hughes: In his first season with the Orange since transferring over from ECU, Hughes turned into SU’s second leading scorer at 13.7 ppg to go with 4.3 rpg. He also shot a team best 36.9 percent from downtown. If Hughes tightens up his dribble and learns to get inside, he will become the team’s go-to scorer. Grade: A-

Frank Howard: After averaging 14.4 points and 4.7 assists in his junior year, Howard had one of the most disappointing senior campaigns in recent history. Howard finished with averages of 8.9 points and 2.9 assists per game after getting hurt prior to the season. He also was involved in a tripping controversy with Zion Williamson in the ACC Tournament and was suspended for a violation of team rules for the NCAA Tournament. Grade: C-

Bourama Sidibe: Of all of the graded players, Sidibe regressed the most. Dolezaj should really only be looked at as an emergency center, but he played more minutes there as a result of Sidibe becoming an ineffective player on both sides of the court. With Chukwu gone, the door is open for Sidibe to play 20+ minutes a game. The question is whether he’s a player that’s capable of playing that much time. Grade: D

Howard Washington/Robert Braswell: Washington played three games, Braswell played 12. I hope both become productive players next season. Grade: INC.

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About Wes Cheng 2907 Articles
Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also been a contributing writer for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), for SportsNet New York (SNY) as a news desk writer covering all of New York professional sports, and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005 with a degree in journalism. Contact him at wes[at]sujuiceonline.com.