Who will lead Syracuse basketball in scoring in 2020-21?

Guerrier Duke
Feb. 1, 2020; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange forward Quincy Guerrier (1) celebrates a play against the Duke Blue Devils during a 97-88 loss. Mandatory Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

Syracuse will return four of its five starters in the 2020-21 season, but the one starter who has left, Elijah Hughes, was SU’s leading scorer at 19.0 ppg. Now that Hughes is gone, who is set to take over as Syracuse’s top gun?

Alan Griffin: Griffin would be the most logical choice to take over as Syracuse’s leading scorer. He possesses a similar skill set to the now departed Elijah Hughes, and per minute, was as effective. In just 18.4 minutes per game with Illinois, Griffin scored 8.9 points on 48.5 percent shooting from the field and 41.9 percent from downtown, and added 4.5 rebounds.

He was expected to have immediate eligibility after the NCAA was considering waiving the one year redshirt requirement for transfers, but in May, the NCAA decided to punt until the 2021 season. Griffin put in for a hardship waiver, which given COVID-19, would make geographical sense since he’s from nearby Ossining. But there’s no guarantee that the waiver will be granted. If not, that puts Syracuse’s scoring situation in more flux.

Buddy Boeheim: Boeheim took a big leap forward in his sophomore season, raising his scoring average from 6.8 points as a freshman to 15.3 points in his second year. He also shot 37.0 percent from downtown, establishing himself as one of the ACC’s top marksmen. Boeheim was the team’s second leading scorer, and with Hughes gone and Griffin’s status in limbo, he might step into the leading role. Of note, Boeheim diversified his scoring skill set. As a freshman, he took 70.3 percent of his shots from beyond the arc, but as a sophomore, that was down to 60.4 percent.

Joseph Girard III: New York State’s all-time leading scorer in high school was trust into the starting point guard role early in the season, and responded with a solid freshman campaign, finishing third on the team in scoring at 12.4 ppg. With a full season of experience under his belt, Girard is poised to take a similar step forward that Boeheim did from his first to second years. He’ll need to improve on the 35.0 percent he shot in the field to do so. If Griffin is required to sit out a year, Girard could challenge Boeheim as the team’s top scorer.

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Marek Dolezaj: Dolezaj was the team’s fourth leading scorer at 10.4 points per game, which was up from the 4.1 ppg he averaged as a sophomore. Still, Dolezaj could become a leading scorer if he regains his outside shooting touch (his 3-point percentage dipped from 37.9% as a sophomore to 14.3% as a junior). Part of that was because of an injury to his hand that robbed him of a summer of working on his shot. Perhaps as senior, he’ll also be more aggressive as a scorer. He’s shot above 50 percent from the field in each of his three seasons on The Hill.

Quincy Guerrier: In 20.3 minutes per game, Guerrier scored 6.9 ppg. He’s the logical person to fill in as a starter for Hughes if Griffin is unavailable, and it’s not unreasonable to think he could be a leading man as a sophomore. During a four game stretch in February, he was in double-digits for each of those games. It’s not unreasonable to think that the sample size can be drawn out over a season.

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Wes Cheng
About Wes Cheng 2597 Articles
Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) 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. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.