The Syracuse Orange men's basketball team enters this season without three players that could connect from behind the arc. With Dion Waiters, Scoop Jardine, and Kris Joseph gone, the Orange move forward with sharp-shooter Trevor Cooney.
As a redshirt last season, he did not play a game on the court, but that was not a detriment to his game, according to Cooney.
"It was a big help for me," Cooney expressed. "I think a lot of freshmen are kinda thrown into things they can't really handle. But for me, I was able to just step back and look at my game and look at the team and look at my body. As an athlete, I was able to take time and build on all of that."
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim stated that despite Cooney being redshirted, he did not take his out of practice throughout last season.
"It was big for me because when we were playing the Connecticut's and stuff like that, I was the guards, I was the [Jeremy] Lamb's," Cooney shared. "So I mean that helped me to also learn what the other teams are doing on offense. And then I was able to not only get myself better but to get my team better for the next game, so I definitely felt like I was doing something last year."
Coupled with the experience he got playing with his teammates as well as learning other team's schemes, he will also be in the backcourt with two players he respects in Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams.
"Triche is a great leader," Cooney stated. "He's a guy who just leads by example. I mean he's a guy who comes out and just works hard every day. And if you have a guy like that on your team, you wanna go out and work hard every day, so he's a great guy and a great guy to follow."
"Mike is also a great leader," Cooney continued. "I think Mike leads by more of talking and he's also a guy who works really hard, and he's a guy who's just gonna control the offense. And they're both gonna control the offense and get us going, but those guys are two great guys."
Without having experience on the court in actual gameplay as Triche and Williams, where his strengths will be is still an unknown. What is known is that Cooney has an outside shot, and he has spent his time at Syracuse improving his body to be ready for the expectations of the college game.
"[I'm] just getting faster and stronger," Cooney expressed. "Just being able to jump higher. I mean, the college game's so fast and strong, so the last year, I was able to kinda look at that and look at ways to get my shot off, to get stronger, to get faster. Now only faster, but also have great legs to be in shape.
"I mean I know I'm not gonna be out there all the time, but I mean I might be on the bench for a little bit, get tired, but have your legs to come in to make that next shot…it's what's gonna make a difference."
With Cooney being a threat from deep, he believes his abilities will open up opportunities not only for himself, but for his teammates.
"I think it's gonna be big," Cooney stated. "I mean if I can come out and make shots, it's just gonna open up things for other people. So if I mean come down, if I hit a three, then the next time I come down two guys might cover me.
"Next thing you know Rakeem [Christmas] or DaJuan [Coleman]'s wide open for a dunk down low. So if I'm able to come in and make shots, it's gonna create other things for my teammates."
Cooney and his teammates take the court Friday, November 9th, to play atop an aircraft carrier on the USS Midway off the coast of California against San Diego State.