Adding A Spark

Syracuse is currently without capable sharp-shooter James Southerland. Now more than ever, Cooney's positive contributions on the court are needed. He speaks with inside.

Trevor Cooney, a redshirt-sophomore guard for Syracuse Orange men's basketball, has had a roller-coaster-type season thus far.

Some games, he has gone scoreless, while in others has helped give life to the offense.

Some threes have connected with nothing but air, while others have caressed the net.

But, now that the Orange are without senior forward James Southerland for an undisclosed amount of time, it is even more imperative for every player to contribute, including Cooney.

His current focus is on "just coming out playing hard and being a spark for the team."

Southerland has had his moments from distance, providing just what Syracuse needed to win games, such as his performance versus Arkansas, where he made nine of 13 three-point attempts.

When asked if he feels Southerland's absence means he personally has to step up from beyond the arc, Cooney responded, "Without a doubt. I mean if I can come in and help us shooting wise, I mean something that James [Southerland] brought to us, I think that'll help us out a lot."

In three games without Southerland, Cooney has made four of his 11 attempts from long range. Though not a strong number percentage-wise, his threes have come at times when needed to sustain leads as well as give Syracuse a spark to turn the tide.

But even on a challenging night from the field, Cooney has worked to give the Orange something positive to build off of. In 12 of Syracuse's 19 games, Cooney has recorded at least one steal. He has 23 steals to a mere nine turnovers through 19 games.

As far as where he wants to improve on defense, Cooney stated, "Just staying active. That's all you can do in a 2-3 [zone], [at the] top of it. You can just be active and get out to shooters." Cooney getting out to get a hand in front of opponents' shooters has become even more of a necessity as many of their foes have taken to the three-point shot as their formula for defeating the 2-3 zone.

While Cooney continues to grow, both offensively and defensively, he has looked to his fellow guards in the backcourt, sophomore Michael Carter-Williams and senior Brandon Triche. "Just think positive," Cooney shared in referencing what he has learned from them. "I mean, that's what both of those guys did. And if you're positive, in the right mindset, you're gonna make those plays, so that's all you can do."

Cooney has already begun to make those plays that help to sway momentum back in favor of the Orange. Describing the feeling of achieving those moments, Cooney said, "It's great. I mean just come out and just play hard and [to] make plays is good enough, but to see [a] shot go in makes you that much better."

Through trial and error, Cooney continues to state that head coach Jim Boeheim is still behind him. "Oh, without a doubt," Cooney remarked. "I mean, there's several things I need to work on. Getting out to shooters and being better in 2-3, but it'll come."

His overall numbers may not adequately show it, but Cooney is hustling on the court in order to create opportunities for both himself and his teammates, as he works to keep turn himself from a spark to a consistent light for the Orange.

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