Syracuse Basketball Preview: 3-point Shooting

CuseNation.com breaks down Syracuse's outside shooting entering the 2014-15 season

When asked at SU’s media day what he could do to improve the team’s three-point shooting consistency Syracuse’ Hall of Fame coach didn’t have a too convincing answer for reporters. “That’s a good question…Well recruiting better shooters would be the best way, but you can’t always do that.” Jim Boeheim said.

The Orange, who struggled heavily shooting the three last season, especially down the stretch, will have sharpshooter Trevor Cooney to lead them again this season, but after him the options wither dramatically.

Cooney did tie an SU record with 90 three-pointers last year and finished the season shooting 37% from beyond the arc, but he was also a huge part of the late season collapse for the Orange. The New Hampshire native shot just 29% from three thru the teams last 22 games before it’s quick ouster in the ACC and NCAA Tournament’s.

With a plethora of guards expected to see increased action in 2014-15 the team’s shooting prowess will again play an integral part of it’s success.

Junior Michael Gbinije who may benefit most from the departure of last years guards shot well from beyond the arc in a limited sample size last season(15-43, 35%).

Sophomore Ron Patterson will also see an increase in minutes at the guard position. The Indiana native only averaged 5.4 minutes a game last season and connected on 6-19 threes from beyond the arc.

In terms of freshmen Kaleb Joseph and Chris McCullough could play a vital role in the Orange’s shooting success in 2014-15.

Joseph, a scout.com 4-star recruit has taken criticism for the depth of his shooting, but improving that has been his main focus since he arrived on campus.

“It was one of the knocks on him coming in,” Assistant coach Gerry McNamara said. “From what I understood his range was limited. What he did this summer was improve it and really, really extend it.”

There is no way of knowing how Joseph will acclimate to college basketball until games begin, but if his work ethic is any indication than the transition shouldn’t be that difficult.

“He’s worked hard on his game and his jump shots come a long way,” McNamara said. “Early on in practice so far he’s shot it at a high level when he’s got the opportunity.”

The last piece to the puzzle and possibly the indicator as to how deep of a run the Orange can make this season is Bronx, NY native Chris McCullough.

The talented freshman can do it all. From a 7-foot-2 inch wingspan to an outside game anyone his size would kill for McCullough’s future is as bright as he wants to make it.

His outside game could be an asset to an already lacking SU shooting game. He has the ability to bring defenders outside of the paint and cause matchup problems for other teams. But, like Coach Boehelm said there’s just no way of knowing at this point.

“We are just going to have to wait and see what happens,” Boeheim said. “How well they’ll[Joseph and McCullough] adjust to games is the next question, and I don't have the answer.”

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