Weekly Record: 2-0
The final two non-conference games for Syracuse Orange went as expected, two relativley easy wins against far lesser opponents. An easy win over the Bobcats of Montana State allowed the starters some rest with no one playing more than 33 minutes in that game. A tighter, tougher game against Texas Southern wasn't what the Orange wanted, but was a good test for the resiliancy of the team.
A real surprise this week, even against smaller opposition was the emergence of the play in the middle. Chinonso Obokoh showed he can get it done with touches around the basket in pouring in a career high 11 points in 12 minutes against the Bobcats. Maybe the biggest bright spot of the week though comes from maligned center DaJuan Coleman who is in the midst of the best stretch of his career with the 'Cuse, making him my star of the week for the Orange.
Stars of the Week
DaJuan Coleman: 27 points, 11 rebounds, 9-10 fgm/a, 9-10 ftm/a, 3 steals, 1 block
Coming back from a serious knee injury is one of the toughest things for a big man to do, and understandably, Coleman has struggled this year after missing a season and a half. This week, against lesser competition, he showed what he was billed as when he was a five-star recruit from nearby Jamesville-Dewitt High School. He will never live up to that billing at this point, but a few more weeks like this would give the Orange the man in the middle they desperatley need with ACC play forthcoming. The most promising stats from his line has to be his shooting, missing only one shot each from the field and the line. If he gets touches at the basket where he can just slam it home or lay it in and get the foul, its going to be hard for teams to stop with his pure strength to make up for his shorter stature compared to other ACC centers.
Trevor Cooney: 26 points, 7 threes, 6 assists, 6 steals, 3 rebounds
A solid week from the senior leader puts Cooney in my top three for the Orange a week after being the lowlight of the week. In a week the Orange shot a combined 29% from beyond the arch, Cooney was the star, burying 7 of the 15 long balls made. He also became more of a distributor, dishing out 5 assists in the win over Montana State. That's not to say he can't take the ball just as easily, starting the fast break on numerous occasions leading to easy buckets thanks to his steals. This is the kind of backcourt production the Orange will have to have from the senior to be successful the rest of the season.
Tyler Lydon: 23 points, 13 rebounds, 6 blocks, 5 assists, 2 steals
We are starting to see the type of production to expect from the freshman after early season superstar numbers in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. Lydon has been forced to battle in the middle and isn't able to slip outside and stretch defenses. Lydon was able to do that a little more this week as he shot 2-7 from downtown. His combination of size and shooting ability will help the Orange a lot, especially against a team like Duke that has a very similar player in Brandon Ingram. With conference play getting ready to start, Lydon needs to continue to grow his inside game in order to help guys like Coleman and Tyler Roberson.
Lowlight of the Week
Malachi Richardson: 17 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 assists 7-19 fgm/a
From one freshman to another, Richardson had a difficult week against teams he probably shouldn't have. Part of that comes from an injury suffered against Texas Southern. But Richardson was struggling before that, connecting on just 3-9 shots against Montana State, missing all four of his three-point attempts. Richardson was considered by many to be the gem of the Orange's recruiting class. Lydon is outshining his classmate at this point, though both are showing a lot of promise.