Cooney on the Verge of Elite Company

With just a few more steals, Trevor Cooney will join an elite group of Syracuse greats.

Syracuse senior guard Trevor Cooney is set to play what is likely his final game inside the Carrier Dome on Saturday on senior night. His career has been debated amongst Syracuse fans. Some love him and believe he is underappreciated. Others believe his career has been a bust. 

Generally, there is no in between when it comes to Cooney. 

But he is on the verge of doing something only eight other players in Syracuse history have done. With eight more steals, he will achieve over 1,300 points, 200 assists and 200 steals during his career. This was first pointed out by Steve Infanti and Sal Maneen on ESPN Syracuse's Orange Nation radio show. 

Infanti and Maneen did the research and found the other members of the 1,300, 200, 200 club, and it is quite a list. It includes Jason Hart, Gerry McNamara, Pearl Washington, Sherman Douglas, Adrian Autry, Billy Owens, Lawrence Moten and Dale Shackleford. That is some big time company in Syracuse basketball history. 

Now does that mean that Trevor Cooney is one of the best ever to play at Syracuse? One of the best guards that the program has ever produced? No. That is taking it too far. 

What it does mean, however, is that Cooney has had a productive career and given everything he has to the program.

The frustration with Cooney stems from inconsistency. The 25 point, sharp shooting effort one night followed by a 1-10 type of night the next time out. Some of that can be explained with a simple basketball explanation. 

Cooney has been the primary outside shooter throughout most of his career. In fact, there were large portions of his career when he was the only outside shooting threat the Orange had. That has forced him to take more three-pointers than either he or the coaching staff would like in a perfect world including more contested shots. 

It means Cooney has attracted the attention of opposing defenses game in and game out. That includes double teams, chipping, trapping, etc. He was on teams that were a step down from the previous Orange squads, leading to angst within the fan base as well as forcing him into a role that he was not perhaps best suited. 

Because Syracuse has lacked multiple capable scorers as they have had in years past, Cooney has been forced into a primary scorer, star type of role. If Cooney is the third option instead of first or second as he has been for the majority of his career, perhaps things are a bit different.

Regardless, Cooney currently sits third in Syracuse history in three-pointers made with a chance to jump up to number two on the list. He is a career 34% three-point shooter. Not great, but certainly not bad. He will also finish in the top 10 in career steals, a fine accomplishment for a player who's strong defense at the top of the zone is not appreciated enough. 

Cooney should be remembered as a good player. A solid player. Someone who left everything he had on the court each and every game. So on Saturday when the seniors are honored with Cooney among them, here's hoping he receives a proper ovation. 

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