He's averaging 16.3 ppg, compared to 13.3 ppg last season, but his assist numbers are down, his steals are down, his shooting percentage is lower, and his turnovers are up. He was struggling, as was Syracuse. The player and the team both struggled until one shot which may have turned everything around."
The 6-foot-2 guard, who drained six three-pointers in the first half of the national championship game against Kansas last season, began the season with high expectations and seemed poised to deliver. In the opener against UNC-Charlotte,McNamara was on fire as he scored a career-high 34 points on 11-of-19 shooting, including 8-for-14 from behind the three-point arc. Even though the Orangemen lost, the questions surrounding McNamara and the anticipation of life after Carmelo Anthony appeared to be answered."
Not so fast. Without Anthony, McNamara would soon learn that getting open for looks at the basket wouldn't come easy. Later on in the season, it would become even more difficult when Billy Edelin would leave the team for personal reasons, forcing McNamara to take care of the ball-handling duties as well as the role of the primary shooter, while logging 38 to 40 minutes per game."
The truth for Syracuse fans came quickly, as the pride of Scranton, Pennsylvania followed up his career-high with just seven points on 1-of-9 shooting against Rhode Island. Unfortunately for McNamara and the Orangemen, it was a sign of things to come."
For a while, things seemed to smooth out, with the Orangemen garnering a 13-1 record midway through the season. Back-to-back road victories at Missouri and Notre Dame had the Orangemen looking like a threat, possibly ready to recreate some of the magic of last year's championship season."
As one would soon find out, those were some lofty expectations."
Over the next eight games, the Orangemen mustered up a 3-5 record, losing badly to Pittsburgh, UConn, Providence, Seton Hall, and Notre Dame, while beating only the bottom of the BIG EAST, Virginia Tech, Rutgers and Miami."
During that stretch, McNamara began shooting blanks. His field goal numbers began to read like Hakim Warrick's rebounding lines; 2-10, 3-11, 2-17, 3-12, etc."
The Orangemen were losing and McNamara became the scapegoat."
"They're shots I can make," a disheartened McNamara would say following each game."
He began saying it time and time again, until finally it seemed to take hold of him."
"They're shots I can make," McNamara said after the Notre Dame loss. "But if I keep missing them I won't be able to use that excuse any more.""
More on this article can be found in this month's issue of The Juice.
The Magic of McNamara
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