Cuse Country

Home Away From Dome for Syracuse Orange Fans

41 free throws

Posted by syracusan on November 12, 2006

Josh Pace, the firstJosh Pace was a great player for us. He was a vital contributor all four years, and played a key role on the championship team. Everyone loved J-Peezy because he quietly filled up the stat sheet, played lock-down defense, and did all the little things. Thus, for most incoming freshman, becoming the next Josh Pace would be a great accomplishment. However, Paul Harris not just any incoming freshman. But after 3 games, Josh Pace is exactly who he’s looking like.

Against Penn, Paul went for 6, 4 and 4, with a block and a steal, and apparently helped shut down their leading scorer who was lighting us up early. Against UTEP he improved to 11, 5, and 2, with 3 steals. He shot poorly from the outside in every game and has missed all his threes so far. He’s been getting to the line a good amount, but not shooting well there either; yet he’s been finding ways to score. All of this is very Pace-ian.

But to me that’s not going to be sufficient. This team doesn’t have enough A-list players for Harris to be the 6th man glue guy. If he comes off the bench all year, this isn’t going to be a Final Four team. He also won’t leave for the NBA after one season, but that’ll be a pyrric victory.

That said, he’s been great so far compared to any average freshman. There are plenty of positive signs and plenty of reasons to be optimistic that improvement will come. And if he’s a natural stat stuffer like Josh Pace, then we can always hope that he takes that role to the next level and turns out like someone more befitting his rep: the ultimate multi-category player, LeBron James.

*****

In other news, the box scores for the last two games looked better. 41 free throw attempts against UTEP was extremely encouraging, as was the rebounding margin. It looked like the offense put a lot of pressure on, and I can see opponents not know who to guard on this team. I haven’t seen any of it live, but it sounded like we got out on the break more than last year while still making things happen in the half court. Josh Wright led the team in minutes again in game 2, but came back down to earth in the final game (6 turnovers and 1 assist in 18 minutes is a good way to lose your stabilizing floor general identity), but Matt Gorman continued to step up his game. For the record, I don’t buy for a minute that it’s Matt Gorman Time this year – lets see him try that shit against Roy Hibbert or Aaron Gray first – but it’s good to know he can be an asset against bad teams.

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