Cuse Country

Home Away From Dome for Syracuse Orange Fans

Paul Harris emerging?

Posted by Josh on November 16, 2006

It is clear we were all spoiled by Carmelo’s freshman year. His first game he put up 27 in the Garden against Memphis and everyone knew something ridiculous was brewing.

After Paul Harris’ first weekend in orange, his stats were not eye-popping: 9ppg, 6.7rpg. Tonight’s game was, I think, an important step in Harris’ development. He had his best numbers to date (16pts, 12 rebs) and he made his contributions within the structure of the team’s game plan. He shot 7-10 from the floor — he was in control, taking good shots when appropriate. And it seems his defense and energy helped shake them out of their early doldrums. It was just effective basketball, not a Meloesque, team-on-my-shoulders act — he doesn’t need to play that role on this team. Consequently, his raw stats won’t be as impressive. Judge him not against the impossibly high standards of 2003 but against other highly-rated freshmen who came into a team with established players (i.e. John Wallace, whose freshman year average, on a team including Autry and Moten, was 11ppg).

For another parallel I dip into the toxic sludgewaters of the ACC. Last year, two highly-touted freshmen entered the league — Hansbrough on UNC and McRoberts on Duke. Hansbrough started and scored 19 ppg because UNC had no other options. McRoberts was a bench player, though he played starter’s minutes most of the year, on a team with JJ Redick and Shelden Williams, and averaged 8.6 overall, with steadily bigger contributions as the season progressed. Harris is already a bigger contributor to this team than McRoberts was to Duke at this time last year, and I expect that his results will show the steady improvement — with the occasional Melo-like moment, as well as the occasional clunker (Forthian moment?) — that is the hallmark of nearly every freshman campaign in history.

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