Syracuse is set up to fail this year. There really is no other way to put it. I'm not trying to be negative or pessimistic. Scoop is known more so for his boneheaded plays than for his positive contributions. KJo, the guy who is expected to be our crunch time scorer has been an enigma. Admit it, you would check the boxscore after some games last year and see KJo had 22 and be like, "Wow, I can't remember a single significant basket he made all game." It might not be fair and just reflective of the expectations placed on him. He flourished in a bench role in the 2009-2010 season, but last year suggested that he didn't want to be "the guy" for the team. Triche could hit five 3s in one game and then not take a shot the next.
We are LOADED with young talent. No one would deny that. Fair, Waiters, Carter Williams, and Cooney could all start for a fair amount of D1 programs. This is Boeheim's golden era of recruiting and it shows. We've had a top 10 recruiting class the last two years and won the Big East regular season title in 2010. Fab looks like he's in great shape and dropped 14 in tonight's exhibition, and I think Fair and Waiters will show drastic improvement from last year. Christmas, as long as he can stay in shape and not wear down towards the end of the year, will have an impact.
That being said, I don't think a plethora of young talent and veteran leaders NECESSARILY equates to postseason success, but they are definitely correlated. I think the biggest thing for the team will be recapturing the offensive flow the 2009-2010 team had. Last year, the offense stalled for stretches and often when we needed a crucial bucket. That can't happen this year. And obviously our last second shot offense needs to be worked on for reasons that don'y need to be addressed.
But old habits die hard. I don't think its easy to change the way you've played for years and eliminate mental mistakes that plagued the team like Scoop's did. Joseph might have the nicest J on the team and look like he should be dropping 25 a night, but if that's not the player that he wants to be then it won't happen. Triche might be our best deep threat but if he doesn't shoot the ball then it doesn't really matter does it? I'm saying the mental aspects of each player's game are going to be what needs to change the most from last season to this season if we're going to go deep into the tournament.
I'm not trying to say that this team can't be successful, because we clearly have the pieces to be a great team. No one questions the talent that each player has. We're deeper than we've ever been, and we're number 5 in the polls and a co-favorite to win the big east. I just don't know if we can throw around "Final Four" when we have such fundamental problems to address. I don't like the expectations for this squad, and if we're successful it's going to be because one of the younger guys.