Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician is putting a bow on the 2011-12 Syracuse Orange basketball season by recapping how each scholarship player performed and looking forward to what lies ahead in 2012-13. In honor of their status as student-athletes (insert Fab Melo joke here) we will score each player’s performance on an A-F scale, and offer some suggestions on what they can work on in the offseason (a.k.a. "summer school").
Baye Keita is everything you could ask for in a backup center. He is a hustle and energy player who is competent as an anchor for the 2-3 zone, and a fair rebounder and shot-blocker given his limited role this season. If you go into each game knowing you’ll get maximum effort from Baye for 10-15 minutes off the bench each night, then you probably aren’t in bad shape.
I hate it when the negatives outweigh the positives in these reports. I really do. It’s hard to forget that these guys are just college kids, and I don’t enjoy picking them apart as if they were professionals. But, this is an SU sports blog, so here goes.
If Keita is your starting center then you’re probably in trouble as a national championship contender. Unlike his pivot partner Fab Melo, he seemed to regress from his freshman to sophomore seasons - when most players make their greatest leap. At a listed 215 pounds, Baye has difficulty matching up with physical post players, which was obvious in SU’s losses to Notre Dame and Ohio State this season. His lack of size means he can easily be pushed around, and has to resort to fouling when his man once he has been beaten to the goal. In fact, he committed approximately one foul for every six minutes of playing time this season. He has poor hands, and fumbles away many rebounding and scoring chances around the rim. That’s a shame, because he shot 71% from the floor in the limited offensive opportunities he did receive.
Keita needs to live in the weight room, gym, and cafeteria this offseason. Perhaps some of his limited offensive repertoire comes from the fact that he probably hasn’t played as much ball as others his age, so repetition is key. If anything, banging bodies with 280(ish) pound DaJuan Coleman in pickup games and workouts over the summer should toughen him up rather quickly.
Final Grade: C-