Back in February, I wrote a piece called In Defense Of Trevor Cooney, which tried to do exactly what you think it tried to do. Basically, the bile that was being thrown his way was a mixture of out-of-whack expectations coupled with the poor guy being thrown into a situation most redshirt freshman in his position normally wouldn't be.
In that sense, the final play of the Syracuse-Michigan game was basically a microcosm of his entire season.
So when I read Mike Waters' post-season recap of Cooney's year, I was glad to see that the statistics basically backed this up. If you hate Trevor Cooney, you probably really hated freshman James Southerland, freshman Kris Joseph and freshman Andy Rautins.
Take away Cooney’s horrendous first five games and that 2-for-16 start. For the rest of the season, Cooney went 26-for-89 from beyond the 3-point line. That’s 29.2 percent. It’s still not real good, but compare that figure to the shooting percentages of other former SU players when they were freshmen.
James Southerland went 7-for-24 (29.2 percent) as a freshman. Demetris Nichols was 17-for-72 (23.6 percent) in his first year. Kris Joseph was 7-for-26 (26.9 percent). As a freshman at Iowa State, Wes Johnson made just 32 out of 109 shots from 3-point range – 29.4 percent.
And the great Andy Rautins? Perhaps the purest shooter in SU history? Rautins was 15-for-46 from 3-point range as a freshman or 32.6 percent.
If the careers of both of those guys are any indication, Cooney will get batter. Much better.