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Grading the Syracuse Orange: Dion Waiters

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").

Dion Waiters*

Height: 6’4"
Year: Sophomore
Position: Guard
Number: 3
MPG: 24
PPG: 12.3
RPG: 2.3
APG: 2.6

Passing Grades:

The Big East Conference’s 6th Man of the Year, Dion Waiters was talked about as much for starting games on the bench as he was for ending them on the floor. You could say he’s the anti-Rakeem Christmas in that respect. Waiters was the ultimate momentum guy for the Orange. He was at his best in the open floor, and when the team was active and pushing the tempo it often resulted in Waiters finishing with a dunk and a pose for the bananas Carrier Dome faithful. He was the perfect player to have at the top of the oft-discussed 2-3 zone, where his strong hands and quick feet would help him lead the team in steals (1.8 per game) and get him out in front on many fast breaks.

Dion Waiters (via srhatch)

Needs Work:

For all of his explosiveness and offensive prowess, Dion would occasionally fall in love with the long range shot and forget that his bread was buttered by attacking the basket. As a 36% three point shooter this season, that might not have been the best thing for the Orange offense. When he was hot, he was nearly unstoppable. When he was cold, the ball stopped moving and the offense stalled out. His free throw percentage also declined from 81% to 73% on 70 more attempts from year to year.

Summer School:

We already know that Dion has declared his intention to enter the NBA Draft and sign with an agent. Once he does that he won’t be able to withdraw from the draft and his SU career will officially be over. I foresee him as a consummate ‘tweener’ NBA guard, too small to consistently play the 2 yet not enough of a playmaker to run the point full-time. However, you could also say that he is bigger and stronger than most NBA point guards and quicker than most SGs. If he works on his jump shot and ballhandling he could have a long and lucrative career as a third guard, along the lines of Minnesota’s J.J. Barea or Dallas’ Jason Terry.

Final Grade: B+

Jeremy Ryan is a writer/editor for in Syracuse. Follow him on Twitter @JeremyRyan44.

*Stats from