We've all been wondering about Trevor Cooney these past 12 months. From the three-point shooting demi-god he was at the start of the 2013-14 campaign, to the player who struggled mightily from January through the early parts of this season, it was getting harder and harder to believe his shooting stroke would return. You read the articles, you've seen the tweets -- you've seen the articles about the tweets. But it just seemed to us like the junior guard was running in place. Ends up we weren't the only ones:
"I felt like I was running up and down and standing and kind of just going through the motions. I don't want to play like that. I don't want to be that player. And this team needs me to be more," he said. "When I am more, when I'm aggressive, good things happen. I know that. And that's what I'm trying to do every single game."
That's Cooney following the Colgate win, when explaining what triggered his recent uptick in production to Syracuse.com. The game he's referring to there is the St. John's defeat -- a two-point effort from Cooney and one he'd like to both push into the back of his mind and use as fuel going forward. As he reiterated several times in the locker room: "I never want to play like that again."
If that's what does it for Trevor, then more power to him. For the past calendar year, it's been hard to pinpoint what happened to the once-confident shooter. We may never really know how it all came undone, but it appears we're witnessing how it all comes back together. Since the St. John's game, he's shot 44.4 (!!!!) percent from the floor and 50 percent (11 of 22) from three. He's taken 12 shots from the foul line, isn't scared to drive the lane and finish at the rim, and is active on defense. You see a different player out there. Maybe not the same one that lit the world on fire in fall of 2013. But a player whose improvement is helping Syracuse out when they need it most. As you're well aware, SU's already lost four non-conference games, and have a long road ahead if they hope to make it back to the NCAA Tournament.
This isn't a proclamation about Cooney being "back," necessarily. And it shouldn't be. He's a controversial player in recent Syracuse lore, but it's a familiar controversy at that. We've seen this exact story with Syracuse guards before. Now he just needs that signature ending; the one where he carries the Orange on his back to an improbable accomplishment. That's not to apply unnecessary pressure here. Just pointing out how this script can play out to give us (and him) a fitting tale of redemption.