Each day leading up to Orange Madness we will be releasing our player previews for the 2016-2017 Syracuse basketball season. Today’s player preview: John Gillon.
The biggest unknown of the 2016-2017 Syracuse Orange basketball team is the point guard position. Sure, Franklin Howard played well in his limited time last season. He showed a lot of promise with his ability to penetrate and find open teammates, but how will he adjust to having a bigger role in his sophomore campaign?
Little is known of fifth-year graduate transfer John Gillon. His numbers were solid at Colorado State, but is he good enough to play point guard in the best basketball conference in the country?
Rest assured, the uncertainty surrounding the point guard position will be a thing of the past come December. Gillon is a steady point with elite quickness and an underrated jumpshot. Should he have to stayed at CSU for his final year, he could have been an all-Mountain West first team candidate. Gillon is also unabashed in speaking to the media and has noted that winning a national championship is the goal for this year.
What’s more, he has a high basketball IQ and is automatic from the free-throw line — Syracuse hasn’t had a free throw shooter of Gillon’s caliber since Gerry McNamara. That’s not to compare Gillon to McNamara as their playing styles are completely different. Free throw shooting is small beer but it is a nice cherry on top of the cake.
Gillon also led CSU in steals last season — his quickness should be effective in the zone coming off weak side rotations from the trap. Gillon did have a mediocre assist to turnover ratio last season of 1.68 but he was the second option on offense after losing Gian Clavell for the season with a broken hand bone. The assist to turnover benchmark for any point guard is 2.0 and with the talent Gillon has around him at the off-guard and forward positions, that number will rise at Syracuse. The challenge for him will be to limit unforced errors and errant passes. He should be a great change of pace point guard with the ability to speed up or slow the game down at will. Gillon should be the first option to break the press and to close out competitive games down the stretch. See his highlights from CSU below.