Think about this for a second. For the seventh time in eight seasons, Syracuse will have a new starting point guard. It’s hard to imagine any program having success with that much turnover (pun definitely intended) at that position. All Syracuse managed to do was go on two Final Four trips, an Elite Eight and Sweet 16 in that timeframe.
So how in the world has Syracuse had seven new point guards since 2010? Let’s dive in.
In the 2009-2010 season Brandon Triche slid into the starting point guard role as a freshman. Triche put up respectable numbers his freshman year as he averaged 8.1 points and 2.8 assists per game and shot 50 percent from the floor. That Syracuse team earned a no. 1 seed and fell to Butler in the Sweet 16.
The ensuing season Scoop Jardine — at that time a redshirt junior — moved into the starting point guard position while Triche slid to the two guard in the wake of Andy Rautins’ graduation. Scoop had a solid junior campaign averaging 12.1 points per game and having an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2:1. The 2010-2011 team lost to Marquette in the round of 32 as Scoop was called for a backcourt violation in the game’s final minute which proved to be costly as Darius Johnson-Odom connected on a three in the next possession.
In the 2011-2012 season Scoop started at point guard for his second year in a row. The 2012 team that made it to the Elite Eight and fell to an Ohio State team that proved to be too tough inside for Syracuse without its starting center. We won’t mention names.
The 2012-2013 team started then sophomore Michael Carter-Williams at the one. Seldom used as a freshman, Carter-Williams made the most of his second season by averaging 11.9 points, 7.3 assists and 2.7 steals per game before heading to the NBA. He played a big role in Syracuse getting to the Final Four in (somewhat) surprise fashion.
There was a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the 2013-2014 team’s backcourt situation, particularly at the point guard position. The only true point guard on the roster was Tyler Ennis, an unproven player at the college level. Ennis outperformed everybody’s expectations and averaged 12.9 points, 5.5 assists, and 2.1 steals per game while leading Syracuse into unchartered ACC waters. The team got off to the best starting in school history at 25!-0, but a late season slide resulted in an early round of 32 exit against Dayton in the NCAA Tournament.
The 2014-2015 season became tricky as Ennis departed for the NBA after just one season which left freshman Kaleb Joseph to run the offense. Joseph averaged a paltry 5.9 points and 3.8 assists per game and was often criticized for his defense. Although he didn’t perform awful, he was subject to a great deal of vitriol and eventually sat the final game of the season in favor of Michael Gbinije. The season ended at NC State as the team endured a self-imposed post season ban.
Last season was one for the books and one of the most volatile years for Syracuse in recent memory. Michael Gbinije became the full-time starting point guard and averaged 17.5 points, 4.3 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Gbinije led Syracuse to the Final Four as the Orange squeaked into the tournament and became the first no. 10 seed in history to make it to college basketball’s final weekend.
Regardless of who Jim Boeheim decides to start in the 2016-2017 campaign, Syracuse will have a new face for the seventh time in eight seasons. Should John Gillon get the nod at one, the trend will continue into 2017-2018. Otherwise Franklin Howard will likely be the starting point guard for the remainder of his time at Syracuse. All things considered, not many programs around the country can weather the kind of storm that involves starting a new point guard year in and year out.