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Howard Washington sees meaningful minutes against Florida State

The frosh took advantage of his minutes Saturday.

Virginia Tech v Syracuse Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

Howard Washington was averaging only two minutes per game in ACC play. In those minutes, the only positive stat he posted was a steal against Virginia.

It’s incredibly difficult to find rhythm when you’re only playing spot minutes. You’re coming into the game somewhat cold, not into the flow of the game and sometimes battling nerves when everyone else is settled in.

Whether he was battling those things or not, Washington didn’t look bashful when he checked into the game Saturday. He responded by immediately knocking down a three off a pass from Frank Howard.

“I’ve been shooting it well lately in practice and staying a lot, shooting a lot of shots after practice, stuff like that,” He said following the game at Florida State. “But I mean I feel like it’s not much of a difference today I just got the open opportunities and knocked shots down. And I feel like every time I get an open opportunity I’m going to let it go and knock it down.”

Trying to stay ready at all times when you’re not playing integral minutes is extremely challenging for anyone but especially for a freshman. You have to work on your game industriously to stay ready and keep your confidence high. Injuries can happen, foul trouble can occur and you never know when your number will be called.

But on Saturday, Howie answered the bell. He got his chance in the first half and knocked down the three shown above, he’d get a steal within the zone and earn a trip to the charity stripe on the other end. On the next play when Florida State closed out hard after he had just hit a three, he made the correct read and drove by off the bounce and found Oshae Brissett for a three.

“I mean I feel like for everybody it would be difficult, yeah, but I know my time’s coming,” Washington said of his playing time after Syracuse’s win against UConn. “I’m staying with the process, staying patient so it’s (playing time) going to increase throughout the year.”

On Saturday his time came. He had already played a fine first half but with less than four minutes to go, Frank Howard fouled out and Washington would have to play in crunch time. He did that as Syracuse navigated its way through regulation and into two overtimes.

His night would finish with 9 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in 24 minutes. He doesn’t have to produce at that level every night, but even if his purpose is to come in and play good defense and to run the offense to get Tyus Battle and Frank a blow, that would be a huge lift. Frank and Tyus are among the league leaders in minutes played, the latter played all 50 minutes in Saturday’s contest.

Jim Boeheim will always prefer a short rotation, but right now Syracuse could really use Howie as Frank and Tyus are logging a plethora of arduous ACC minutes.