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Jim Boeheim sees Frank Howard’s progress as key to Syracuse improvement

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As the Hall of Fame coach stated on Tuesday, though, this team still has “a lot of work to do.”

NCAA Basketball: Northeastern at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team may have won each of the last two games (and four straight overall), but the offense still leaves quite a bit to be desired. Jim Boeheim addressed the media after Tuesday’s latest victory over Northeastern. To him, the biggest key to getting better is Frank Howard.

“We’re a long ways away for multiple reasons, but mainly because the point guard has missed so much time. If Frank was where we know he can be, we’d be a whole different team. This game would never have been close. None of these games would’ve been close. He made every shot this summer. He was phenomenal right up until he got hurt. We’ve got to overcome that.’’

It’s easy to see how Frank’s absence impacted Syracuse in the early games — including the two losses at Madison Square Garden — but it’s tougher to quantify his current status since we’re not exactly sure how far along he is right now in his recovery. The senior point guard had his best game so far against Ohio State last week, scoring eight points while hitting two three-pointers. But in the other contests, he’s just 3-for-17 from the floor.

So far, most of Syracuse’s games have featured just two capable scoring options, and then a questionable supporting cast along with them. If Frank could emerge as a third option more often than not, it would help the Orange better withstand the instances where shots weren’t falling for at least one of Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett or Elijah Hughes.

Frank’s presence has been enormous already on the defensive end, and we’ve seen his passing improve ball movement a ton. Now we (and Boeheim) wait for his shot to come along too.

That, plus the rest of your Syracuse-related links below:

Jim Boeheim after Syracuse’s win over Northeastern: ‘We’ve got a lot of work to do’ (Syracuse.com)

Howard missed all three of his 3-point attempts, dropping him to 4-for-21 from beyond the arc on the season. “Frank can’t get his legs going,’’ Boeheim said. “His legs die and he can’t get his jump shot out there. He’s running the team, moving the ball and getting the ball to people, but he is not back fully shooting the ball. That’s something we’ve got to keep working on.’’

Syracuse football’s Dino Babers shares AP ACC Coach of the Year honor (Syracuse.com)

Syracuse football coach Dino Babers shared the Associated Press ACC Coach of the Year honor with Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, it was announced Tuesday. Babers guided SU to a 9-3 season, its highest win total in 17 years, and a berth in the Camping World Bowl against West Virginia.

A son’s wish: Mike Hopkins is at Washington to feel, be closer to his ailing father (The Athletic)

If you want to know why he is the Huskies’ basketball coach, when everyone believed he might be someone else somewhere else, 3815 NE 46th St. is a good a place to start. It’s the place Hopkins was moving toward even when he didn’t fully realize it, the place that would give him everything he needed. This place allows a son to show his father everything he’s ever wanted to show him before his father’s mind steals it all away.

Turnovers haven’t hurt Syracuse yet, but they may soon (Daily Orange)

Syracuse (7-2) has had consistent turnover problems in wins, in losses, blowouts and close games. A manifestation of the Orange’s fast-paced play, they’ve turned the ball over 20-plus times in four different games this season and set a season-high of 24 twice. But none have had an effect on SU’s play this season.

Elijah Hughes bounces back with versatile offense in SU’s win over Northeastern (Daily Orange)

Aggressiveness was Hughes’ main focus heading into the Northeastern matchup, something SU head coach Jim Boeheim told the forward he lacked on Saturday night. “He was more aggressive,” Boeheim said. “He got to the basket, got up the court.” The second half began eerily similar to the first, with Hughes’ nailing a three on the Orange’s first possession. This time it was from the corner.

3-star RB Michel Dukes visiting Syracuse football with program ‘on the rise’ (Syracuse.com)

Syracuse football recruiting: 3-star South Carolina DL Cooper Dawson set to visit (Syracuse.com)

Newcomers have created a formidable line for Syracuse (Daily Orange)

Maryland hires Alabama offensive coordinator Mike Locksley as head coach (NBCSports)

How it happened: Scott Satterfield ends up with Louisville football (Lousville Courier Journal)