To the casual observer, it might be difficult to discern between Syracuse’s Canadian forward from the past two seasons and the other in the season ahead. But assistant head coach Adrian Autry certainly knows, perhaps better than anyone, the difference between Oshae Brissett and Quincy Guerrier.
“I think Oshae is a little more bouncier. I think Oshae is a quicker.” Autry begins as he compares Brissett’s game to Guerrier’s. “I think Quincy is a powerful, strong athlete and I think Quincy has always been a scorer. That’s what he kind of does, where Oshae did a lot of different things. He was becoming a scorer (at Syracuse).”
Brissett, of course, departed from Syracuse after last season to pursue the NBA. He’s currently signed with the Toronto Raptors. With Brissett out of the fold, Jim Boeheim has managed to replace one Canadian forward with another, as freshman Guerrier prepares to fill the void on the wing.
In doing so, Guerrier, a 6-foot-7 wing out of Thetford Mines, Quebec, continues the lineage of Canadian basketball players at Syracuse. Leo Rautins was one of the first prominent Canadian players to attend Syracuse, but the Orange have benefited, particularly in recent years, from the boon in talent in the Great White North.
Andy Rautins was a local kid, but he held dual citizenship with the U.S. and Canada. Tyler Ennis made waves in his lone season at Syracuse in 2013-14 before becoming a first round pick. Brissett came onto the scene in 2017-18 and is now with the aforementioned Raptors. Kris Joseph became a star in orange from 2008 through 2012 and worked his way into becoming a second round pick by the Boston Celtics.
“We’re always looking for players that can help us and we’ve had success in both Toronto and Montreal in the past with players like Kris Joseph and a number of others,” Jim Boeheim said at media day. “That area is only four or five hours away from us so we’re going to always be mindful of the players in those areas and if they can help us.”
When Joseph began his playing career at Syracuse, Guerrier was just a boy, but the two of them have spent in the gym together, working on their game. Joseph gave Guerrier some advice on what to expect at SU, too,
“When I committed, I committed on TV on a channel in Montreal and he sent me a video,” Guerrier said of Joseph. “I used to work out with him too. Last summer I worked out twice with him. So yeah, he was talking to me and giving me some advice for this year.”
Joseph and Guerrier hail from Quebec — both of them speak Quebec French and English. Guerrier admits that speaking English on a day-to-day basis is challenging, noting that it’s not something he did back home. He did take an English class in high school though and tells a funny anecdote of having to translate for his Canadian teammates when in France.
“I played for team Canada three years ago and we went to France,” Guerrier says. “I had no choice (but) to translate for everyone because I was the only one on my team speaking French.”
Most of those players on Team Canada represent an influx of talent that has infiltrated the U.S. to compete in the college and professional ranks. Currently, Canada has the largest representation of international talent in the NBA.
Guerrier has competed with some of the top guys from his home country, including RJ Barrett, Simi Shittu, Iggy Brazdeikis and of course, Brissett. If he feels any pressure to be one of the next Canadians in the NBA, Guerrier doesn’t show it. He talks like a guy that’s sure of himself and focused on the season ahead.
“I know there’s a lot of high expectations for me this year. There’s no pressure. I think if I’m just working hard and do what I need to do I’ll be fine,” He finished.