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Freshman guard Brycen Goodine brings versatility to Syracuse basketball backcourt

Brycen Goodine can do a little bit of everything on the basketball court. He’ll push for minutes right away in his freshman campaign.

Photo by Bobby Manning

When freshman guard Brycen Goodine takes the floor for Syracuse basketball this season, he’ll bring a versatile skillset to a relatively young and inexperienced backcourt. Goodine, an athletic 6-foot-3 guard, figures to be a natural fit atop Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone and he can mix it up on the other side of the ball, too.

He’s a jack-of-all-trades type of player who can do a little bit of everything.

“That’s how I would describe my game, pretty versatile,” Goodine said at media day. “I feel like I could play the one, two or three.”

While Goodine is unlikely to see playing time at the wing in 2019-20, a medley of skills will allow him to play at either guard spot. The Orange recruited him as a point guard, but he could just as easily slide over to the two-guard spot in spurts alongside Jalen Carey should the game situation call for it.

“We have five guards and three or four of them can play the point,” Jim Boeheim said. “We’ll see how it goes. It’s a work in progress. We have a lot of young guys back there so we’ll try to figure out who’s going to play and how they’re going to play.”

Offensively, Goodine has a tight handle and he’s quick with the ball. He can get to the second level and hit the mid-range or get to the rim and finish over the top of the defense. He’s a willing passer, too, and he’s a better shooter from three than what he’s been given credit for.

Photo by Bobby Manning

In the Orange vs. White scrimmage earlier this month, Goodine took home the honors in the three-point contest by knocking down 12-15 from range. He’s even surprised some of his teammates with his ability to shoot the rock.

“Brycen Goodine can really shoot,” Buddy Boeheim said. “He really surprised me with how good of a shooter he is.”

If that holds true and Goodine shoots it well from the perimeter this season, he’ll have no obvious weakness to his game. While he might not be exceptionally skilled in any one given category, a balanced game can help round out a backcourt where Boeheim and Joe Girard are elite shooters and Carey is strong in the pick-and-roll and off the bounce.

Should Goodine play mostly at the point, he’ll follow in the footsteps of erstwhile Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams. Well before Goodine made his commitment to Syracuse, St. Andrew’s School in Rhode Island had already sent two players to SU. Demetris Nichols played for Boeheim in the mid-2000s while MCW played point guard for two seasons at Syracuse, bringing the Orange to 2013 Final Four.

Goodine divulged that his mom is good friends with Carter-Williams’s mom and that he’s competed against MCW’s younger brother, Marcus Zegarowski, who currently plays at Creighton.

Still, Goodine says that none of this influenced his decision to attend SU. He grew up watching Syracuse basketball with his grandmother and thought the program would be a good fit for him.

“The system of how we play really fits my game and also fits my play style too. I’m a tall guard at the top of the zone,” Goodine said. “It makes it easier to play (defense).”

In preparation for the season ahead, Goodine began the early portion of his summer working out in Miami. He later enrolled at Syracuse during the summer session and put in groundwork for a team trip to Italy in August. During that stretch, Goodine added some weight to his frame, particularly to his lower body, which will help him handle the rigors of the 2019-20 season.

“Since the beginning of the summer I’ve put on 10 to 15 pounds. I probably put on 10 before (Italy), and five after,” Goodine divulged.

In Italy, he had a solid showing as the first guard off the bench and admits that he played more minutes than he thought he would. In his first game in Italy, he stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. In the second contest, he dropped 9 points, grabbed 5 boards and dished out 3 assists.

That’s the kind of impact that a versatile Goodine could have from the guard spot at Syracuse.

For Syracuse basketball stories and updates, follow James and Nunes on twitter @JamesSzuba and @NunesMagician