Over the course of the summer, Syracuse Orange men’s basketball forward Robert Braswell focused on adding weight to his slender frame. Braswell, an athletic 6-foot-9 sophomore, worked on his quickness and attacking off the dribble on top of adding size to compete in the ACC.
“I put on 10 pounds,” Braswell told TNIAAM.
“I really worked on my weight, trying to get bigger. I worked on my speed and I also worked on getting to the basket more with coach Autry.”
Braswell enters his second year at Syracuse looking to contribute more than he did as a freshman. He feels as though he can rebound and shoot it at a high enough level to earn minutes, and admits he can find his teammates well, too.
While he classified his freshman season as a learning experience, Braswell played well in limited action. He shot 8-for-12 from the floor in 55 minutes of game time in 2018-19. He pulled down 10 rebounds, dished five assists and grabbed six steals, half of those coming in one game at NC State. Braswell thinks he’s capable of doing more in 2019-20, saying, “I feel like I’ve learned a lot so I can contribute.”
Still, he finds himself in the midst of a logjam at forward. Elijah Hughes and Quincy Guerrier figure to earn the lion’s share of minutes on the wing. Add Marek Dolezaj to the mix and that doesn’t leave much playing time for Braswell. Should Dolezaj play at center though, that might allow Braswell to get some run.
When asked whether Braswell could get some burn at forward if Dolezaj plays center, assistant coach Adrian Autry said it’s possible. But that might depend on how healthy Bourama Sidibe is, how well the freshmen centers play and how deep Jim Boeheim is willing to go.
“I think it does,” Adrian Autry said. “If we’re playing Marek at the five then we’re getting deep into some rotations.”
Minutes are up for grabs behind Sidibe as Jesse Edwards and John Bol Ajak look to make an impact in their first year. If either freshman center is ready, that could mean more time for Dolezaj on the wing.
If nothing else, Syracuse fans will assuredly be loud in their pleas for the two-time high-jump champion in the state of South Carolina to see court time. Braswell, whose parlance strikes as more unassuming than that of a BMOC, has become something of a fan favorite in Syracuse. He admits he’s unaware of this celebrity, and unfamiliar with the nicknames Syracuse fans have given him.
He is, however, very familiar with the nicknames his teammates (read: Elijah Hughes) have given him.
“They call me Earl now,” Braswell divulged. “They found out my middle name so that’s what they’ve been calling me for like the whole summer.”