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Howard Washington providing steady minutes during Syracuse’s win streak

His statistics don’t tell the whole story.

Boston College v Syracuse Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

As the Syracuse Orange seem to be finding a rhythm, one of the keys has been the bench minutes provided by Howard Washington since January 1. The redshirt sophomore is only averaging 1.7 points per game on the season, but he’s been able to make an impact in his time on the floor.

How does a player provide a lift when they’ve only contributed four points, four rebounds, seven assists and four steals over a five-game stretch? Well there’s something to be said about Washington’s steady presence at the top of the zone, and his ability to keep the ball moving on offense. There’s also the plus/minus numbers which show how Syracuse has fared in his minutes.

Howard Washington’s Impact since January 1st

Opponent 1st Half 2nd Half Game
Opponent 1st Half 2nd Half Game
Notre Dame 10 0 10
Virginia Tech DNP DNP DNP
Virginia 3 0 3
Boston College 21 1 22
Virginia Tech 15 -1 14
Total 49 0 48

Another benefit of Washington’s effectiveness is that it allows Joe Girard some rest. With teams applying more pressure to the freshman it helps the Orange when they aren’t asking him to go the full game. In the last five games Girard is shooting 22 for 49 from the field and 14 of 31 from three which is better than his season averages. Girard’s assist numbers have declined during this stretch but if he’s able to be more efficient shooting the Syracuse offense will continue to be effective.

An area of concern with Washington seeing more second-half minutes is that he has to be able to knock down some shots. Virginia Tech dared him to beat them on Saturday and with Washington only 2 for 10 from three this year, future Orange opponents will certainly be follwing the same strategy. Even with the shooting numbers it’s hard to argue that a player who has a plus/minus like this isn’t helping the Orange while he’s on the floor.

One thing that is for sure is that Howard Washington has earned his minutes and his play should allow Jim Boeheim to feel comfortable turning to him down the stretch.