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Syracuse men’s basketball preseason player profiles: Marek Dolezaj

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How good do you think Slovakian pizza tastes?

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

We continue our basketball player profiles as part of our preseason content. We’ve already taken a look at Buddy Boeheim, Joe Girard, Kadary Richmond, Jesse Edwards, and Robert Braswell. Take a look at those profiles if you haven’t already.

Well, at least we have Syracuse Orange basketball to look forward for as the Orange host Bryant on Friday. With that, it’s time to chug along with our player profiles, and today I take a look at everyone’s favorite Slovakian, Marek Dolezaj.

The senior forward found himself in the regular starting rotation last season and showed some flashes of offensive explosiveness throughout the season. His hustle and hard style of play has earned him many fans and admirers during his Orange career. As always, Dolezaj looks to put on more weight from season to season, and it seems that he’s finally cracked the 200-pound plateau.

With the new eligibility rules confirmed due to the coronavirus, the possibility still remains that this may not be the last season we see Dolezaj suit up in the Carrier Dome. No matter what happens at season’s end, you can almost guarantee that the Slovakian will be fun to watch as he dives for balls on the hardwood.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Forward

Class: Senior

Vitals: 6-foot-10, 201 lbs.

Stats: 2019-20: 10.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. Impressively, Girard only missed 10 free throws the entire season. Was third on the team in assists and shot just under 75% from the FT line.

Strengthens/Weaknesses: As I mentioned above, you cannot questions Dolezaj’s hustle. He’ll fight for every rebound and dive for every loose ball. You can count on Dolezaj to battle for every single possession and ensure that Syracuse has the ball no matter what. Something that also garnered a lot of attention was the forward’s connection with Elijah Hughes on offense. His passing was on display as Dolezaj found Hughes on multiple back-door cuts throughout the season for easy scores.

There were times where Dolezaj showcased some good jumpers and decent penetration, but his scoring contributions have been inconsistent. He’ll also need to stay out of foul trouble, as he often needs to exit the game due to those issues. Hopefully the increased weight is accurate as he needs a bit more strength to assert his dominance underneath the glass on both sides of the ball.

Ceiling: Dolezaj’s scoring becomes consistent as he reaches double-digits easily. He continues to showcase his court vision with his passing as well to set up easy scoring opportunities.

The increased weight also helps the senior to crash the boards for easy tip-ins on offense and secured boards on defense. His hustle also earns Syracuse key possessions that turn the tide and momentum in any game.

Floor: The fouls continue to haunt Dolezaj as he’s forced to sit to stay out of foul trouble. Despite the increased weight, he still cannot overcome some of the bigger forwards and centers to crash the glass. His scoring contributions are also wildly inconsistent as he can’t be relied on to put points on the stat sheet. Turnovers also become a big issue as Dolezaj was second-worst on the team with 62 turnovers.