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It’s time for Syracuse to feed Quincy Guerrier

The sophomore has been very good this year. Syracuse should give him the ball more.

NCAA Basketball: Buffalo at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Quincy Guerrier’s 2019-20 season for the Syracuse Orange wasn’t a world-breaking year. He had three double-doubles but the Montreal native only averaged 6.9 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game on 20.3 minutes per game. While Guerrier served as a nice first option off the bench, there didn’t seem to be much that would indicate that he would be a crucial player for Syracuse during the 2020-21 season.

Fast forward to the present day, and the Orange might have lost some of their early season games without the performance of Guerrier. The sophomore is averaging a double-double with 18 points per game and 10 rebounds per game, which leads the team in both categories. Guerrier has scored in double-digits during every game this season and has four double-doubles already.

Perhaps the most impressive part of Guerrier’s improvement is how comfortable he looks around the rim. Whether he’s crashing the boards or looking for a shot, he doesn’t seem fazed by the bodies in front of him. Take a look at the top stat from James here:

Let’s take away the three-point attempts for a moment here. Doing that shows that Guerrier is 38-for-52 inside the arc, or 73.1%. He’s been astonishingly effective and efficient around the rim. Not only is Guerrier taking quality shots, he’s gobbling up offensive rebounds and converting second-chance opportunities. His 21 offensive boards is just another category that he leads over his Syracuse teammates.

It’s remarkable that there’s no reported weight change on Guerrier’s bio on the team’s roster page. He’s bullying his way into the paint and simply out-muscling competition for rebounds. When he doesn’t have the ball, Guerrier is excellent at gaining position underneath the basket or cutting to the rim. Even the three-point shots he’s taking are well-thought as he gets more consistent with the deep ball.

Not only has Guerrier been Syracuse’s most improved player, he’s also been the most important and probably best Orange player on the floor. No other forward can provide the strength that he poses to go toe-to-toe with opposing big men in the lane. It seems like almost every single offensive spark and offensive comeback starts with Guerrier asserting his presence in the game.

With that said, it’s disappointing how few touches Guerrier has received in the offensive end. He ranks third on the team in field goal attempts with 68 behind Alan Griffin and Joe Girard. Buddy Boeheim is just behind Guerrier with 66 and probably would be ahead if the guard didn’t have to sit out for three games due to COVID-19 contact tracing.

All together, Guerrier has attempted 15.4% of Syracuse’s field goals this season, which is shockingly low for a team’s leading scorer. That does come with the caveat that Guerrier does go to the line a lot, with his 42 free throws leading the Orange as well. But in pretty much every Syracuse game this season, Guerrier hasn’t been close to recording the most field goal attempts for the Orange in a game.

From the stats alone, it would seem that it would behoove Syracuse’s players to find a way to get Guerrier the ball. Instead, the guards have settled on putting the ball on the floor and dribbling inside themselves, which has led to offensive dry spells. The fact that Guerrier still leads the team in points and hasn’t received consistent attention from his teammates in a settled half-court situation is both impressive and distressing.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 12 Syracuse at Boston College Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It also goes to support how efficient Guerrier has been at scoring the ball this year. He’s scoring consistently without shooting nearly as much as the guards of Syracuse have been this season. Now it’s time for Syracuse to stop ignoring him and start feeding him consistently throughout each game.