After a home game against the Buffalo Bulls on Dec. 19 and a subsequent positive COVID-19 test within the Buffalo program, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball was put on pause and remains on hiatus for now. As such, that gives us time to look at a variety of topics we otherwise wouldn’t visit at this stage of the season.
It’s still early and conference play is just beginning in earnest, but Syracuse forward Quincy Guerrier is putting together a stellar sophomore season as you might already know. He’s stepped into a starting role with the departure of Elijah Hughes to the NBA. An obvious candidate for the most improved player award in the ACC, Guerrier is having a breakout season and has played himself into all-conference consideration.
Since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference, Syracuse has had at least one player represented on an all-conference team each year. Those names are C.J. Fair (First, 2014), Tyler Ennis (Second, 2014), Rakeem Christmas (First, 2015), Michael Gbinije (Second, 2016), Andrew White (Third, 2017), Tyus Battle (Second, 2018), Battle (Third, 2019), Elijah Hughes (First, 2020). If Guerrier’s play continues, it’d be hard to leave him off the first or second team in 2021.
As for his play, Guerrier currently leads Syracuse in both scoring (18.0 ppg) and rebounding (10.0 rpg), up from 6.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game as a freshman. He leads to the ACC in double-doubles with four in seven games. Trailing him is Pittsburgh’s Justin Champagnie, who will miss six to eight weeks with a knee injury, along with Guerrier’s teammate Alan Griffin with three double-doubles a piece. Guerrier is second in the conference in rebounding and fourth in scoring.
Guerrier is third in field goal percentage too, shooting 66.2% from the floor and 43.8% from three. Guerrier is second in the ACC in effective field goal percentage 70.3% (KenPom), trailing only Notre Dame’s Nate Laszewski. He’s 12th and 13th in offensive and defensive rebounding percentage, respectively. Guerrier also has one Player of the Week honor under his belt.
In the preseason ACC media voting, Garrison Brooks was pegged as Player of the Year, while Sam Hauser, Scottie Barnes, Jalen Johnson, Chris Lykes and Aamir Simms rounded out the First Team. David Johnson, Jose Alvardo, MJ Walker, Kihei Clark and Wendell Moore rounded out the second team.
Brooks, be it due to less playing time or being less effective in his senior year than his junior year (or both), isn’t having an ACC POTY season, albeit still solid. Aamir Simms, Sam Hauser and David Johnson have been good. Jalen Johnson and Chris Lykes have been injured. Scottie Barnes hasn’t necessarily taken the league by storm. Kihei Clark has been good, not great and Wendell Moore might as well be on a milk carton.
On the other hand, players like Carlik Jones, Keve Aluma, Isaiah Wong and Moses Wright have emerged. Perhaps it’s unfair to judge players in a season like this with so many precautions taken and pauses in play, yet voters will still have to cast their votes, so let’s take a look at some of the leaders around the conference with Guerrier pinned at the top:
As we delve into the num... Yes? Okay, what is it?
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Now where was I? That’s right. There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to numbers, but this is a reliable barometer to measure success when it comes to conference team voting.
Guerrier’s numbers stack up, as mentioned, and he looks the part of a top player in the league. There’s still an entire conference slate to play to be sure, but as it stands currently Guerrier has played himself into the All-ACC conversation.
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