With the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team season nearing, let’s continue the honors of breaking down the roster for the 2022-2023 campaign. We’ve already covered Joe Girard III, Jesse Edwards, Chris Bunch, and Justin Taylor.
Now, it’s time to move on to one of the Orange’s newest and most promising youngsters on the roster: Judah Mintz.
Mintz committed to the team back in mid-April, spearheading a 2022 recruitment class featuring six total new freshmen. Without a doubt, Mintz headlines what is considered one of the most promising Syracuse men’s basketball recruitment classes in recent memory, ranking 22nd overall.
In 2021-2022, Mintz suited up for Oak Hill Academy (VA), which finished 31-9 and ranked eighth in ESPN’s High School Top 25. In his final season of high school, Mintz flashed breakout scoring performances while excelling on the defensive end of the floor.
If everything pans out, Mintz could be the missing player with the upside the Orange have been desperately looking for. The floor is already solid, but the ceiling could be great.
Vitals: 6-foot-3, 172 lbs.
Statistics (2021-2022, Oak Hill Academy in Virginia): 15.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.1 steals per game, 53% FG, 81% free throw, and 46% 3FG.
Strengths/Weaknesses: Although he’s beginning his tenure with the ‘Cuse as a rookie, Mintz has all the potential in the world to be, at worst, a ready-now player with a solid role off the bench. Even head coach Jim Boeheim had high praise for what Mintz brings to the table.
“He’s as explosive a point guard as we’ve had here in a long time. He’s like Johnny Flynn, but he’s much bigger,” coach Boeheim said.
Johnny Flynn? Now that’s a popular name we haven’t heard in a long time. So what does coach Boeheim see in Mintz that we have yet to see on the court?
For starters, the athleticism is off the charts for Mintz. In high school, Mintz flashed his ability in transition, get to the rim, and finish through contact. An underrated part of his athletic abilities is that his jump shot looks smooth (when he’s willing to take them). Considering his speed and size at guard, coach Boeheim is right: it’s been a long time since the Orange have rostered a lengthy, athletic, and versatile point guard on the court.
The athletic pop Mintz brings translates on both ends of the court. On offense, the Orange really missed an efficient slasher at the guard position who can still hold his own as a playmaker. Girard is more of a spot-up, perimeter guard. Buddy Boeheim played mainly off the ball or in the mid-to-high post. Symir Torrence flashed potential as a cutter and post-up scorer, but on limited volume. Mintz brings an element to the team that the ‘Cuse really couldn’t go to last year.
Defensively, Mintz flashed excellent skills on the ball, especially against elite perimeter players. The obvious concerns for Mintz’s defense center on if Mintz can take strides as an off-the-ball and help defender. I’m also interested to see how Mintz fits within Coach Boeheim’s 2-3 zone scheme, which relies heavily on athletic guards who know where to be on the court at precise moments.
The biggest x-factor for Mintz is the outside shot. In high school, he did shoot 46% from three but on limited volume (just 39 attempts in 31 games). The ACC is known to be loaded with athletic shot blockers, paint protectors, and lengthy defenders. Will defenders dare him to fire away from behind the arc? Can Mintz build off the confidence that he did in high school? Those are questions that will remain unanswered, for now.
Ceiling: Personally, I’m really high on Mintz to make an immediate impact and likely start for the Orange. Torrence would be an excellent veteran to bring off the bench but provide veteran minutes if Mintz struggles out of the gate. But given Mintz’s two-way potential, there’s a legitimate case Mintz could be a critical player if Syracuse is looking to make it back to the NCAA promised land.
You have to understand Mintz’s career within the context of his high school competition. he played against elite competition all of last season, facing off against the best of the best. He will enter this season having been in big-stake moments, entering games with a sense of confidence and effort that the Orange could really use.
At his best, Mintz thrives on both ends of the court and lives up to coach Boeheim’s Johnny Flynn comparison.
Floor: In a worst-case scenario, Mintz needs an extra year to get his legs under him, but still provides quality third-guard minutes off of the Orange’s bench. The jump shot doesn’t become consistent yet, while the defense remains promising but still needs improvement.
He’s got the talent, frame, size, and personality to be an immediate contributor to the team.
Expect the spotlight on Mintz to shine brighter and brighter as we approach the season.