If it’s a day that ends in “y”, it’s another chance to talk Syracuse Orange men’s basketball.
With the season rapidly approaching, it’s time to round out our player analysis for the 2022-2023 men’s basketball team. I’ve already discussed two of the Orange’s premier guards: Joe Girard III and Judah Mintz. Let’s take on one more with veteran Symir Torrence.
The numbers aren’t jaw-dropping, but Torrence thrived for Syracuse toward the end of last season. In the first game of the 2022 ACC Tournament against Florida State, Torrence produced 9 points, 9 assists, and 2 steals in a blowout win for Syracuse. Without Buddy Boeheim in the lineup against Duke, Torrence stepped up with a 7-point, 6-rebound, and 11-assist performance in a close loss.
The Marquette transfer excelled in a limited but still productive role off of Syracuse’s bench last season. But heading into his senior year, the real question is where Torrence fits on this iteration of the team.
Vitals: 6-foot-3, 195 lbs.
Statistics (2021-2022): 13.1 minutes, 2.6 points, 1.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.4 steals per game, 42% FG, 50% free throw, and 38% 3FG.
Strengths/Weaknesses: Torrence gets bonus points for entering his fourth season in college basketball. In the NCAA, experience matters for teams looking to make a deep run in March Madness or are fielding a lineup filled with younger players. Torrence fits the bill for both.
This season, the Orange will be fielding a promising but inexperienced roster. Just five players (Torrence, Girard, Jesse Edwards, Benny Williams, and John Bol Ajak) from Syracuse’s 2021-2022 campaign remain on the team for this season. Only Edwards, Girard, and Torrence (by the end of the season) were receiving consistent minutes in Jim Boeheim’s rotation. In a roster lacking stability and someone who knows what to expect, Torrence brings plenty of value on that front.
On the court, Torrence’s playmaking and post-up game really stood out, especially against opponent backups. Ideally, Torrence can come off the bench and play next to some shooters, attack in isolation, and finish at the rim. In a small sample size, Torrence has proved more than capable of bringing value as a backup guard.
Defensively, Torrence is a solid athlete with great hands and decent strength. He’s been a pesky defender on the perimeter and has enough agility to get around screens. Defense isn’t a cause for concern.
But Torrence’s offense is a different story. Both his offensive floor and ceiling are incredibly low.
For his collegiate career, Torrence has been largely inefficient as a scorer across the court. His field goal percentage sits below 38%, although that did improve in Syracuse to nearly 42% last season. From the foul line, Torrence missed half of his 20 free throw attempts and is currently a 61.5% foul line shooter.
The real concern is Torrence’s inability to make opponents pay from three. He attempted eight total three-pointers in all of 2021-2022. He’s a career 25% shooter from behind the line who attempts few threes and makes even fewer. Torrence is averaging under one three-point attempt per game after three years in college.
The ACC is known to have experienced, hard-nosed defenses. Teams will make Torrence pay by going under screens, daring him to either shoot or drive to the basket in congested traffic.
That’s the problem for the Orange. Can Torrence take a leap of any kind? Is he limited to a bench role, or can he put more pressure on defenses? If Syracuse’s rookie guards disappoint, is Torrence ready to step in and bring some stability to the team when needed?
The playmaking, defense, and experience are there. But so too are the offensive woes.
Ceiling: In the absolutely best-case scenario, Torrence thrives in a high-usage bench role, suiting up for 15-20 minutes at night and producing if the Orange need some quality veteran experience. Instead of averaging around three assists per contest, maybe he can get that up to 4-5 assists per game. If Torrence can lock in as a post scorer and improve even slightly from the foul line, maybe he can draw attention more from defenses and be an impact player in Boeheim’s rotation.
Floor: Torrence doesn’t take a leap forward of any kind, but still remains effective in a similar role as last season. When Girard or Mintz isn’t on the court, Torrence can come in and hold the fort and keep the team in games.