clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Syracuse men’s basketball: comparing Judah Mintz’s freshman year to former Orange point guards

Let’s see how the Orange’s young guard stacks up.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Before the 2022-2023 season began for the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team, freshman Judah Mintz flashed all the promise needed to be a key contributor for the program.

Despite some bumps along the way, he certainly lived up to that mark. Ending this season on the fringes of the All-ACC team conversation, Mintz demonstrated his two-way capabilities from start to finish, becoming more productive over the course of the Orange’s 2022-2023 campaign.

This past season, Mintz averaged 16.3 points per game, 2.3 rebounds per game, 4.6 assists per game, and 1.8 steals per game in 32 total games. Once conference play began, Mintz saw an increase in minutes played, points, field goal percentage, and three-point percentage as he became more comfortable as an offensive creator.

Mintz’s improvement over the course of the season were especially notable with his outside jumper. From three, Mintz ended the year shooting 11/21 in his last nine games, showing his potential as an off-the-ball player. The growth in confidence and success rate from the jump shot opened up opportunities for his already-potent strength as a straight-line driver, finisher around the rim, and two-point shot creator.

Even without factoring his nearly two steals per game in 2022-2023, one could also make the case for Mintz’s standout year as a defender. Especially in the last few months of the season, his effort substantially increased. The 2-3 zone under former coach Jim Boeheim arguably undermined Mintz’s potential as a one-on-one defender. Even then, Mintz had his fair share of transition opportunities, leading to memorable highlights like this one earlier in the season against Illinois:

And if you look across program history dating back to the eighties, Mintz’s rookie season numbers are eerily similar to a lot of familiar guard faces from the team’s past:

Judah Mintz’s freshman year versus previous guards in program history

Player Points per game Rebounds per game Assists per game Steals per game Field goal % Three-point goal %
Player Points per game Rebounds per game Assists per game Steals per game Field goal % Three-point goal %
Pearl Washington (1983-1984) 14.4 2.6 6.2 2.4 54% (10.6 attempts per game) N/A
Sherman Douglas (1985-1986) 5.4 1.2 2.1 1.2 61% (3.4 attempts per game) N/A
Adrian Autry (1990-1991) 9.7 4.1 4 1.5 37% (8.5 attempts per game) 32% (2.6 attempts per game)
Jonny Flynn (2007-2008) 15.7 2.7 5.3 1.5 46% (11.9 attempts per game) 35% (4.6 attempts per game)
Tyler Ennis (2013-2014) 12.9 3.4 5.5 2.1 41% (10.6 attempts per game) 35% (2.5 attempts per game)
Judah Mintz (2022-2023) 16.3 2.3 4.6 1.8 44% (12.8 attempts per game) 30% (2.1 attempts per game)

(Writer’s note: Boeheim compared Mintz to Flynn during the Orange’s tip-off press conference in the preseason. I made a slightly-similar comparison around the same time, but wow, do Flynn’s numbers jump out across the screen for a rookie guard season.)

Based on the data from their first-year seasons, Mintz performed like a more-athletic Tyler Ennis. While Ennis was a slightly better outside shooter, each finished with similar volume, Mintz made up for his jump shot limitations with the athletic pop and crafty finishing, while Ennis and Mintz both compare pretty similarly as mid-range shooters, playmakers, and perimeter defenders.

Mintz’s future with the Orange remains a mystery following his decision on March 20 to declare for the 2023 NBA Draft, looking to become Syracuse’s first guard drafted to the NBA since Ennis was selected 18th overall in 2014 (for context, Malachi Richardson and Elijah Hughes both classify as forwards, per RealGM). The latest mock draft from The Athletic on March 28, Mintz projects to be selected with the 40th pick in this year’s draft by the Toronto Raptors.

Mintz faces a precarious situation over whether to return to the Orange for his sophomore season to play under new head coach Adrian Autry. Showing that he can play man defense and that his late-season shooting wasn’t an aberration can certainly boost his draft stock for 2024. After all, former Syracuse perimeter players like Flynn, Dion Waiters, and Michael Carter-Williams experienced immense growth in their sophomore campaigns.

Then again, there are some factors to consider for Mintz.

Shouldn’t he just capitalize on his NBA aspirations now and avoid an extra season worth of miles in college? Given his athleticism and aggressive rim attacking nature, what if he suffers an injury of some kind? How much would his stock really improve? This season, an NBA rookie can still make a minimum of around $950,000, get some quality reps in the G-League, and spend some time developing in a professional context.

Mintz’s defensive intensity, athleticism, and combo-guard instincts make him an intriguing prospect. Should be stand out more as an individual defender and improve his scoring versatility, there could be a bright future for him.


What did you think of Mintz’s freshman season, and where do you think his career goes from here? Leave your thoughts down below in the comment section.