Here’s What Each Syracuse Basketball Player Needs To Be Focusing On

The off-season is the time to hit the weight room, address your flaws and try and attempt to stay in game-shape. While that’s all done with the help of a strength and conditioning coach, it’s usually up to the player to get in the gym and work on their game. Teams who have players that properly prepare themselves for the upcoming season typically start the year strong.

Here’s what each Syracuse basketball player needs to work on before the 2012-2013 campaign begins.

SENIORS

Brandon Triche – More than anything physical, you need to change your mentality on the court this year. You’re the man. You’re the senior leader. You have to defer less and be more aggressive. 

James Southerland – Your shooting is your strong point, but to open up more for yourself, you have to show some sort of interior game. Don’t be afraid to mix it up inside. More will be expected of you on the glass, too. Work on your ball-handling. You’ll be much more prolific if you have a one or two dribble pull-up in your repertoire or could get to the rim.  

JUNIORS

C.J Fair – If you want to play more on the wing, extend your range. Be confident in your shot. Above all though, you need to become a better ball-handler with your right hand. If you’re playing on the perimeter more, teams will just force you right. Make sure you have a counter move to that.

Baye Keita – No more stone-hands this year. Prove to your teammates that you can finish the play strong and won’t drop the ball. Watch tape of Rick Jackson. He had great court awareness. He always knew where his teammates were and where to be on the floor. Try and learn from him. 

SOPHOMORES

Michael Gbinije – Welcome to Syracuse. Since you’re new, use the off-season to get acclimated. Ask your teammates questions about the 2-3 zone and be eager to learn. 

Michael Carter-Williams – Alright, man. This is what you came to SU for. It’s your team now. You’re the point guard. This off-season, get shots up. Be a confident deep threat. That will complement your game perfectly. You’re going to get yelled at a lot this year and learn a lot. Get ready. You’re key to ‘Cuse’s success this year.

Trevor Cooney – It’s obvious you can shoot, but you can do so much more than that. You can go to work off the dribble. Don’t be hesitant to do that. Don’t be overly reliant on your shot. Your year as a redshirt will prove you to be ready from the start, so be confident. 

Rakeem Christmas – The jump from freshman to sophomore year is when big men usually progress most. You know what it takes to grind in the paint in the Big East. Be more comfortable with the ball. Don’t move too quickly, let the game come to you. Don’t worry about your perimeter game because your interior touch, length and confidence could allow you to be an NBA pick in the summer. Just focus and expand your interior skill-set.

FRESHMAN

Jerami Grant – Learn from your fellow wings and upperclassmen, C.J. Fair and James Southerland. Master the wing spot of the zone before coach even expects you to. You will be surprised by the speed of the college game. You’ll make mistakes. Be smart and confident enough to overcome them.  

DaJuan Coleman – It would be nice if you could lose some weight before the season starts. Look at how Fab Melo used the transformation of his body to boost himself to the NBA. You can do the same with hard work.

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Danny Connors is a junior Newspaper & Online Journalism major at Syracuse University. He has worked as a beat writer for Syracuse basketball, lacrosse and football previously. Connors was born on Martha's Vineyard but now lives in Yardley, PA. He likes Drexel basketball, USA soccer, and a good filet.