With Syracuse losing freshman point guard Tyler Ennis to the NBA Draft, the Orange are left with plenty of questions about their backcourt entering the 2014-15 season.
Sophomore shooting guard Trevor Cooney returns to the starting lineup and Syracuse added four-star point guard Kaleb Joseph to the equation, but after those two, depth becomes a huge concern for the Orange, much like it was last season.
Head coach Jim Boeheim can’t expect a true freshman like Joseph to match the incredible season that Ennis just had, so Syracuse has to hope that freshman guard Ron Patterson continues to develop over the summer as he heads into his sophomore season.
Patterson recently worked with his former grassroots coach, Chris Hawkins, as the coach spoke with Mike McAllister of CuseNation.com to break down the plan for Patterson’s summer improvement.
One of the critical areas of improvement for Patterson will be shooting more consistently from the perimeter. The freshman only shot 31 percent from three-point range last season.
”The first day, we really just focused on shooting,” Hawkins said to McAllister. “Working on his mechanics and coming off of screens. Things like double baseline screens where when he comes off of it, we try to get his footwork right. Going straight up on his jumper, just trying to get his mechanics right.
”Anything we can do to make sure he’s shooting consistently.”
Since Joseph doesn’t have much help at the point, the duo also worked on Patterson’s handle as the guard plans to spend the summer on campus working as well.
”We also worked on ball handling,” Hawkins said to McAllister. “Some cone drills to help him come off of screens. Working on tightening up his handle so he can work in small spaces, so he can push through double teams and things like that. Coming off the screen to be able to isolate him one on one so he can take guys off the dribble.
”Working on different angles that coach McNamara likes to do with him during one on one workouts. Just getting him a lower handle and a solid base. Being able to push off and be more explosive in smaller spaces. Being able to take one or two dribbles and get to the rim. We’re trying to make sure he’s ready to play so he can be a big time player for them next year.”
More than anything, it’s interesting to hear that Patterson is working on playing both guard spots to potentially spell Cooney or Joseph. Syracuse could really use a third guard to give Cooney more rest so his shot doesn’t become more flat like it did at the end of last season and Joseph is a true freshman and it’s uncertain how he’ll adapt to the ACC.