Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Scoop Jardine knows the Syracuse Orange are loaded with an embarrassment of riches entering his senior season.
The Orange return everyone from last year’s roster except for big man Rick Jackson, who signed to play in France.
Syracuse will boast three double-digit returning scorers in Kris Joseph (14.3 ppg), Jardine (12.5) and Brandon Triche (11.1).
Syracuse went 27-8 last season, 12-6 in the Big East, before losing to Marquette in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Big things will be expected of the Orange this season, and Jardine believes his team is capable of matching those expectations.
“Definitely,” Jardine told SNY.tv from Colorado Springs, Colo., where he’s training with the USA World University Games team. “This is now my third year. Every year I think we can make a run but this year we really got all the tools to do it so we’re going to try to do it.”
In addition to Jardine and Triche in the backcourt, it appears that rising sophomore Dion Waiters will return to the team after some offseason speculation that he and head coach Jim Boeheim would part ways.
The Orange also bring in another loaded freshmen class that includes guards Michael Carter-Williams, the leading scorer at the 2010 Peach Jam, shooter Trevor Cooney and big man Rakeem Christmas.
“I like all of them,” Jardine said. “I like all the freshman. They all give us something different. They all got great attitudes and they’re going to come in and help our team right away.”
For Syracuse to really take the next step, their big men need to continue to develop and help dominate defensively in the zone, while also posing a threat offensively so that the guards can get open looks.
7-foot center Fab Melo came on at the end of his freshman season after a disappointing start for the preseason Big East Rookie of the Year (2.3 ppg, 1.9 rpg). 6-8 C.J. Fair (6.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg) and 6-10 Baye Moussa Keita (2.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg) and also need to continue to develop.
As for Jardine, he’s had a busy summer competing at the Chris Paul, Deron Williams and LeBron James Nike Skills Academies prior to coming to Colorado.
“It’s great,” he said. “All the camps that I’ve been to this summer, playing against the top guys all summer. That’s great, competing. And being here, competing against all the top guys at all the top things.
“My main thing is just to continue to work on my game, continue to get better every day. And I’m having a busy summer where it’s allowing me to get better every day.”
**Big East guards competing for time with Team USA
(Photo courtesy Syracuse Post-Standard)
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.