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IN THE PAINT

su vs north florida d e c . 2 - 3 , 2 0 1 6 | d a i ly o r a n g e . c o m


2 dec. 2-3, 2016

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t h e i n de p e n de n t s t u de n t n e w s pa p e r of s y r a c u s e , n e w yor k

Justin Mattingly

Alexa Diaz MANAGING EDITOR

EDITOR IN CHIEF

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Road less traveled North Florida’s Wajid Aminu has taken a different path than his two professional basketball playing brothers. Page 5

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20 questions Check out our breakdown of everything you need to know about the North Florida Ospreys. Page 11

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On the BLOCK

dec. 2-3, 2016 3

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Dajuan Coleman has one last season to improve on his post offense

Paschal Chukwu has shown offensive flashes but has largely struggled

DAJUAN COLEMAN scores 6.2 points per game, but he has hit 56 percent of his shots this season and grabbed 5.2 rebounds per game in the post. He’s improved as of late, especially against Wisconsin. ally moreo asst. photo editor

PASCHAL CHUKWU (13) had a year to acclimate to SU, but his offense has not quite adjusted. The Orange’s 7-foot-2 center averages 16.3 minutes per game, 4.3 rebounds per game and just 1.3 points per game. ally moreo asst. photo editor

By Matt Schneidman senior staff writer

A

ll Jim Boeheim wanted to see from Dajuan Coleman was “something,” anything that resembled life from the fifth-year senior. Boeheim has reiterated that the five contributing newcomers still need to adapt to the way SU operates, but Coleman doesn’t have that excuse. After the Orange’s 64-50 loss to South Carolina last Saturday, a game in which Coleman scored four points and committed two fouls in 15 minutes, Boeheim was curt about one of his most senior players. “He gave up two easy jump shots right in the lane,” the SU head coach said. “It’s his responsibility. He knows that … nowhere to be found.” While Coleman and the rest of the Syracuse frontcourt have a ways to go on the defensive end, it was the 6-foot-9, 258-pounder who flashed some of the most promising offensive signs in Tuesday’s 77-60 loss to No. 17 Wisconsin, with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Aside from Tyler Lydon, who thrives more on the perimeter, SU lacks a presence down low. Heading into a 4 p.m. matchup on Saturday against North Florida (3-6), No. 22 Syracuse (4-2) has a chance to fix itself on the offensive end down low, just as Coleman has already started to do. “We got the ball to him more than we usually do,” see coleman page 4

DAJUAN, PASCHAL ARE NOT READY TO PLAY AT THIS LEVEL ... WE CAN’T WIN WITH THOSE TWO GUYS RIGHT NOW. Jim Boeheim su head coach

By Paul Schwedelson sports editor

P

aschal Chukwu had a 4-inch height advantage underneath the basket. But instead of going straight up with the ball and laying it in over Wisconsin’s 6-foot-10 Ethan Happ, Chukwu took a dribble and uncorked a pass attempt across the court in the first half Tuesday night. Taurean Thompson had set up in the corner but began cutting toward the top of the key. The ball whizzed out of bounds past where Thompson was moments before. As he walked off the court for a timeout, Thompson glared back at Chukwu. The 7-foot-2 Chukwu has spent the entirety of the season thus far trying to figure it out offensively. It’s the weakest part of Syracuse’s tallest player’s game. But after averaging 15 points in the paint in the past two contests, the No. 22 Orange (4-2) has plenty of room for improvement. Chukwu is SU’s least polished low-post threat and Saturday’s 4 p.m. matinee against North Florida (3-6) in the Carrier Dome provides an opportunity for him to get on the right track. “He’s not an accomplished offensive player,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim. “He’s got a long way to go there but he works at it. … It’s going to take time.” Through six games, Chukwu has scored eight total points in 16.3 minutes per game. He has 26 rebounds, see chukwu page 4


4 dec. 2-3, 2016

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PREGAME PLAYBOOK beat writer predictions CONNOR GROSSMAN (4-2) syracuse 72, north florida 53

DEFEATHERED Against a far more inferior opponent than Wisconsin or South Carolina, Syracuse gets the chance to recalibrate on Saturday. That means John Gillon and Frank Howard elevating their assist numbers again, an offensively challenged frontcourt garnering more scoring opportunities and the entire team smoothing over its movements in the zone.

MATT SCHNEIDMAN (5-1) syracuse 84, north florida 56

8.8

21.2

Points per game

22.0

Minutes per game

Minutes per game

5.7

4.5

Assists per game

K N

A

jack - in - the - box

Assists per game

FR

North Florida is located in Jacksonville, Florida. Here are some facts about the city.

HN

RD

10.0

LL

GI ON

• The band Limp Bizkit formed in Jacksonville in 1994 • The city is named after former U.S. President Andrew Jackson, but it was originally called Cowford because of all the cattle herded in the area

JO

A OW

H

BIRD HUNTING The Ospreys turn the ball over on 28.5 percent of possessions, according to Kenpom. com, as of Thursday evening, the third-worst percentage in the country. The Syracuse zone will have no problem causing chaos and turning steals into points at the other end. The Orange should be able to showcase its scoring depth again that didn’t show up in the past two games.

key players

Points per game

source: movoto.com

PAUL SCHWEDELSON (5-1)

‘SPREY PAINT Syracuse has been outscored in the paint 58-30 in the past two games. But North Florida is a much weaker opponent than South Carolina or Wisconsin. Expect the Orange to pound the ball inside and dominate the Ospreys. After two straight losses, Syracuse gets back to its winning ways and gets ready for a Monday night showdown with former Big East rival Connecticut at Madison Square Garden.

from page 3

coleman sophomore point guard Frank Howard said. “He was productive with it, so we’re going to continue to feed him and get him going.” Twenty-five seconds into the game against the Badgers, Coleman received a bounce pass above the low block from Tyler Roberson. Coleman took one power dribble to his left, caught Ethan Happ with a pump fake and banked in the first two points of the game. Coleman set the foundation for his offensive resurrection Tuesday, and it earned him twice as much playing time three days after his offensive dud. In 30 minutes, Coleman took advantage of mismatches down low. He backed down Happ twice in the opening five minutes before scoring and even canned a mid-range jumper later to diversify his scoring arsenal. Over the past season-plus, Coleman has often put the ball on the floor more than necessary, especially when he’s among a swarm of defenders in the lane. That, and an excessive number of pump fakes, have restricted his ability to convert around the rim. Coleman was efficient in his moves to the hoop Tuesday, finally using his frame to muscle his way to the basket and finish. Boeheim still insists Lydon is more effective offensively at center even though he is more of a perimeter threat. But when Coleman and Paschal Chukwu struggle to produce offensively, Syracuse has no other choice than to slide the sophomore to the five spot.

TURNED OVER North Florida turns the ball over 19.7 times per game, 7.5 times more per game than Syracuse

DEEP BALL Syracuse has shot well from beyond the 3-point line, and its zone faces a poor 3-point shooting team

WINNING? Since North Florida became a full-time Division-I program in 2009, it has just 17 more wins than Jim Boeheim had vacated by the NCAA

40.8 percent HOWARD

51.4%

118

NORTH FLORIDA

UNF

SU

52.4%

GILLON

JIM BOEHEIM’S VACATED WINS

101

31.2 percent SHOOTING PERCENTAGE

WINS

With Coleman’s double-digit scoring outing, SU may be able to keep Coleman at center with hopes of getting offensive production, especially against upcoming weaker opponents. “We understand that we could lose any game,” Coleman said last Saturday. “From here on out I think we’ll be better.” Coleman made the biggest jump from Saturday’s loss to Tuesday’s. Now the rest of the team has the opportunity to do the same against North Florida, ranked 244th in the country by Kenpom.com. Coleman’s struggles can no longer be attributed to his restructured knees. Nor can his inexperience, because he boasts the most experience for Syracuse. Now it’s about getting the ball in the bucket, which Coleman has to do if the Orange’s struggling frontcourt has any chance of keeping up. “We’re going to have games like this,” Coleman said Tuesday. “It’s how we bounce back though.” mcschnei@syr.edu | @matt_schneidman

from page 3

chukwu fourth most on the team, but has only attempted seven field goals on the season. His value to the Orange is on the defensive end, where he has 11 blocks, tied for sixth in the Atlantic Coast Conference. After Syracuse lost its first game of the season, on Saturday against South Carolina, Boeheim said his team’s best offensive lineup is with Tyler Lydon at center. He added that the Orange doesn’t “really have a low-post game.” SU’s last two opponents have exposed that. “Dajuan, Paschal are not ready to play at this level,” Boeheim said. “…We can’t win with those two guys right now.” With SU trailing for most of Tuesday’s game against Wisconsin, Chukwu played just seven minutes. His most memorable play was his turnover. Since coming from Providence last offseason and having to sit out due to

CENTERS OF ATTENTION Dajuan Coleman and Paschal Chukwu have been under Jim Boeheim’s heavy scrutiny. They largely haven’t fared well on the offensive side of the ball. Here’s a look at some of their offensive stats.

FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE

57.1 percent

POINTS PER GAME

syracuse 79, north florida 55

COLEMAN

6.2

1.3

COLEMAN

CHUKWU

FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE

56 percent

CHUKWU

transfer rules, Chukwu’s offensive game was expected to take a while. But now the Orange is experiencing the growing pains before its eyes. “It’s going to take some time for him to get used to game speed and everything,” Coleman said, “ but his progress is getting better.” Chukwu is working on his post presence, a role that entails being someone Syracuse can count on for a bucket in the paint. Coleman said Chukwu has gotten stronger since last year and is working on his hook shot, the likely next part of Chukwu’s game to be cultivated. Through six games, Thompson has been SU’s best scorer near the basket averaging 7.5 points per game. But Boeheim has pointed out that his defense still needs work. Tyler Roberson averaged 12.3 points in the first four games but only scored once in the past two contests. Lydon is averaging 11 a game, but 45 percent of his points have come on 3s. That leaves Chukwu and Coleman, Syracuse’s only true centers, but they haven’t carried the load either. Chukwu said he’s hoping for steady improvement. Against a team like North Florida, which ranks 296th in the country in defensive efficiency, per Kenpom.com as of Thursday evening, there will likely be more opportunities to flash what he could one day be capable of on a more consistent level. “I just take every mistake as a learning process and correct my game,” Chukwu said. pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschweds


dec. 2-3, 2016 5

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WAJID AMINU has followed his brothers to the Division-I level, but he was overlooked in the recruiting process. His brothers Alade and Al-Farouq were both four- and five-star recruits and both have gone on to play professional basketball. Al-Farouq plays with the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. courtesy of sideline sports

LAST ONE IN

Wajid Aminu has taken a separate path from his brothers to DI basketball By Billy Heyen staff writer

W

ajid Aminu and his mother Anjirlic wanted to avoid the spotlight his older brothers faced. With both brothers now professional basketball players — one in the NBA — they received heavy scrutiny in high school. Wajid was destined for the same. “I wanted him to have opportunities, have skills,” Anjirlic Aminu said. “But I didn’t want the magnifying glass. You know, it gets real hot underneath there.” Prior to high school, that meant a move from the recruiting hotbed of Atlanta to Miami, much less regarded as a basketball hotbed. Wajid is the younger brother of Alade Aminu and Al-Farouq Aminu. Alade played college basketball at Georgia Tech, and currently plays professionally for Israeli club Hapoel Eilat. Al-Farouq, who played at Wake Forest, is in his seventh season in the NBA, and his second season as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers. Wajid moved and played at Coral Gables High School. While it lessened the heat under the magnifying glass, it cut recruiting attention, too. Even as the younger brother of two former Atlantic Coast Conference basketball players, Wajid garnered limited interest. He wound up instead at an Atlantic Sun Conference school, the one that had recruited him the hardest, North Florida. As a freshman, he’s third on UNF (3-6) in scoring at 8.6 points per game and second in rebounding at 5.7 rebounds per game. He could make his second straight start on Saturday at No. 22 Syracuse (4-2). “Everywhere I go, I always get the question, ‘Are you related to an NBA player?’” Wajid Aminu said. “I instantly smile, and say, ‘Yeah, I am.’”

Wajid was exposed to elite coaches as his brothers were recruited, including the late Skip Prosser, who was one of Al-Farouq’s main recruiters. Alade and Al-Farouq are 12 and eight years older than Wajid, respectively, so Wajid was around Division-I basketball from the time he was 6 years old. “When his oldest brother went to Georgia Tech,” Anjirlic Aminu said, “he tried to run down to the locker room with the players … for halftime.”

Everywhere I go, I always get the question, ‘Are you related to an NBA player?’ I instantly smile and say, ‘Yeah, I am.’ Wajid Aminu north florida forward

The exposure to high-level basketball raised his on-the-court IQ, Wajid said, which he still applies today. North Florida head coach Matthew Driscoll said Wajid has a “gift” for tracking down rebounds. “He rebounds as well as anyone I’ve coached, at any level,” Driscoll said. “Baylor, Clemson, it doesn’t matter. He has a gift and a unique talent for just going to fetch balls. Two hands, in traffic, over guys, he just has a unique ability to rebound the basketball. That translates on every level.” Being around his older brothers also taught Wajid real-world skills. He learned about dishonest agents and sponsors that tried to take advantage of his

brothers. And when he sees his brothers volunteering at hospitals and participating in the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program, he understands life goes beyond basketball. Wajid is “the salt of the earth,” said Driscoll, who wouldn’t be surprised if Wajid is the president of North Florida’s student body in three years. Wajid was not as highly sought after by recruiters the way his two brothers were. Alade was listed as a fourstar recruit coming out of high school, and Al-Farouq one-upped his older brother as a five-star recruit, per 247Sports.com. Wajid was not even rated by that service. The move to Miami meant Wajid wasn’t facing competition he may have faced in Atlanta. He and his mother moved back to Atlanta (Wheeler High School) prior to his senior year of high school in an effort to regain exposure. But the move came too late for him to appear on any higher-level radars. After the move to Atlanta, Wajid’s spot at UNF was even in doubt. Driscoll’s interest had waned after seeing him play at his new high school. UNF’s assistant coaches, however, implored Driscoll to continue recruiting him hard. They eventually all reached the conclusion that they wanted Wajid at North Florida. Bringing Wajid to UNF has paid early dividends. Against Wright State on Sunday, Wajid impressed Driscoll with his hook shot on the way to a career-high 14 points, on a very efficient 7-for-9 from the floor. Wajid has taken what he learned from his brothers and gone a different route. He had much less notoriety in high school and is at a much smaller school in North Florida. But Driscoll sees the potential for a similar future for Wajid — a professional basketball career. “If he keeps working at it,” Driscoll said. “There is no limit on how good he can be.” wmheyen@syr.edu


WHITE

ANDREW


8 dec. 2-3, 2016

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CLASSIFIED

dec. 2-3, 2016 9


10 dec. 2-3, 2016

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ROSTER SYRACUSE No. Name

Position Ht.

Wt.

Year

Hometown

1

Frank Howard

G

6-5

205

So.

Suitland, Md.

2

Matthew Moyer

F

6-8

220

Fr.

Gahanna, Ohio

3

Andrew White III

G

6-7

210

Gr.

Richmond, Va.

4

John Gillon

G

6-0

178

Gr.

Houston, Texas

5

Mike Sutton

G

6-2

194

Jr.

Norwich, N.Y.

10

Braedon Bayer

G

6-4

185

So.

Lagrangeville, N.Y.

11

Adrian Autry Jr.-

G

6-0

182

So.

Jamesville, N.Y.

12

Taurean Thompson

F

6-10

225

Fr.

New York, N.Y.

13

Paschal Chukwu

C

7-2

226

So.

Westport, Conn.

14

Evan Dourdas

G

6-0

160

So.

Jamesville, N.Y.

20 Tyler Lydon

F

6-9

223

So.

Elizaville, N.Y.

21

Tyler Roberson

F

6-8

226

Sr.

Union, N.J.

24

Shaun Belbey

G

5-10

165

So.

Brick, N.J.

25 Tyus Battle

G

6-6

205

Fr.

Edison, N.J.

32 Dajuan Coleman

C

6-9

258

Gr.

Jamesville, N.Y.

33 Jonathan Radner

G

5-10

168

So.

Huntington Woods, Mich.

34 Doyin Akintobi-Adeyeye

F

6-6

230

Sr.

Uniondale, N.Y.

35 Ray Featherston

G

5-8

150

Fr.

Westport, Conn.

54 Ky Feldman

G

5-10

150

So.

Agoura Hills, Ca.

NORTH FLORIDA No. Name

Position Ht.

Wt.

Year

Hometown

1

Karlos Odum

F

6-7

215

R-So.

Lakeland, Fla.

2

Wajid Aminu

F

6-7

195

Fr.

Stone Mountain, Ga.

3

J.T. Escobar

G

6-2

180

So.

Tallahassee, Fla.

5

CJ Fisher

G

6-2

182

Rf.

Miami, Fla.

10

Osborn Blount

G

5-10

170

R-Jr.

Jacksonville, Fla.

11

Garrett Sams

G

6-6

180

Fr.

Martin, Tenn.

12

Aaron Bodager

G

6-5

200

R-Sr.

Oviedo, Fla.

14

Dallas Moore

G

6-1

175

Sr.

St. Petersburg, Fla.

23 Nick Malonga

G

6-5

192

R-Jr.

Bolingbrook, Ill.

24

G/F

6-5

180

Jr.

Lake Worth, Fla.

33 Romelo Banks

C

6-11

252

R-Jr.

Kissimmee, Fla.

35 Chris Davenport

F

6-8

215

Sr.

Atlanta, Ga.

50 Benedikt Haid

G

6-5

190

Fr.

Innsbruck, Austria

55 Chase Driscoll

G

5-8

200

Jr.

Jacksonville, Fla.

Aaron Horne


dec. 2-3, 2016 11

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Opponent preview: What to know about the Ospreys By Connor Grossman senior staff writer

Mired in its first losing streak of the season, No. 22 Syracuse (5-2) will try to turn its fortunes around against North Florida (3-6) in the Carrier Dome on Saturday at 4 p.m. This is the first-ever meeting between the two teams, and the game will be broadcast on both Time Warner Cable and ESPN3. Here’s everything you need to know about the Ospreys ahead of Saturday’s contest.

against the Orange. North Florida however, doesn’t wield nearly the amount of talented depth that the Badgers do.

28.5%

The North Florida Report: Simi-

lar to Syracuse, North Florida rolls out a starting lineup of all upperclassmen. Point guard Dallas Moore is the focal point of the offense, averaging 20.4 points per game and totaling 36 more minutes than any of his teammates. Outside of Moore, head coach Matthew Driscoll mixes and matches his rotation freely. Eight players have appeared in all nine games, and all are averaging at least 10 minutes per game. The Ospreys average 74.4 points per game but have only scored 63 points per game in four contests against Power 5 opponents, all losses.

How North Florida beats Syracuse:

In part, Wisconsin caused the Orange to fold on Tuesday with a diversified attack against SU’s defense. The Badgers leaned heavily on perimeter shooting, causing Syracuse’s zone to stretch out a bit, before turning to the paint and working the ball inside. That might be North Florida’s best bet. The Ospreys are only shooting 31.2 percent from 3, but then again, that’s similar to how Wisconsin had shot from deep until hitting nearly half of their 23 3s

Stat to know: 28.5 percent — According

to Kenpom.com, as of Thursday evening, only two other teams in the country turn the ball over more frequently than North Florida. More than one-fourth of the team’s possessions end in turnovers, while Syracuse has forced an average of 13 per game against its opponents. Expect head coach Jim Boeheim to deploy the press early and often, fully aware of the Ospreys tendency to give up the ball.

Player to know: Dallas Moore, point

guard, No. 14 Moore is clearly the most talented player North Florida will dispatch on Saturday afternoon. He’s taken more than 25 percent of his team’s shots, shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 45.5 from 3. He’s going to have the ball in his hands most of the time. Also keep an eye out for 6-foot-11 center Romelo Banks. He’ll try to give Syracuse’s interior defense some problems — which it’s certainly shown to have at times — and he’s the Osprey’s second most proficient scorer. cgrossma@syr.edu


In the Paint: North Florida  
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