How Trevor Cooney is helping Syracuse score, without scoring himself

first_img Published on November 24, 2015 at 6:32 pm Contact Jesse: jcdoug01@syr.edu | @dougherty_jesse Facebook Twitter Google+ Before the season, Trevor Cooney was confident that a roster full of shooters would give him more opportunities to score.“I definitely think I, personally, can only benefit from us having more shooters this year,” Cooney said at Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Media Day on Oct. 28. “The shots I am going to take are going to be better and the whole floor will be opened up for everybody to make more things happen. I think it will allow me to score more honestly.”But through Syracuse’s first three games, teams have stayed glued to Cooney on the perimeter despite the Orange’s other threats. In turn, he’s created for his teammates more than they’ve created for him. Heading into SU’s (3-0) 2:30 p.m. date with Charlotte (1-2) in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament on Wednesday, the fifth-year senior has made just six of 20 3-pointers and is averaging a misleading 13 points per game.His scoring average is boosted by an 18-point game against St. Bonaventure in which he shot 8-of-11 from the free-throw line. As for scoring from the perimeter, Cooney’s opportunities have been limited and he’s been most effective going to the rim.“In years past I haven’t attacked the rim and I just settled with just passing the ball around,” Cooney said after Syracuse beat Elon, 66-55, on Saturday. “I’m happy to be aggressive and attacking, and it’s created a lot more for this team which is good.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn the offseason, Cooney worked on his ball-handling with SU assistant coach Gerry McNamara. The drills were aimed at making Cooney, known as a spot-up a shooter, a more versatile scorer. He’s said that he feels much more comfortable putting the basketball on the floor.That was evident against Elon, when Cooney regularly attacked the rim in the second half. He missed his only 3-point attempt in the first half on a contested look, and his penetration helped the Orange score 10 points in the paint in the last 20 minutes. Cooney also saw a lapse in perimeter pressure on a Michael Gbinije drive, and knocked down an open 3.“Him getting to the rack, it opens things up for the bigs and the other guards,” Gbinije, SU’s starting point guard, said. “Teams aren’t expecting him to do that, they’re chasing him off the line and he’s going in there and that’s going to benefit us.”After Syracuse beat the Phoenix, head coach Jim Boeheim said the team isn’t getting Cooney enough good looks. And while that may be true so far this season, this year’s Orange is reliant on Cooney and more likely to benefit from the attention he draws.When teams blanketed him last year, it created opportunities for Ron Patterson, Kaleb Joseph and a timid Tyler Roberson. But when Elon switched on every first-half down screen Syracuse gave Cooney, Roberson found mismatches and open space, and finished with a career-high 20 points.In the coming games, teams that pressure Cooney will also hand jump shots to Gbinije and freshman Malachi Richardson. Then he can drive to the basket and the offense will open up more.“I would hope guys guard me the same way as they did last year,” Cooney added in October, “and that will create even more things for other people.”So far that’s what’s happened. It hasn’t led to more points on his stat lines, but will have unseen effects on others. Commentslast_img

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