Jalen Carey reflects on diminished playing time after expanded role in SU’s ACC Tournament win

first_imgAt Peach Jam in 2017, Syracuse’s coaches stood four-deep to ensure Carey knew he was a priority. He graduated from Immaculate Conception (New Jersey) High School with over 2,000 career points. In October 2017, before his senior season, he committed to Syracuse over two dozen offers from schools including Villanova, Kansas, Indiana, Notre Dame and Connecticut. He was ranked with four stars in high school as the class of 2018’s 38th-rated player, the Orange’s highest point guard recruit since Tyler Ennis in 2013.It’s not uncommon for top recruits to see little playing time as a freshman. Michael Carter-Williams rarely played as a freshman at SU, but he shined the next season, got selected No. 13 overall in the NBA Draft and was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2013-14. Senior point guard Frank Howard played sparingly early in his career, then he thrived last season amid SU’s Sweet 16 run.Before this season, Carey said his plan was to play two years of college basketball then enter the NBA Draft. It’s possible he follows a similar path to that of Carter-Williams, as Howard will graduate after the season. The keys would be in Carey’s hands as a probable starter at point guard next season. He wants to start and play big minutes as the team engine and floor general.“If he helps us, he’ll play,” head coach Jim Boeheim said last month. Published on March 14, 2019 at 1:39 am Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21 In practice, players said this week that Carey has continued to hit shots, make plays and attack off the dribble. He still arrives before practice and stays late when he can. He said he runs and lifts as if he were playing more minutes. The last time he scored more than four points in a game was Nov. 16 against Oregon. The day before, he dropped a career-high 26 against Connecticut. He was comfortable and confident, committing six turnovers but keeping the Orange in the game of an eventual loss.Across the ensuing weeks, Carey played 10-to-15 minutes per game. The turnovers racked up: two against Cornell, three against Georgetown, two against St. Bonaventure, four against Georgia Tech. His minutes decreased, and he’s not played in back-to-back conference games on three separate occasions. Yet he’s tried to impact the games in which he plays by defending, shooting when he’s open, and taking care of the ball.“He’s making plays in practice he didn’t make earlier in the year,” said freshman guard Buddy Boeheim, who started Wednesday and scored a team-high 20 points. “He kept us in the game early today because he was active on defense. He’s hard to stop in transition, which he showed on that nice bucket he had.”Carey said he’s not worried about how much he’ll play in the final weeks of Syracuse’s season. He said he’s not caught up in his lessened role or why he’s not on the floor. The team is a projected to make the NCAA Tournament, and he’s happy to be here.Asked about whether he has considered transferring because of his playing time, he said: “I’m just focused on tomorrow’s game. Hopefully I get in. If my number is called, hopefully I’m ready.” Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+ CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Since he arrived last summer, Jalen Carey struck the SU coaching staff with his speed, quickness and pull-up jumper. His development in the pick-and-roll game blew away assistant coach Gerry McNamara. Despite nobody leaving last year’s team, Carey was widely expected to play extended minutes off the bench.He’s at SU because, among other reasons, he thought he could play relatively quickly. Last spring, he said he wanted to wear No. 0 because that’s how many people he felt would be able to guard him. But after a few strong performances early, his role has regressed. He averages 3.8 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. He didn’t appear in five of SU’s final seven regular-season games.Then he finally checked into a tight game. On Wednesday night, he played more minutes (seven) than he has in any game since Feb. 13. He scored two points with one assist and one turnover in SU’s (20-12, 10-8 Atlantic Coast) 73-59 win over Pittsburgh (14-19, 3-15) in the second round of the ACC Tournament. With junior guard Tyus Battle out for two to three more days, head coach Jim Boeheim said, Carey could play a few more minutes Thursday night against No. 3 seed Duke.“It felt good being out there,” Carey said. “I wanted to come and play defense, not try to do too much, not force things, go with the flow of the game. Time got me comfortable. Me being in there, I could open some shots for other guys.“Not playing, it’s tough,” he added. “It would be tough for anybody. The only thing I can do is be better as a player. When my number is called, I want to be ready.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMore coverage:Tyus Battle ‘realistically 2 or 3 days away’ from returnCareer night for Buddy Boeheim, more takeaways from Syracuse’s ACC tournament win over PittsburghBuddy Boeheim shines with career-night in ACC tournament win over PittsburghWithout Tyus Battle, Syracuse tops Pittsburgh, 73-59, in ACC Tournament 2nd-round matchupSyracuse’s next opponent: What to know about Dukelast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *