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Syracuse Basketball: Stock Up, Stock Down for Every Player

Josh SchochAnalyst IIIJanuary 7, 2013

Syracuse Basketball: Stock Up, Stock Down for Every Player

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    Now that the nonconference schedule has been completed and Big East play has begun, Syracuse basketball remains a Top 10 team and has been rolling (other than a slight hiccup against Temple).

    It hasn't been an easy season for every member of the Orange, however, as some players have been struggling.

    Let's take a look at how each member of Jim Boeheim's team has been playing compared to expectations.

Stock Up: Brandon Triche

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    Syracuse's senior leader and shooting guard has been having a great season. Now that he is the team's No. 1 shooting guard, he leads the team in scoring with 14.6 points per game.

    We knew that Triche would be a good scorer now that he is getting his chances, but what has truly exceeded expectations is the fact that he has provided invaluable leadership and made a ton of hustle plays.

    Triche complements his scoring with 3.4 rebounds (1.8 offensive) and 3.6 assists per game. He has become a vital part of this offense, and his leadership has been key in the team's success.

Stock Down: Rakeem Christmas

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    Some Syracuse fans were hoping that Rakeem Christmas would undergo a transformation from his disappointing freshman campaign to his sophomore season like the one Fab Melo underwent.

    Melo went from a poor freshman season to a first-round pick in last year's NBA draft, but Christmas doesn't show any signs of doing that.

    After earning a starting role with the team, the expectations were high for the No. 20 recruit in ESPN's Class of 2011 rankings (one spot ahead of Michael Carter-Williams). However, while he has 6.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game, they are not what fans and experts expected.

    Christmas looks like he is still a project, and after watching him this season, I'm not even fully convinced that he can make a shot that isn't a dunk. He has a lot of work to do before he can become an NBA player, and right now his stock is pretty low.

Stock Even: Jerami Grant

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    Jerami Grant is only playing 11.8 minutes per game, but he has already proven that he can be a special player if given the chance.

    Ranked as the No. 37 prospect in ESPN's Class of 2012 rankings, Grant was on the fringe between great players and ones doomed to be busts. Looks like he'll be one of the great ones.

    While he is going to have to wait for his turn to be a big part of this offense, he has shown the type of athleticism that Jim Boeheim loves, and his efficiency on the offensive end (53.5% FG, 41.7% 3PT) looks great for a young player.

    Even though he is only averaging 4.1 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, I'm high on Grant, and the talk on campus is that he has a bright future with the team.

Stock Up: C.J. Fair

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    C.J. Fair was good last year, but this year he's great.

    Fair has emerged as one of the best players Syracuse has, although he is constantly overshadowed by the team's other stars.

    One of the team's best forwards has become a big scoring threat, dropping 12.8 points per game, which ranks third on the team. He also crashes the boards, snagging 6.7 rebounds per game.

    In his last game, Fair recorded his fifth double-double of the season. It was also his 10th game scoring double-digit points.

    Fair has emerged as a very talented player in his junior year, and you can bet that he'll be a first-round pick in the 2014 NBA draft.

Stock Down: Baye Keita

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    Baye Keita never showed much in his first two seasons at Syracuse, but we expected him to show some improvement this season.

    We haven't seen it yet.

    When you bring a player in from a foreign country like Senegal, you expect him to become a big part of your team. However, he hasn't earned more than 14.9 minutes per game this season, and he isn't always making a big impact.

    Keita averages 4.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. His 74.4 percent shooting is impressive, but almost all of his shots come from within an arm's length of the basket.

    Keita provides another option off the bench, but he isn't making his presence felt in college. He needs to become a bigger threat by playing a bigger role for the team when he gets his chances.

Stock Up: Michael Carter-Williams

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    Michael Carter-Williams has been spectacular.

    After Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine graduated, and Brandon Triche finally got to play as a shooting guard, MCW finally got his chance at point guard in his sophomore season, and he has exceeded every possible expectation.

    MCW was ranked No. 21 in ESPN's Class of 2011 rankings, and he was scouted as a shooting guard because of his 6'5" frame. However, he has become a stat-stuffing floor general, and is arguably the best point guard in the country.

    Averaging 11.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and a national-best 9.8 assists per game, he has done it all for the Orange.

    The team goes as MCW goes, and as long as he plays well in the tournament, the Orange have a great chance to win it all this year.

Stock Even: Trevor Cooney

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    Trevor Cooney is already a fan favorite at Syracuse, but his play hasn't been all that impressive.

    Cooney had never played at the collegiate level before this season, so expectations weren't all that high. However, his 5.6 points per game on 33.8 percent shooting has failed to either exceed or lower those expectations.

    He has the potential to become a deep threat for the team after showing off his range, but for now he is just a late-game option.

Stock Down: DaJuan Coleman

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    Expectations were high for ESPN's No. 14 prospect in a talented Class of 2012, but DaJuan Coleman has been a huge disappointment.

    The 6'10", 275-pound freshman center who earned a starting role has been inconsistent at best. He has dominated a few smaller schools but rarely makes an impact against big-time competition.

    Coleman is a big dude who had conditioning problems in high school, and by looking at his minutes you can tell that he probably hasn't fixed them well enough to compete in Jim Boeheim's up-tempo style of play. He is only playing 15.9 minutes per game, and his season high is only 25.

    Coleman's 6.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game show that he could be a double-double machine if he can work out his conditioning issues, but now he looks like more of a project than a finished product.

Stock Up: James Southerland

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    James Southerland might be the most impressive player at Syracuse this year, surpassing even National Player of the Year candidate Michael Carter-Williams.

    Southerland has been a bench player throughout his career, and that hasn't changed this year. However, he has gone from averaging 4.9 points per game to scoring 13.7 this year.

    Southerland is a bit like James Harden when he was on the Oklahoma City Thunder, in the fact that he comes off the bench and immediately impacts the game. He is second on the team in scoring behind only Brandon Triche, and he is shooting 51.3 percent from the floor and 40.0 from three.

    He is far from a one-trick pony, however, as he also grabs 5.1 rebounds per game. Southerland also plays tight defense, blocking 1.1 shots and snagging 1.3 steals per game in limited minutes.

    Southerland leads the team in points per minute, and his emergence as arguably the best sixth man in the country has his stock soaring.

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