The Paradoxical Conclusion of Scoop Jardine's Orange Career

Daniel ChristianCorrespondent IIIAugust 1, 2011

CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 20: Scoop Jardine #11 of the Syracuse Orange handles the ball against Junior Cadougan #5 of the Marquette Golden Eagles during the third of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on March 20, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

I don't know if Scoop Jardine will ever figure 'it" out. 

Half of that is because I don't even know what "it" is, but the other half is because it's Scoop Jardine, and well, he's unpredictable.

At times he'll leave you in awe with an ankle breaking crossover and a swift move to the hoop that ends in a daring layup. Other times, the same thing happens except the crossover wasn't all that ankle breaking, and the shot he took was definitely daring, but it was most likely a brick.

His shot selection has never been stellar and neither has his decision making. Bad passes often plague the offense, putting a sudden end to what could have been a nice ball reversal but turned into a failed pass in the paint. It's all too common with Scoop Jardine, and unfortunately, it's all we expect at this point.

Shouldn't we expect something more, though? Scoop Jardine, despite his shortcomings, is still a very serviceable player with the heart of a lion. Say what you want about him, but he wants to take that last shot (just ask the peppy boys from Marquette after the NCAA tournament loss), and he wants to be the hero. It's definitely a trait to be admired at times, like when he canned the three to send Cuse into overtime with UConn in the Big East tournament. Other times, his trigger happy personality dooms Syracuse in the end, like the Marquette game.

Still, the likelihood of Scoop ever figuring "it" out isn't very likely at all. In no means is that an attack on Scoop himself, it's an attack on his play. He doesn't take plays off, and he plays hard, but playing hard and playing smart are two different things, and taking wild three pointers is a different thing all together. 

He performed reasonably well in Big East play last season, averaging the most assists per game out of any player, but was also 6th in turnovers. He's not absurdly athletic, but what ever attracted him to NBA scouts was his "moxie," or his court "savvy." And it's strange to think you can have a combination of both court savvy and bad decision making, but last season proved that Jardine is a 100 percent mix of those descriptions. His game has a certain swagger, and maybe that's his heart that wants to win games or maybe it's those sweet moves you see now and again, but even so, there is the other part of the description, and clearly that's what the issue is.

People get so frustrated with Jardine because of that, and if he's going to learn how to gain more control with the ball, Boeheim is the guy to teach him. Even so, Jardine hasn't gotten a grasp of things in the past 3 years, so why would something suddenly change?

Maybe he's willing to make a commitment for an excellent senior year, watch all the tape necessary, listen to Boeheim and turn into a smart player who makes all the right decisions, but realistically, he probably won't. Realistically, Jardine's career that I always hoped would end with a bang, will most likely end with a whimper. He'll definitely listen to Boeheim, but I just think if things haven't clicked yet, they won't magically fall into place.

It's much more likely that next season, Jardine sees a slight drop off in minutes, puts up similar numbers, but watches the slow and steady rise of Dion Waiters. Waiters is an athletic combo-guard who is as springy as they come with a solid shooting stroke. He's most likely the future of Syracuse at the point guard position, and is sure to see an influx in both minutes and scoring.

However, a sliver of me still believes that Jardine will turn it around. He'll make the smart passes. He'll penetrate the lane and kick it to the wing when it's there, and when it's not, he'll make the next best play possible. With the game on the line he won't walk down the court and jack up a crummy three-pointer, he'll make the smart play and put the ball in the hands of a player in the best position to win the game, whether that's him or someone else.

I still have hope for Scoop Jardine. I still have hope he finds "it," lost cause or not.