Scoop Jardine: The Orange’s Undisputed Leader on the FloorPosted by rtmsf on January 18th, 2012
Danny Connors is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report after Monday’s Syracuse-Pittsburgh contest.
Dion Waiters has emerged as a high-energy super-sub… Fab Melo has become a shot-blocking anchor in the back of the Syracuse zone… And oh yeah, depth, depth, and more depth. Those three storylines have been told time and time again by the media, as Syracuse has jumped out to an impressive 20-0 start. But lost in the shuffle has been the resurgence, stability, and leadership of senior point guard Scoop Jardine.
“He’s [Jardine] the key guy,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said after defeating Pittsburghon Monday, “most people in this town can’t quite figure that out.” On the season, Jardine is only averaging 8.6 points per game and 4.8 assists per contest, down from 12/6 last season. But, his value on this team is as high as its ever been – both on and off the court. “He’s the ultimate leader,” Syracuse junior guard Brandon Triche said. “When guys are down, you’ll see him a lot of times going over to talk to him just to keep your head in the game. A guy like that, you need.”
The sentiment is shared among other players on the team, most notably, Jardine’s cousin, Dion Waiters. “We been together for so long,” he said. “It’s good to go out there and see your big bro playing and doing well and sharing the sugar, getting everyone involved and happy… that’s what makes the team more good. When you have guys like him, who are leaders and command the team every night and its our job as soldiers to go out there and be ready.” Boeheim has certainly seen Jardine’s intangibles come into play this season, as well. “He’s the only leader on the team, he is the leader of this team, the only vocal leader,” explained Boeheim.
It’s important to remember that Jardine isn’t just playing the role of a vocal leader. Keep in mind, he is the starting point guard for the Orange. According to Boeheim, “He’s the only point guard we have, [and it’s] hard to play without a point guard.” With the Orange’s newfound depth, Jardine plays less minutes, splitting backcourt duties with Waiters, Brandon Triche, and Michael Carter-Williams. So, even though his per game numbers are down, he said his per minute numbers are “through the roof.” He was right. The senior leader is averaging 8.6 assists per 40 minutes and 3.9 rebounds per contest, both of which are career highs. His per minute scoring may not be outstanding, but the efficiency of his points are. After shooting just 42% from the field last season, Jardine is shooting an impressive 53% this campaign.
In the Orange’s last three games, the Philly native has 24 assists and only four turnovers. He’s played with the poise and composure that many have come to expect from him in his fifth year at Syracuse. After a 12-point, 10-assist performance against Pitt, Panthers’ head coach Jamie Dixon had nothing but praise for Jardine. “He’s unselfish. He’s doing a good job of getting other guys shots.” Jardine knows his role and is confident in what he brings to the table for the Orange. “I’m the man. This my team. I really accept that role,” he said, noting he didn’t mean it in a “cocky” way. Jardine added, “I’m going to be there every night for us and do whatever we need at that time and be vocal.” Like the media though, Jardine deflects the attention to the rest of his team. “I give my teammates a lot of credit for putting the trust in me to be able to lead this team because without them trusting me, it would be hard, but I know they have trust in me, so I’m able to step up and lead against anybody.”