Friday, December 23, 2011

Perfect from Three

There is a lot of talk around the water cooler and online in blogs about Syracuse walk-on Matt Tomaszewski’s three point shooting. In case you have not heard, Tomaszewski is four for four from three point range this season, and a perfect seven for seven in his Syracuse University career.

It is a impressive feet to go seven for seven, especially considering that he always does it after sitting for the first seventy to eighty minutes of a game; real time, not game time.

At the same time, a lot of the talk is getting carried away, with fans wondering if Tomaszewski would get more playing time because of his shooting, and if coach Jim Boeheim would use him in crunch time for a desperation three point effort.

The answer to both those questions would be ‘no’. Tomaszewski, now a senior, is not the best three point shooter on the team. That would likely be James Southerland, Brandon Triche or Mookie Jones; that’s not counting red-shirt freshman Trevor Cooney. As we all know, Jones barely plays, because the rest of his game is not strong enough to warrant the playing time. The same with Tomaszewski.

Tomaszewski does not have the pedigree for being a great three point shooter. He began his college career at the University of Tampa. As a Division II player, he took a lot of three point shots, and made 36 of 115. That is 31.3%. Granted he has likely improved in the three years since then, but also likely not that much.

Would Boeheim want to bring Tomaszewski in for a desperation three point shot? Boeheim is going to want a player who can get open for a shot, and who has experience playing in the clutch. Right now Tomaszewski is making all his three point shots in the waning minutes of games, when there is no game pressure, and against the opposition’s weakest defense. That would be a long stretch to then assume that he could come off the bench cold, against a first team defense, find a way to get open, and then calmly make the pressure shot. I am not saying he could not make it, but those are significantly different game circumstances for him.

The likely five players on the court in such a scenario would be Triche, Dion Waiters, Scoop Jardine, Kris Joseph and James Southerland. Boeheim would likely play non shooters like C.J. Fair or Michael Carter-Williams in that scenario before he would bring in someone cold off the bench. They have some experience handling the ball in crunch scenarios. And if Boeheim had to pull a player cold off the bench, I would guess Mookie Jones would be the man.

You could end up with a strange scenario like Syracuse’s memorable six overtime game against UConn, where Justin Thomas had to come in during the last overtime. But that was one of those once a lifetime type scenarios.

Tomaszewski is a decent shooter, and at 6’8” he does have a good view of the basket from the perimeter. Right now he is 53rd all-time at Syracuse in made three point baskets. I would love to see him finish his career at Syracuse with a perfect three point percentage. I will keep cheering for him to hoist them up and see what he can do.

Perhaps he can end his Syracuse career hitting 100% of this three point attempts, joining David Patrick and Mike Williams, both one for one, with that designation.

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