It’s gotten to the point where young point guards are expected to excel right out of the gate at Syracuse University. After all, Gerry McNamara led the Orange to a national championship, Jonny Flynn was electric in his two seasons on the Hill, Michael Carter-Williams parlayed an exceptional sophomore season into a Rookie of the Year campaign in his first NBA season, and Tyler Ennis played beyond his years in his one and only season at Syracuse. Those expectations have followed Kaleb Joseph, perhaps a little unfairly.
After all, Kaleb Joseph was never supposed to be the primary ballhandler this year. No one could have anticipated that Ennis would become a one and done player. Ennis was recruited as a 2-3 year player, with Joseph recruited to serve an apprenticeship under the Canadian floor general. Instead, Joseph was thrust into a starting role, and has certainly had some ups and downs. He’s also been on the receiving end of criticism from both his coach, and the fans. How much of that is fair, though? Under Jim Boeheim, nine freshmen have started at point guard for at least 50% of the season. So, how does Joseph’s first year compare to the rest?
6.9 PPG / 4.3 APG / 2.3 RPG / 40.9 FG / 20.0 3PT / 73.6 FT / 65 TO
Obviously, this line will change over the last five games. Still, outside of the three point percentage, those are very respectable numbers for a relatively raw point guard averaging 29.5 minutes per game for a team that’s sitting at 8-5 in the ACC. His turnover numbers are surprisingly low, given the fact that protecting the basketball has been one of his glaring areas in need of improvement. But if you had told me that Joseph would average about seven points and four and a half assists this year while shooting around 75% from the free throw line, frankly, I probably would have taken those numbers.