Men's Basketball

Cooney delivers efficient shooting effort in Syracuse’s scrimmage against Holy Family

B.J. Johnson often guards C.J. Fair in practice, but he said that’s not his toughest matchup.

That would be Trevor Cooney.

On Friday, in Syracuse’s 79-41 shellacking of Division II Holy Family, SU fans got a glimpse of what Johnson was talking about. Cooney finished an efficient 3-of-4 from downtown and looked smooth coming off of screens.

“Everybody was bashing Trev last year,” Johnson said, “but whatever he did last year, he’s not doing that no more.”

On Syracuse’s second possession, Cooney caught a pass from Rakeem Christmas and gave the Orange its first points of the exhibition season with a 3-pointer. He said he felt comfortable from the get-go and that hitting his first shot helped him play without thinking.

Seventy-two seconds later, Cooney swished another. This one came from the right side and extended SU’s lead to 8-0.

He came off screens crisply all night, including on designed out-of-bounds plays. Syracuse’s big men made a concerted effort to set off-ball picks for him to scurry around. His stroke looked smooth.

“I wasn’t worried about my shot or anything,” Cooney said.

Cooney shot 27 percent from beyond the arc and 32 percent overall last season. Orange fans criticized him and called him overrated. But Friday, Cooney showed he had made significant strides in the offseason.

At Atlantic Coast Conference media day, Boeheim said Cooney has been knocking down more shots in practice this year. He’s shooting in practice like he did his redshirt year, instead of how he did during a bumpy, mediocre freshman season.

Cooney said he tries to do the opposite of whatever the defense does. Holy Family played a packed-in 2-3 zone. The Tigers only have two players who are 6 feet 8 inches or taller, which paved the way for wide-open looks for Cooney.

The sample size was small, but Cooney delivered.

“I think he improved a lot,” SU big man DaJuan Coleman said. “He’s a totally different player.”


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