With all the hype surrounding freshmen in college basketball this season, one of the best freshmen through the first two months of the season has been Syracuse Orange point guard Tyler Ennis. Unlike a lot of the other freshmen in the country that are getting all the attention, Ennis wasn’t a McDonald’s All-American, he didn’t receive a lot of national attention before the season, and most importantly, he won’t be just another one-and-done player.
Saying that Ennis won’t be a one-and-done player is not an indictment of him and the season he’s had so far because he’s been brilliant. He’s averaging 12 points per game, and that’s even with three games in which he’s scored three points or fewer. He’s dishing out better than five assists per game, and for the season he’s committed just 13 turnovers in 11 games which is an amazing statistic for a freshman point guard that’s playing more than 30 minutes per game.
What makes Ennis’ season even more impressive is the competition he’s been facing early in his career. Syracuse has played five of their last seven games against major conference opponents, all of which will be in contention for the NCAA Tournament come March. Over that span, Ennis has 44 assists and seven turnovers while averaging close to 15 points. Ennis has played his best against better competition and shown improvement as the season has progressed.
However, despite an incredible start to his college career he will not be leaving Syracuse after one season. Ennis still needs to go through the conference portion of the schedule as well as the postseason — both of which will be important to his development. He also needs to round out several areas of his game, such as his free throw shooting, his three-point shooting, and his aggressiveness as a scorer. When those parts of his game develop they will be great complements to his poise, vision, and play-making ability.
Another issue Ennis has as far as being a one-and-done player is that he’s a little undersized for an NBA point guard. One great college season was enough for Ennis’ predecessor Michael Carter-Williams, who is the front-runner for NBA rookie of the year, but Ennis is a much smaller point guard than Carter-Williams. He’d be better off with a more complete and developed skill set before leaving for the NBA.
Ennis would be wise to follow the path of former Michigan point guard Trey Burke, who’s incredibly talented but also undersized. When Ennis can attempt and make difficult perimeter shots with confidence, score at a high rate on a consistent basis, and take over games offensively the way Burke did for the Wolverines last year he’ll be ready for the NBA — although it’s unlikely that he’ll get to that point by the end of the season.
Despite his brilliance during the first two months of his freshman season and despite being one of the best point guards in the country, Ennis has a ways to go and plenty to improve upon before he’s ready for the NBA. Therefore, Syracuse fans should be able to rest easy knowing that it’s highly unlikely Ennis ends up being a one-and-done player.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him on Google.