It’s been a running joke among Syracuse Orange fans throughout the season that television broadcasters in the ACC have called several players by the wrong name during games, with no player being more victimized than Trevor Cooney. At different times this season, Cooney has been called “Terry,” “Jerry,” “Tyler,” and probably a few other incorrect names.
But based on his performance shooting the ball during conference play, fans have to wonder if someone other than the real Trevor Cooney has actually been missing all this time, and when he might return.
Outside of a 31-point outburst against Notre Dame in early February, Cooney has shot just 27 percent from 3-point range during the conference season, in stark contrast to the 50 percent he shot during the non-conference schedule. Cooney has made some clutch shots during conference play that helped carry the Orange to second place in the ACC, but his production has been down and his shooting percentage is not what it needs to be heading into postseason play.
Granted, Syracuse has played some tough defensive teams in the ACC, and after watching what he did to opposing teams in November and December, teams went out of their way to make sure Cooney didn’t hurt them. However, even when the Orange have managed to get Cooney clean looks from the perimeter, he’s struggled to knock down the kind of open shots he was burying early in the season, and that’s a concern for Syracuse heading into the postseason.
Considering the way that Syracuse offense has slumped heading down the stretch, the Orange need Cooney to get his shooting touch back if they’re going to enjoy postseason success. Outside of Jerami Grant’s absence in a few games due to a back injury, Cooney’s 3-point prowess is the biggest thing Syracuse has been missing over the last three weeks. Until he can give the Orange consistent scoring on the perimeter, Syracuse will be prone to lackluster efforts offensively.
Syracuse has managed to survive many of Cooney’s off nights shooting the ball, and Cooney does bring more to the table than his 3-point shooting. However, him knocking down shots at the rate he was early in the season is the difference between a Syracuse team that’s fighting to reach the second weekend of the NCAA tournament and a Syracuse team that will advance comfortably and confidently to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament, possibly further.
That is why no matter what the esteemed broadcasters in the ACC have called him this season, Syracuse needs the real Trevor Cooney to stand up, take the ball and start making shots; the Orange’s season may depend on it.