Some guys are born with amazing athleticism and never really learn to play basketball, which is understandable. You're dealing with 10 guys, all fast, powerful and deceptive, moving as quickly as they can. You can take the ball in your hands and force things to happen, which is relatively easy if you're talented enough to do it. But to be able to master those elements? To know where everyone is and how to consistently make the right decision? Who can dominate the game without necessarily shooting?
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That's really, really rare. Just think of how many guys can't do that: Carmelo Anthony can't. Blake Griffin can't. Kobe Bryant can't. Kobe imposes himself on the game, which has worked, certainly, but not what we're talking about here.
You can run down a long list of people who can't, don't, and never will get it, and some of them will be Hall of Famers.
But some guys do. Some guys can see the game's flow, know what to do and when to do it. Jason Kidd had it. Larry Bird, Magic Johnson had it. Arvydas Sabonis and Bill Walton had it. Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, and some others here and there. But really, not very many people operate on that level.
It increasingly appears that Tyler Ennis does.
Against Pitt, he made some very rare mistakes and appeared to be off. Yet at the end, he got himself open for the inbounds pass, brought it upcourt and despite a double team, absolutely nailed a 35 foot shot with the Orange down one point to win the game.
If you look at Syracuse's record, it's not like they're blowing people away. In fact, a lot of games have been really close. But Syracuse has a great three point shooter in Trevor Cooney, two really talented forwards in CJ Fair and Jerami Grant, and a really good defender in Rakeem Christmas who's not terrible offensively.
You can't really double team anyone - it's sort of the opposite of Jim Boeheim's zone - and in the closing minutes, Ennis is just fearless and almost always makes the right decision. It's pretty phenomenal really, and no one has figured out how to contain him.
The shot he hit against Pitt is going to go down in history as one of the early great clutch shots by an emerging star.
Could the 'Cuse run the table? Possibly, but there's one big problem: injuries have hit hard and depth is now pretty limited. Syracuse went just six deep against Pitt.
The loss puts Duke in third place and holding a tiebreaker if needed with Pitt.
The southern games, Duke vs. UNC and BC vs. Georgia Tech, were both postponed due to the massive storm. ESPN now lists the game at 5:00 pm on Thursday. Duke now has to play at Georgia Tech on Tuesday, UNC on Thursday and then Syracuse on Saturday.
UNC might have it worse though: the Heels play Pitt on Saturday, at Florida State on Monday, then Duke on Thursday and Wake Forest on Saturday.