By Sean Fernandez
Like his fellow senior Kris Joseph, Scoop Jardine has played his final game in a Syracuse Uniform. The 5th year senior is just weeks away from his graduation, and is now focused on getting ready to play basketball professionally. Scoop made great strides throughout his career, and ended up being one of 55 players in history to score over 1,000 points for the Orange. We’ll examine his draft profile and take a look at where he could fit in at the next level.
Scoop saw significant minutes throughout his four years of eligibility, and has been a centerpiece for much of Syracuse’s success over the past few years. He averaged 8.3 points and 4.7 assists per game as a senior this year and was one of the best point guards in the Big East. His leadership skills were on display all year, and it seems as though he’s done a great job in passing the torch to future SU starting PG Michael Carter-Williams.
Effective leadership is a trait that all point guards should have. They are, after all, the floor general and quarterback of the offense. Scoop’s leadership should be seen as a definite positive because he successfully worked the ball around, managed a star studded Syracuse team to a 34-3 record and an appearance in the Elite 8 during his senior season. The professional team to land his services will be getting a point guard that will be a leader both on and off the court.
Standing at 6’3”, Jardine possesses ideal height for a point guard. This will allow him to matchup physically with most point guards and will make it easier to defend his opposition. We’ve seen smaller point guards such as Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul succeed in the NBA, but having a few extra inches can always come in handy and is viewed as a positive by scouts.
Jardine boosted his draft stock by playing great basketball during the NCAA tournament. A member of the All-East Regional team, he averaged 14ppg and 6.3 apg during the big dance. He seemed to take over in nearly every second half, making one clutch basket after another. His three point shooting was exceptionally well during March, and is something that he should continue to work on as he attempts to make the jump to the next level.
While Jardine excels in many areas, there is one aspect of his game in particular that could use improvement. His decision making was questionable at times during his collegiate career, although he tended to protect the ball more as he matured and as the years went on. It was feast or famine with Jardine at times, but he could be an effective point guard at the next level if he protects the basketball.
Free throws were another area of concern for Scoop this season. His free throw percentage took an uncharacteristic drop from 89.2% during his freshman year to 55.2% during his senior year. Reasons for this are unknown although I think Scoop can turn that around with consistent practice. Point guards have to be able to make free throws at any level, especially professionally.
While Scoop possesses some intangibles and skills that could be on an NBA level, he lacks the foot speed, quickness off the ball, and defensive skills that most NBA scouts look for. If he is to develop into a player that could make an NBA roster, his path will be working on his game in the Developmental League.
The hope for Scoop, the Jardine Family, and Syracuse fans is that he is one of the sixty players taken in June’s draft. Most mock drafts available, however, have him falling outside of the first and only two rounds. As he will most likely go undrafted, that will not be the end of the road for Jardine. There have been plenty of instances in which undrafted players have made names for themselves (Jeremy Lin and John Starks to name a few). If all else fails, there is no shame in a career playing professional basketball overseas. Former Syracuse greats Leo Rautins, Rafael Addison, Roosevelt Bouie, and Conrad McRae, among others have made a nice living for themselves doing just that.
Regardless of where his professional basketball career is continued, whether it’s in the NBA or internationally, Syracuse fans will continue their support of him. Scooooop will always be a valued part of the Syracuse University community for his contributions both on and off the court.