All Syracuse caught up with Syracuse basketball Associate Head Coach Adrian Autry to discuss the upcoming season.
Q: What does Syracuse have to do to win the ACC?
Adrian Autry: "A lot of things have to happen. Obviously health, chemistry, there's so many different factors. You've got to be able to limit people's shot opportunities. I think we've got to be able to make shots and shoot the ball around. Be consistent. Stay together and don't let the highs be too high or the lows be too low. Kind of have that day by day, game by game approach. Those are normally the ingredients that teams that win, or compete for championships, have. Defensively, we have to do a really good job trying to hold teams to a decent amount of points and limit their second chance points. Offensively, we have to make shots and scoring opportunities not only for ourselves but for teammates as well."
Q: Is the coaching staff counting on improvement from centers, including Jesse Edwards?
Autry: "Absolutely. Jesse's a junior this year. Sidibe's a senior. He's been around and has played. Hopefully he can get back healthy. Jesse played for us last year and played a nice part in our run. I think that really helps his confidence and helps him understand how to play and what we expect from him. What I've seen so far, he's definitely improved. He's gotten bigger, he's more confident. He will definitely be a factor for us this year."
Q: What was the pitch to Benny Williams when recruiting him, and what will his role be this year?
Autry: "Our pitch was that if you look at the history of Syracuse forwards, he looks just like those guys. Long, athletic guys that can make plays. Pass, dribble and shoot, be able to show off his athleticism. He's a guy who can do all those things. We're just very excited that he has a good feel for the game. Very talented. Still trying to get the system like most college freshmen trying to figure things out. He's had the luxury of being around a more experienced group. I think that's showed him how you have to work on a daily basis. We have a really good group that's experienced and understands what it takes to compete at this level."
Q: How do you anticipate using Cole Swider?
Autry: "We want to take advantage of his talent, which is three point shooting. I think he has a little more to his game. Certain games, he may have to be able to get down there and score closer to the basket. The main thing is you have to take advantage of someone who shoots the ball like he shoots the ball. You've got to take advantage of that because that's the game. That makes a difference is that three point line. He really shoots it at a high level."
Q: What are some challenges with incorporating so many new players?
Autry: Chemistry. Learning the new system. Being able to work together as a group and understanding how each other works. I think chemistry is always a factor in any good team. How well they gel. With a new group of guys, that becomes even more in the forefront especially at this level. Especially with the way our season is starting off with the schedule that we have. A lot of times you have the chance to build that chemistry. We get right into the fire right off the bat. Our chemistry part and everybody understanding their roles right away is the biggest challenge."