As his shot improves, Oshae Brissett has forced opponents to respect him behind the arc

first_imgFive weeks ago, that play wouldn’t have been possible for Brissett, because it was unthinkable defenders should be afraid of him from deep. He still sometimes frustrates coaches with his shot selection, but now things have changed beyond the arc. Brissett’s 16 points and 12 rebounds were key in Syracuse’s (18-9, 7-7 Atlantic Coast) 62-55 win at Miami (18-8, 7-7). The Orange will rely on Brissett, one of three players who can create offense for himself, to remain a weapon outside and in to help shove this team off the bubble and into the NCAA Tournament.“He’s our best 3-point shooter,” said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim. “… He’s playing as well as you could ask a freshman to play.”At the beginning of ACC play, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest played off Brissett. All year, he had predicated his game on bruising drives enabled by strong fakes, but the fakes stopped working. Opponents wanted him shooting jumpers because he couldn’t make them. By the end of the loss to the Demon Deacons on Jan. 3, Brissett had hit one of his last 11 3-pointers and 15-for-58 overall.Then, three days later, Brissett flipped defense’s scouting reports. He drilled his second shot of the game against Notre Dame, a 3-pointer. He hit another. And another. All three of his makes on 15 shots (seven 3-point attempts) were beyond the arc. Though he struggled to finish at the rim, Brissett noticed how Notre Dame defenders closed out more aggressively as the game progressed.“They weren’t coming out at me at all (before) and I couldn’t hit,” he said. “(During Notre Dame), they’re coming out a lot more and it’s helping the team, so I can get back in (the paint) and get fouled, or kick it back out to one of our guards.”In the 11 games since UND, Brissett hasn’t cooled off. He’s taken at least three 3s in every contest, always made at least one and overall has hit 20-for-47 (42.6 percent). The blossoming dimension of Brissett’s game is important further because Syracuse isn’t a great 3-point shooting team, but it always seems to have someone hitting when the team needs them to. Brissett did that through filling the void left by Howard when he came down from his scalding stretch from behind the arc in late January.“When people are running out at me,” Brissett said, “I can easily go by them. I feel like I’m pretty quick off the bounce so a lot of taller guys can’t keep up with me when I’m driving past them, so that’s helped me a lot.”The advantages in stretching the floor, and in convincing opponents you can stretch the floor, are two-fold, said fellow forward Marek Dolezaj. He has seen Brissett’s presence alone increase spacing because defenders play him further out now, which opens driving lanes for everyone.Yet this 3-point emergence has also coincided with an inability to finish consistently at the rim. After the Jan. 16 win against Pittsburgh, Boeheim said Brissett’s game had taken a step back.Associate head coach Adrian Autry chalked it up to the physical nature of ACC play and ran Brissett through a drill to finish with balance and off two feet to try and remedy the situation. Brissett understood he also needed to improve from 3.At practice in late January, a TV crew waited to interview Brissett as he shot 50 triples from varying spots around the arc. After Brissett finished, he walked over to the interview and, on his way there, Autry said to the crew: “Don’t worry, he’ll get more of those up after practice.”Saturday served as a perfect case study for Brissett’s progression, because he made Waardenburg slip on the dunk, and then justified his worries three minutes later with a 3-pointer. The difference was his ability to finish at the basket — and not just with the jam. He went off the dribble a few times better than normal, Boeheim said, and he finished “a couple plays that he hasn’t always finished.” One of them, on a Dolezaj dime, was a particularly difficult finish that Brissett dropped in. UPDATED: Feb. 19, 2017 at 5:08 p.m.CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Early in the first half against Miami, Syracuse freshman forward Oshae Brissett caught a pass behind the arc in the left corner and rose up to let a shot fly. Or at least looked like he was going to.Miami’s Sam Waardenburg, who was guarding Brissett, was caught in a dilemma: Stop SU point guard Frank Howard from getting into the lane or stay tight on Brissett. He chose Howard, so Howard passed to Brissett and then Waardenburg saw his man open where he’s become the most dangerous.Waardenburg lunged toward Brissett off-balance and realized a split-second too late it was a fake. Waardenburg slipped. Brissett blew past him. With Waardenburg trailing behind him, Brissett posterized Miami’s forward, Dewan Huell.“He’s that good,” Howard said. “When you’re that good, (plays like the dunk) become the norm.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 18, 2018 at 9:09 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @Sam4TR “When there’s a smaller guy, I attack him down low,” Brissett said Saturday. “When there was a bigger guy, I beat him off the dribble. That’s every game. It doesn’t matter who’s on me.”Brissett’s self-confidence and the Orange’s offensive needs have afforded him opportunities this season to learn and grow on the court. He has played through mistakes and developed how to wield his outside shot. He knows the Orange needs him, and when he’s struggling inside, he knows sometimes it works to start outside. Commentslast_img

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