Syracuse’s Jardine a key cog in Orange’s success
The game was tied in the final minute of overtime as Scoop
Jardine surveyed the floor and began a drive from the top of the
key. The crowd of more than 27,000 roared in anticipation as
Georgetown’s staunch defenders blocked the way, looking for a
A couple of years ago, the veteran Syracuse point guard probably
would have tried his luck at a shot.
Not this time.
After all, Jardine’s pretty layup high off the glass in the
second half was his only bucket of the game. So, it was clear that
his shots weren’t falling.
Indeed, another option would be best.
So, Jardine, a fifth-year graduate student, passed out to the
corner to a wide-open Kris Joseph. And Joseph made the decisive
3-pointer that gave No. 2 Syracuse a 64-61 victory on Wednesday
over the No. 12 Hoyas.
The win moved the Orange to 24-1 – 11-1 in the Big East – as
they get set to play another rival, Connecticut (15-8, 5-6), here
Jardine was a nonfactor early, playing just seven minutes in the
opening half against the Hoyas. But he logged every minute from
”I was really trying to get in a rhythm of the game,” said
Jardine, one of 11 finalists – and the only one from the Big East –
for the Bob Cousy Award, given annually to the top point guard in
the nation. ”I was just trying to get what the defense was giving
me. I’m a confident player. I know I can make plays.”
It’s a sign of maturity his coach appreciates.
”He’s going to make a bad play every once in a while, but he
makes good plays,” Jim Boeheim said after his 880th victory, third
all-time in Division I. ”We need him doing that.”
Jardine, a star at Neumann-Goretti High in Philadelphia before
coming to Syracuse, started 10 games as a freshman in 2008-09, then
redshirted the next season while recovering from a stress fracture
in his left leg caused, in part, by carrying too much weight on his
”My redshirt year – when I had basketball taken away from me
because of injury – was the first time I ever went through a year
without basketball in my life. It was tough,” Jardine said. ”I
had to find myself as a person.”
Jardine dropped about 15 pounds and returned with a new resolve,
averaging nearly 10 points and more than four assists despite not
starting one game in 2009-10. He’s started every game since and was
shooting 51 percent from the floor this season before going 1 for 7
against the Hoyas.
On the season, Jardine is averaging 8.2 points and 4.9 assists
in just 23 minutes.
”I’m more efficient this year,” said Jardine, second on the
team with 35 steals. ”My scoring has been down, but my goal coming
into this season was to be a special person on our team, be the
person that does the things that nobody else does.
”I just focus on being efficient, being there when they need
me, and playing as hard as I can the time I’m in the game,” he
In the past eight games, he has 58 assists and only 15
”It’s a different mindset,” Jardine said. ”Now, I think I’m a
much smarter Scoop, a year older. That’s what I need to be.
Everybody knows I can go out and score or try to put the team on my
back. Throughout my career I’ve been doing that. For the most part,
it’s doing it now in the right moments, making the right play to
win us a basketball game.”
Deep inside, Jardine probably won’t ever change. He’s still the
same guy who once threw a half-court, alley-oop pass in a high
school playoff game that clicked, propelling his team to a lopsided
”There are things that he does that reward you sometimes,”
said Carl Arrigale, Jardine’s high school coach. ”And sometimes,
when better judgment should be made, it’s not always the top
Jardine marvels at his long journey with the Orange. He could
have opted not to return, having graduated last May, but chose to
stay because Boeheim said the team had the chance to be
So far, that assessment has been accurate.
”It’s helped me grow so much,” Jardine said. ”Everything I
went through here, there was a reason for it. Everything happens
for a reason.
”I can’t even put into words how much it helped me,” he