Like father, Like son: Buddy Boeheim finds on-court success at Syracuse

Like a lot of new players adjusting to a higher level of basketball, Buddy Boeheim struggled out of the gate during his freshman season at Syracuse. Over the first 15 games of the 2018-19 season, Boeheim averaged 11.9 minutes and 3.7 points per game — while shooting 25.5 percent on his 3-point attempts (3.1 3PA per game).

Boeheim came on strong to finish his rookie season, though; the 6-foot-6 wing shot 40.7 percent on 3-point attempts in ACC play (No. 8 in the conference), with an effective shooting rate of 59.9 percent.

The game plan for Boeheim that year was simple: spot-up around Tyus Battle and shoot off the catch from deep. It worked: over 70 percent of his field goal attempts were of the 3-point variety, and 94 percent of his made 3s were assisted.

According to Synergy Sports, Boeheim scored 1.09 points per possession (53.1 eFG%) on spot-up no-dribble jumpers that season, too. This ranked fifth among ACC rookies with 40+ field goal attempts — behind Coby White, Devin Vassell, Micahel Devoe and Dane Goodwin.

Boeheim attempted only 33 off-dribble jump shots in the half court, per Synergy (11-of-33 FGA, 33.3 FG%).


Making the jump

During his sophomore season, Boeheim took on a larger role with slight alterations to his shot profile. While the Jalen Carey experience never got off the ground, unfortunately, the offense shifted to Elijah Hughes as its on-ball alpha; later in the year, Joe Girard emerged, too.

Hughes saw his usage rate jump up to 25.7 percent, while his assist rate doubled from 10 to 20 percent. In terms of pure volume, Hughes led the ACC in minutes, field goal attempts (464 FGA) and finished fourth with 166 free throw attempts.

As a sophomore, 60.2 percent of Boeheim’s field goal attempts came from beyond the arc. Boeheim’s 262 3-point attempts (37 3P%) were the most in the league, too.

Once again, Boeheim did damage from the wing: 1.13 points per possession (56.4 eFG%) on catch-and-shoot opportunities.

Among ACC players with 100+ catch-and-shoot attempts, Boeheim ranked seventh in efficiency. According to Synergy, Boeheim led the league in both catch-and-shoot attempts (180 FGA) and points (203). Similar to his freshman year, nearly 94 percent of his 3-point makes were assisted.

Boeheim also posted an effective shooting rate of 53.3 percent off screens this season, which is a strong number.

However, like Hughes, Boeheim managed to show added off-dribble proficiency. Boeheim attempted 135 off-dribble field goals (41.1 eFG%) in the half court this season, which led the ACC — an increase of 102 from the year prior. That accounts for 31.1 percent of Boeheim’s total field goal attempts.

Along with Hughes and Girard, Boeheim was one of only nine ACC players with 100+ off-dribble attempts this season.


Next Season

On paper, Syracuse has a strong squad for the 2020-21 season. Girard and Boeheim are an excellent backcourt; Marek Dolezaj checks a variety of boxes (3.4 percent block rate), while working as a sneaky good empty-side screen-roll rim-runner. Quincy Guerrier is a blue-collar star on the rise for Syracuse, too: 5.1 percent block rate, 10 percent offensive rebound rate.

Bourama Sidibe constantly battles foul trouble (6.8 fouls committed per 40 minutes); however, he impacts the game from the middle of Syracuse’s zone. Last season, Sidibe was the only ACC player with a seven percent block rate and three percent steal rate.

If Illinois transfer Alan Griffin gains immediate eligibility, then Syracuse adds one of the most efficient offensive players in the country to its 2020 rotation. Factor in underrated incoming freshman Kadary Richmond, and Syracuse has the potential to have its deepest roster in several years.

For a variety of reasons, it’s certainly no walk in the park to play for your father, especially when it’s Jim Boeheim, one of the sport’s absolute pillars. But Buddy Boeheim, a former 3-star prospect, has quickly proven that he can make a name for himself.


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