Niagara Gazette

Sports

January 21, 2008

COLLEGE NOTEBOOK: Jonny points a new way

COMMENTARY

Niagara Falls’ finest — Paul Harris and Jonny Flynn — haven’t proven they’re too good for college basketball in the vein of Kevin Durant or Michael Beasley. Instead, both players seem destined for full careers with the Syracuse Orange, ones that should be fruitful, given the versatility each has shown.

The 6-foot-5 Harris has played everywhere but center and point guard in less than two years at Syracuse. He probably has the ability to play all five spots in coach Jim Boeheim’s vaunted 2-3 zone.

Flynn, the freshman who dubiously claims to be a 6-footer, established himself as the team’s best point guard by halftime of the first fall scrimmage, and in the 10 games prior to scoring guard Eric Devendorf’s season-ending knee injury, Flynn dished out 64 assists and turned the ball over just 26 times.

That assist/turnover ratio has evened out since Devendorf went down, as Flynn has evolved into ripest Orange scorer.

There are plenty of playmaking point guards in the country — including Niagara’s Anthony Nelson, who boasts the highest assist average of any freshman. Many teams have a primary ball-handler capable of averaging 20 points, too.

Boeheim now knows he has that rare point guard who can create shots for himself as well as others. Flynn has averaged just under 24 points in Syracuse’s last three games, a win over Rutgers and losses to Villanova and Georgetown. His 15.4-point scoring average is better than the first-year efforts from Pearl Washington (14.4) and Gerry McNamara (13.3).

With classmate Donte Greene in a shooting funk, Flynn has been the Orange’s only reliable scoring threat. He’s attempted nearly a third of his team’s field goals during this scoring spree.

Not that he’s unfamiliar with this role.

“He’s just got to be aggressive and play like he did in high school,” Harris said after the Villanova loss.

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