Syracuse Basketball: Cole Swider could absolutely lead the team in scoring

Cole Swider, Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Albert Cesare/IndyStar via USA TODAY Sports)
Cole Swider, Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Albert Cesare/IndyStar via USA TODAY Sports) /

Syracuse basketball senior forward Cole Swider, a transfer from Villanova in the off-season, performed at a lights-out level in the Orange’s two exhibition romps.

Yeah, yeah. I know, these are only exhibition tune-ups, with the 2021-22 regular season just around the corner, as the ‘Cuse will get going on an official basis when it hosts Lafayette on Tuesday, Nov. 9.

But still, one has to feel pretty darn good about how the 6-foot-9 Swider has fared as Syracuse basketball crushed Pace and, more recently, Le Moyne inside the Carrier Dome.

Let’s quickly recap. According to the Orange’s Twitter page, versus Pace, Swider finished with 21 points, as he connected on a ridiculous 8-of-10 from the field and 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. He also registered six rebounds and three assists during a 79-60 win.

Versus Le Moyne, per statistics provided by, Swider played 27 minutes, compiling 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field and 4-of-8 from 3-point land. He also produced four boards, five dimes and one steal in a 90-50 victory.

Syracuse basketball has a sharp-shooter in forward Cole Swider.

For someone who shoots the ball so well from the perimeter, Swider has an additional advantage in that he possesses terrific height and length. This will allow him to shoot with precision over opponents, whether he’s defended by a big guard or a forward.

Going all the way back to when the ‘Cuse coaching staff originally recruited Swider out of high school a few years ago, he has been known for his long-distance shooting.

But what has me excited about Swider, at least in terms of what he showed in the two exhibition encounters, is that he’s more than capable of spotting up from the mid-range or driving to the rim with authority.

Now, I’m not saying that Swider is the most athletic guy out there, and he will have to continue to work on his defense in the 2-3 zone, as well as his rebounding on both ends of the floor.

However, he seems to be able to score with proficiency in a variety of ways, and I think that’s vital, because the Orange doesn’t want opposing teams to simply hone in on Syracuse basketball shooters from beyond the arc.

If Swider and others on the ‘Cuse roster are adept in scoring in the paint, for example, then that keeps defenders honest, and it also enables the Orange to remain competitive, even if its players are having off nights from deep.

Syracuse basketball senior shooting guard Buddy Boeheim led the squad in scoring a stanza ago, collecting nearly 18 points per affair. And the general assumption is that Boeheim will, yet again, pace the team in the points department.

That being said, given Boeheim’s many pre-season All-American accolades after catching fire in the post-season this past spring, I would imagine that ‘Cuse foes will do everything possible to keep the ball out of his hands.

In turn, this should free up Swider to receive some open looks, especially considering that the Orange has another long-range specialist in junior point guard Joe Girard III.

Swider has said in interviews that he learned a lot while suiting up for Villanova, which captured recent national championships in 2016 and 2018.

In a post-game press conference following the Le Moyne game, Swider did note that he thinks his skill-set fits in better with Syracuse basketball.

I hope that he’s right. Because I, for one, think that he could give Buddy Buckets a run for his money as it pertains to which ‘Cuse player will lead the team in scoring this season.

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