Syracuse Basketball: Cole Swider, beyond shooting, having a huge impact

Syracuse basketball, Cole Swider (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball, Cole Swider (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) /

Syracuse basketball senior forward Cole Swider never averaged more than 20 minutes a game of court time in his three seasons suiting up for former Big East Conference rival Villanova.

The 6-foot-9 Swider, a talented shooter who is more athletic than I think some people give him credit for, hasn’t quite found his rhythm from beyond the arc through the Orange’s first two games in the 2021-22 stanza, which were both home wins.

But as Swider adjusts to his larger role with the ‘Cuse, as he’s averaging 32.5 minutes per contest of run so far, the lengthy forward is having a huge impact for the Orange in areas that extend beyond draining 3-pointers.

Case in point, when Syracuse basketball knocked off a good Drexel team by 15 points from the Carrier Dome on Sunday night, Swider chipped in a solid 11 points, although he was “only” 1-of-4 from deep, according to a box score provided by

However, Swider also registered five boards, four assists and a stellar five steals. In his post-game press conference following the victory over Drexel, head coach Jim Boeheim said that Swider’s defense has proven really good so far in 2021-22.

Syracuse basketball forward Cole Swider does much besides just shooting.

It’s true that the current ‘Cuse roster is filled with sharp-shooters from beyond the arc, including Swider, senior shooting guard Buddy Boeheim, junior point guard Joe Girard III and even graduate student forward Jimmy Boeheim.

Opponents are going to play up quite close on these shooters, as we’ve already seen, and that means Swider and other Orange players will have to put the ball on the deck to grab scoring opportunities in the mid-range and near the rim, according to Jim Boeheim.

The Syracuse basketball head coach says that Swider is working hard to adjust to being a starter and a primary scoring option, after being more of a reserve off of the bench with Villanova.

Through his first two encounters, victories over Lafayette and Drexel, Swider is averaging 12.5 points, 8.5 boards, 3.0 assists and 3.5 steals per affair, says the ESPN Web site.

According to statistics on the ACC’s Web site, he resided within the top-10 overall in rebounding, as well as No. 3 within the league in steals, at the time of this writing. That’s pretty good.

Oh, and Swider’s 8.5 rebounds a game are best on the ‘Cuse roster. So while he’s shooting a so-so 27.3 percent from 3-point land to date, I expect that percentage to climb.

In the meantime, Swider is doing a lot of positive things to help the Orange succeed.

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