Insider knows you're hot for hoops during the summer, so we're bringing you a closer look at a few of the high-profile programs before most freshmen have even moved into their dorms. We continue with Syracuse today.
Ask Jim Boeheim and he'll tell you that his Syracuse Orange had a good season in 2010-11. Good. Not great.
So what was missing that would have taken Syracuse to a superior superlative? Well, more postseason success for starters. But explaining how a talented collection of top college players fell short proves challenging.
Statistically, the Orange profiled as one of the nation's top teams. Ken Pomeroy's rankings placed them as the nation's 11th-best squad at season's end. That seems to indicate the missing link was more intangible in nature, one that might have been addressed this summer by an unlikely source ... NBA All-Star Chris Paul.
While Paul won't be dropping dimes in the Carrier Dome, his impact has been of a more professorial sort, tutoring senior point guard Scoop Jardine at the Hornets guard's camp this June. Scoop's takeaway from the time spent with the NBA superstar:
"Chris Paul's a student of the game and his dedication is the reason he's really as good as he is," Jardine said. "He's a basketball fanatic and seeing how much he works at it, I think I need to pick up my level a little bit."
To that end, Jardine's been rising for 5:30 a.m. workouts all summer, hitting the weights at dawn, scrutinizing scouting videos and putting up shots after dusk. Hard work, desire, dedication -- perhaps that's the difference between making a second-round NCAA tournament exit and lingering longer on the road to the Final Four.