True freshman Jerami Grant has been a bit of a surprise contributor early in the season. He has shown extreme athletic ability, hustles on every play, and has a nose for the ball. Those abilities have allowed him to see the floor in every game this year, including the win against Rutgers on Wednesday.
"I feel like the team did great today," Grant admitted. "We came out with a lot of energy. I feel like this game was a big step for us as a team. It's the first Big East game, and we just wanted to set an example for everybody.
"We've definitely been working on outside shooting. We've been working on a lot of things. I feel like our guard play today was amazing. Trevor Cooney, Brandon Triche, and Michael Carter-Williams. Even James Southerland and C.J. Fair. Everybody stepped up today. Even the bigs too."
One of the biggest transitions any athlete makes is from high school to college. That is no exception for Grant who has been adjusting to life as a member of the Orange squad. Lucky for him, there are some veterans who are showing him the ropes.
"It's been a little tough to be honest," Grant explained. "But definitely I've been just sticking by James Southerland and C.J. Fair. They've been showing me things to do to get on the floor and stay on the floor. So I've just been listening to them and trying to do what they tell me."
"I think I'm pretty comfortable with the zone," Grant claimed. "It was a bit of an adjustment at first, but I'm good now. We go over it every day in practice, sometimes twice. I'm definitely getting more comfortable as the year goes on. I feel like I'm comfortable now."
When Grant does get into the game, he has an aggressive mentality. He uses his superior athletic ability to attack the rim and that has allowed him to have early success.
"Definitely when I get in I want to attack the basket," Grant said. "Like in this game. When I got the ball, I saw an open lane. So I drove it immediately because you don't get a lot of open lanes like that. The guy that made the play on me didn't really go for the ball, so that made it tough to finish. But at the same time, it was possible, so I'm working on doing that.
"Attacking the basket is what I try to do when I'm out there. The coaches tell me to do that and I feel comfortable doing it."
The Syracuse coaching staff sees a lot of potential in the 6-foot-8 freshman. They continue to coach him up and develop the talented forward.
"Just keep playing hard," Grant recalled. "Rebounding and blocking shots. That's what they said they need from me so that's what I try to do. Just keep doing everything I'm supposed to do. Make good decisions."