How did Frank Howard earn the green light to shoot from Jim Boeheim?

first_imgOne week after last season ended Frank Howard realized he needed a change. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim had essentially banned him from shooting jumpers.Howard made just 18-of-63 field goals and averaged 1.6 points per game. He finished the year on a 5-for-14 stretch in the final nine games.“He’s a different player,” Boeheim said. “He put on a lot of weight … He’s just a stronger player and he’s shooting it better.”Two-hundred and twenty-four days since SU’s Final Four loss, Howard’s improved jump shot was on display. He helped lead No. 19 Syracuse (1-0) to an 83-55 victory in its season opener on Friday night in the Carrier Dome. He shot 4-for-4 from the field, including three 3s. He also dished out nine assists in 22 minutes to round out his game.“He’s going to really surprise people this year I think,” fellow point guard John Gillon said.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHoward worked with trainers and went back to the film in the offseason. He was shooting the ball from his palm when it should have come from his fingertips. He was pushing it through the air. He had to keep his shoulders square.The summer workouts were simple. Step in front of the basket and take 20 shots with one hand. Twenty shots with two hands. Over and over. He’d record himself shooting around in the gym, watch it back and try to fix his mistakes.“I just had to shoot like I was a little kid,” Howard said. “Just trying to break it down and just go back to shooting how I was in high school.”In Syracuse’s season opener, the adjustment paid off. He made two 3-pointers all of last season. Within the first 23 minutes of SU’s 2016-17 campaign, Howard made three.The first came off a Tyler Lydon assist and after sinking the 3 from the right wing, Howard jammed three fingers into the side of his head to celebrate. The play pushed Syracuse’s early lead to five and capped off a 7-0 run that put the Orange ahead for good.The second also came from the right wing on an assist from Gillon amid a 17-point SU run to put Syracuse up, 40-25. Once again, Howard jammed three fingers into the side of his head.A season ago, Boeheim said that if Howard continued to take 10-foot floaters, he’d come out of the game. On Friday night, the 41-year head coach said Howard now has the green light.“I’m glad I could shoot the ball again,” Howard said.Howard’s improved scoring ability helps his passing, Boeheim said. Howard racked up six assists in just over the first eight minutes of the game.On Syracuse’s first possession of the season, Howard drew in the defense with the dribble and slipped a pass to Tyler Roberson down low for a dunk.Howard’s nine assists went to four different players.“My job is to get everybody involved and put points on the board,” Howard said.A year ago, Howard averaged 10.5 minutes per game. But as one of just four returners and now a starter for the Orange, Howard has taken on a bigger role.Friday night could be just a taste of what’s to come.“I want to make this like a normal thing,” Howard said. “I don’t want to get too high on it.” Comments Published on November 11, 2016 at 11:27 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschweds Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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