Senior forward James Southerland has become known as the deep shooter off the bench for the majority of his career as a member of the Syracuse Orange men's basketball team.
With Kris Joseph graduating, that definition no longer summarizes what Southerland is expected to be. To Southerland, simply being an outside shooter has never summarized his game.
"I always knew I had an inside game, mid-range, nice mid-range…post-up," said Southerland.
Southerland shared that this season, he can play inside-out as opposed to outside-in, going to the basket or taking a short jumper instead of simply going to the deep ball.
"Being patient and seeing what the defense gives me" has been the motto for Southerland this season. "If they're pressuring me, I have no problem putting it on the floor and getting to the basket or find open guys."
In the team's last two games, Southerland has made eight of his 10 attempts from inside the arc, sharing no fear in rising toward the rim.
But Southerland does not attribute his success merely to his play. "I really feel like Michael Carter-Williams is one of the best point guards I played with," shared Southerland. "He knows his personnel very well, and he has a great IQ."
Carter-Williams was directly connected to Southerland's career night, when he threw the ball over his left shoulder to a cutting Southerland on an assist that led to the dunk that gave Southerland his best scoring outing of his four seasons at Syracuse.
Southerland stated that Carter-Williams was well aware once he tied his career high of 19 points. "After he (Carter-Williams) heard it on the loudspeaker, I knew he was looking for me and he did a great job of finding [me]," said Southerland.
"I feel great getting my dunk as my career-high point," Southerland expressed with a smile of the slam that rose him to a new single-game best.
Before that play even occurred, Southerland led the team in scoring going into the half versus Princeton. His 11 points were more than any starter had achieved and also made him the only Syracuse player in double figures at the break. Southerland spoke on what his contribution off the bench means for the Orange. "Oh it's very important," stated Southerland. "Especially, when you're the first guy out there, you're expected to produce."
Southerland has scored in double figures in the last two of Syracuse's first three games of the season. He has also aided the team with defensive rebounds while working to grab some boards on the offensive side, as well as achieved at least one block in all three games. Add in that Southerland set another single-game record in his career this season with five steals against Princeton and it is clear that Southerland's importance so far this season cannot and should not be understated.