On Feb. 12, Pittsburgh Panthers fans inside their home arena yelled and jumped up and down with 4.4 seconds remaining against the Syracuse Orange. Pitt fans had reason to feel confident. The Panthers led the Orange 56-55, and the Orange were about to inbound the ball from their own baseline. Many 19-year-old freshman point guards would have crumbled in that moment. Instead, Tyler Ennis thrived. He caught the inbounds pass just a few feet from the baseline and sprinted upcourt. Two Pitt defenders confronted him by the time he reached midcourt, but Ennis chugged forward. With 1.5 seconds remaining, Ennis launched a shot from 35 feet. It went in. Game over. "I think you kind of have to have a different mentality to want to take the last shot of the game and be able to make it," Ennis says now. "I think as a freshman point guard it's not very common at the college level. But I think the shot at Pittsburgh kind of opened everybody's eyes a little bit more." Now, with the 2014 NBA Draft approaching, everyone's eyes are open about Ennis. Australia's Dante Exum and Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart are expected to be drafted before Ennis, but talent evaluators within some front offices think Exum and Smart are better suited to play shooting guard than point guard. There isn't any doubt, however, that Ennis is a true point guard — a point guard who looks to pass first and shoot second. "He's not somebody that's going to have a big learning curve," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim says. "He understands. He's smart. I've had four or five point guards taken in the first round, and I probably did less with him in terms of getting him to do things, or coaching him to do things, than anybody that I've coached." The list of point guards Boeheim has coached includes Dwayne "Pearl" Washington, Sherman Douglas, Jonny Flynn and the 2013-14 NBA Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams.
Syracuse's Tyler Ennis could be the 2014 NBA Draft's best true point guard
Orlando Sentinel | Jun 17