Syracuse basketball evaluations: Rakeem Christmas (video)

Syracuse Orange assistant coach Mike Hopkins on Rakeem Christmas Syracuse Orange assistant coach Mike Hopkins say what the team needs from Rakeem Christmas this year.

Syracuse, N.Y. — We have embarked on a series of videos and brief stories about every one of Syracuse's scholarship basketball players.

The idea is simple: The video will show recent action of the player, with audio provided by his position coach defining the player's strengths and detailing which areas of his game still need work.

Next up:

Rakeem Christmas

Christmas returns for his junior year after starting all but two games in his first two years at Syracuse. The 6-foot-9, 228-pound Christmas boasts a combination of size, strength and athleticism.

Christmas averaged 5.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last year, while splitting time with Baye Moussa Keita and Dajuan Coleman. He blocked 73 shots last year; the fifth-highest total ever for a Syracuse sophomore, in just 20.8 minutes per game.

The Syracuse coaches would love to see more consistency on defense from Christmas and more confidence in his low-post offense. Here's what SU assistant Mike Hopkins, who works with the team's center, had to say about Christmas:


1) Size and strength
2) Athleticism
3) Experience as a starter

What Syracuse wants from him this year

1) Rebounding: See the ball at all times
2) Get the ball in the paint
3) Improved free-throw shooting