Southerland fights Syracuse 'stereotype'

Southerland fights Syracuse 'stereotype'
June 7, 2013, 8:30 am
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Wizards take a look at possible 2nd rounders

Players from Syracuse tend to face unique questions, such as how they will adapt to the NBA on the defensive end after exclusively playing a 2-3 matchup zone.

Compounding the problems of perception for sharpshooter James Southerland is that he’s viewed as one-dimensional because his role with the Orange was to spot up and shoot.

He did it well, averaging 13.3 points on 45% shooting, including 40% from three-point range.

“It’s tough. Being there for four years, not playing for two years and finally getting in the mix my junior year its like every year I went into a new position,” said Southerland, a 6-7 small forward with a 7-1 wingspan. “It’s definitely a stereotype, especially coming out of Syracuse (playing) 2-3 zone.

“But I’m sure people understand that we've been playing man-to-man from like the time I was born to high school then I get to college and playing 2-3. It’s the complete opposite of playing man-to-man but at the same time we've been adjusting since we've been playing the game. We adjusted to the Syracuse system. Now we adjust to the NBA system.”

Southerland worked out for the Wizards, who need to find a marksman who can provide instant offense, on Thursday. They averaged an NBA-low 93.2 points per game.

Washington should be familiar with Southerland. He went 0-for-8 and only scored one point in a 61-39 loss to then-Big East Conference foe Georgetown at Verizon Center. He had 13 points, three blocks and two steals in the 58-55 overtime win in the conference tournament.

“D.C. is a great place to be. Even though it’s Georgetown’s place, I kind of feel like I’m at home,” he said. “I've got a lot great memories in here.”

Southerland insists he’s a sleeper in the draft, but even if he gets taken it likely won’t be until the second round. The Wizards have the Nos. 3, 38 and 54 picks but have said they would prefer to not use both of the latter two.

“People are underestimating my athleticism, the energy I bring and also leadership," Southerland said. “I’m definitely talkative.”