So, the last couple weeks have been a little tough for Syracuse basketball fans. First, the Orange got bounced from the tournament by a double-digit seed in the round of 32. Then, Tyler Ennis declared for the draft, breaking thousands of Orange hearts in the process. And just today, Jerami Grant announced he’ll be joining Tyler in the draft. But it’s okay. Franklin Howard is here to make things better.
And that’s all because the silky smooth combo guard from Virginia has announced he’ll be a part of Syracuse’s recruiting class of 2015, joining Malachi Richardson and Tyler Lydon. Howard is a combo guard right now but is believed to have been recruited primarily to run the point, and some recruiting insiders believe he’s got the same sort of potential as a young Michael Carter-Williams, to go along with the same sort of length and athleticism that the soon-to-be NBA Rookie of the Year brought to the table.
The 6-foot-5 Howard is a fringe top-50 player if you were to go by most recruiting services, but that is a little misleading. See, he missed his entire junior season due to an ACL injury, so he kind of fell off the map a bit because as we all know, recruiting “gurus” have the attention spans of retarded kittens. The bottom line is that the Syracuse coaching staff sees big things in Howard’s future, and in case people have forgotten, the last time the Orange recruited a Metro-Atlantic player coming off an ACL injury things worked out just fine.
Howard is described as a smooth, athletic guard with a knack for driving and finishing in the paint and a solid ability to stick the three as a spot up shooter. He’s skinny, and he needs to refine his game a little bit, but all indications are that if he comes back strong from his injury he’ll be one heck of an asset down the road with the potential to explode as a prospect. Jim Boeheim and Mike Hopkins have always been able to lock onto interesting guard prospects like Howard in the early recruiting stages, and their eye for talent over the last decade rarely misses.
It’s pretty telling what kind of player Howard could be when you look at his offer list, which includes the likes of Georgetown, Virginia, Ohio State, and Maryland. He’s a player with a ton of upside, and when you think about combining him with an elite shooter and scorer like Malachi Richardson at the off guard position that makes for a tantalizing potential back court duo.
Considering we should probably expect Kaleb Joseph to return for a sophomore season, and the fact that the Orange are considered one of the leaders for Tyus Battle, arguably the best point guard prospect in the class of 2016, the future is exceptionally bright when it comes to Syracuse guard prospects.