Syracuse is going to be looking for plenty of high level talent to fill out the roster next season and beyond, with it looking more and more likely that there will be at least six (and as many as eight) scholarships available. It’ll be what is essentially the first class of the Mike Hopkins era, assuming Jim Boeheim sticks to his timeline, so it’s doubly essential that the Orange find a number of strong players. One such player Hop would love to land just happens to be the son of a former teammate of his: Ethan Thompson.
The 6-foot-4, 170 pound shooting guard is rated by Scout as a 4-star talent and the top shooting guard prospect in California, and is one of a number of scoring guard that the Orange are pursuing, along with Hamidou Diallo, Lonnie Walker, and Brandon Randolph, to name a few. Syracuse would love to land any players out of that group, and with the possibility that Walker could play a bit of small forward at the next level, there’s certainly room for multiple wing scorers in the class of 2017.
Now obviously, the fact that Ethan is Stevie Thompson’s son is a bit of a double-edged sword in this particular recruitment. On the one hand, Ethan is a legacy prospect whose dad has already gone on record for how much it means to have Syracuse offer his son. On the other hand, Stephen Thompson just happens to be one of the top assistants at Oregon State, which is considered the heavy favorite to land Ethan – after all, Stephen Jr. is already playing for the Beavers. Stephen had also previous been the head coach at Cal State Los Angeles.
The eldest Thompson started at Oregon State in 2014, but there’s one thing that could potentially factor into Ethan’s recruitment. If Syracuse sticks to the current timeline for Jim Boeheim to retire, when Mike Hopkins becomes the head coach, there’s going to be an opening for an assistant coach on the staff. Syracuse clearly prefers staying within the Orange family (with notable exceptions like Troy Weaver and Rob Murphy), so it’s not a stretch that Stephen Thompson might be an individual Hop has in mind to join his staff. And with Red Autry one of the hot, up and coming assistant coaches, that’s yet another assistant coaching job that might be open sooner than later.
I’m not saying that Syracuse would give Stephen Thompson a job as an assistant coach just to try to win the recruiting battle for his son. Far from it. Thompson’s a highly qualified coach, and as a West Coast guy, may be looking for a head coaching job in the Pacific time zone before long. But it’s also reasonable to assume he’d be intrigued by a coaching opportunity at his alma mater. And if that happens to help the Orange land his son, all the better.
Now, that all said, what kind of a player is Ethan Thompson? He’s a long, lanky guard who is good at everything, but maybe not elite at anything. He’s a very good, not great athlete. He’s a very good, not great shooter. His handle is very good, but not great. See where I’m going here? In other words, he’s an extremely well-rounded shooting guard who can score at all three levels, and has a high basketball IQ. Watch his highlights above, you’ll see he’s got the ability to finish through contact and displays some nice court vision. He’s also got a reputation as a good defender.
Syracuse is going to need a huge class for what will likely be the first season of the Mike Hopkins era. It would be pretty cool if one of those new pieces happens to be the son of a Syracuse legend, who shared the court with Hop – a fellow Californian – during the newly minted head coach’s freshman season on the Hill.