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Yesterday we got some pretty bad news about Syracuse basketball, but it’s a new day, and it’s time to look toward the future of the Orange basketball program. One player that Jim Boeheim and his staff are hoping is a part of that future is Louis King, the elite wing who just today released a final eight, with Syracuse firmly in the mix.

I wrote a little bit about King in my assessment of Darius Bazley from the Nike Basketball Academy game that was played a couple weeks ago. That game was the first full game I’ve been able to see for the 6-foot-7 small forward, who surprised me a bit at just how skilled and versatile a player he is. I knew he was good, but I wasn’t expecting him to be that good.

Now, keep in mind that during that game, it was a bit of a tale of two halves for King; he was perhaps the best player on the floor in the first half, but faded into the background after halftime. Still, he finished that game with 18 points, scoring at all three levels while also facilitating the offense for his squad. His ball handling and passing skills are beyond what I was anticipating, and he’s now become one of my favorite prospects in this year’s class. I truly believe he’s a potential lottery pick a couple years down the road, with his size, athleticism, and skillset.

It’s a little hard to get a read on who might be the toughest competition for King, and frankly I’m a little surprised to see that Louisville is no longer in the mix. Oregon seems to be gaining some serious traction with King, and could wind up being big-time competition.

For right now, though, it’s safe to say that Syracuse has about as good a shot as anyone else in the final eight… though that could all go out the window if King ever gets that Kentucky offer he’s been pretty open about wanting. Similar to how all it took for Duke to land Jordan Tucker was an offer last season, the same is probably true with King if John Calipari ever comes calling.

As I mentioned yesterday, if there’s a silver lining to Taurean Thompson’s departure it’s the virtual certainty that Syracuse now has a fourth scholarship for the 2018 class, meaning that Boeheim and his staff will no longer be forced to pick between a post player like Nate Roberts or Dimon Carrigan, or a wing like Louis King. Now, the full court press can be applied to both positions, which bolsters Syracuse’s chances of landing King, who is generally considered a top 15 talent in the class.

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Jeff is a 2003 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been published on various websites including Cracked.com, Spike.com, TheSportster.com, Gunaxin.com, and TopTenz.net, among others. His work was featured in the New York Times bestselling book You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News. He’s got a wife, and a toddler he’s brainwashing to love Syracuse. Jeff’s a pretty great guy, overall, and would never steal your car. Follow him on Twitter: @jekelish