Well, the speculation we all hoped would prove to be unfounded has unfortunately come to fruition: Taurean Thompson has left Syracuse University. The 6-foot-10 scoring forward was the subject of plenty of rumors, and has been since his recruitment, but now his career with the Orange has finished in as bizarre a manner as his signing.
I alluded to Thompson’s status being up in the air yesterday but didn’t want to get into it, and his leaving certainly puts the 2017-18 roster in a tricky position. He was one of only two proven scorers returning to the roster, along with Tyus Battle, and now point production is going to be a serious question mark this year unless one of the young forwards is able to step up in a big way.
Donna Ditota of Syracuse.com goes into greater depth on what Thompson’s plans are – or at least, what people can gather are his plans since he’s basically dropped off the radar, not even communicating with teammates.
The buzz around Thompson’s recruitment last year was that his mother was adamantly against him committing to Syracuse, preferring he stay home and play someplace closer like Seton Hall, and that certainly lines up with Ditota’s article noting supposed “family health issues” closer to home.
So now, Syracuse moves forward without an offensive talent who nevertheless was a serious liability on defense, and who could never seem to figure out how to play the 2-3 zone and sometimes struggled to rebound. He’s about as talented offensively as any low post player the Orange have had in years, but if chemistry issues were going to be following him around this year, along with his inability (or lack of desire) to play defense, we can only hope it winds up being addition by subtraction.
Now’s when you start looking for potential silver lining, including increased opportunities for young players like Matt Moyer, Oshae Brissett, Marek Dolezaj, and Bourama Sidibe. There’s also the matter of Thompson’s leaving opening up one more scholarship for 2018, which in all likelihood will give Syracuse four open spots in the class (Geno Thorpe’s graduation, Tyus Battle likely leaving for the NBA, the NCAA granting one more back, and now Thompson’s open spot).
With Darius Bazley already committed and Jalen Carey the next biggest priority, the Orange now have room to not only continue their pursuit of Dimon Carrigan or Nate Roberts, but can go all in on Louis King with the knowledge that they’ve got one more scholarship to fill. And if the Orange can use Thompson’s scholarship to land a stud like Lou King, maybe it’ll wind up being a blessing in disguise.
Or, as Monty Python taught us…