Syracuse. Full disclosure, I’ve had this article written since June 9. But after all of the waiting, all of the speculation and handwringing, the class of 2016 big man has decided, at long last, to commit to Jim Boeheim and the Orange. The top 100 power forward joins Tyus Battle and Matthew Moyer in Syracuse’s recruiting class, and brings the number of scholarship players up to nine as it currently stands.

In a recruitment that felt like it lasted an eternity, Syracuse adds a valuable piece to the puzzle; not necessarily for the upcoming season, but moving forward. The 6-foot-9 Thompson adds a ton of value as added depth at the power forward and center positions, and this should all but assure that Tyler Lydon doesn’t see a minute at center this year and can focus almost exclusively on becoming a small forward.

But where Thompson – who chose the Orange over Seton Hall and Michigan State – will really pay dividends is in the 2017-2018 season, which will include a massive overhaul of the Syracuse roster. The Orange will be losing Dajuan Coleman and Tyler Roberson, and could very well lose Lydon as well. Thompson would be the odds on favorite to start at power forward on that year’s roster.

Thompson’s addition, as mentioned before, also just helps in general from a numbers standpoint this year. Syracuse already had eight talented scholarship players, but when those are your only eight players…that’s not ideal. With nine, at least, that assures that you only need to rely on one walk-on for scrimmages and drills in practice. It’s going to do the starters a hell of a lot more good going against Taurean Thompson than any of the team’s walk-ons. And with Andrew White visiting campus right now, Syracuse is suddenly in position to potentially have 10 scholarship guys on the roster next year.

Just as importantly as adding Thompson from a talent and depth standpoint, this also probably closes the door on the class of 2016. Syracuse can turn its full attention to the class of 2017, which includes some sensational prospects that the Orange are involved with, including Quade Green, Hamidou Diallo, Brandon Randolph, Ethan Thompson, Nick Richards, and more. Thompson lessens the need to bring in more interior players, and gives the staff a chance to really focus on wing players.

This is a big win for Syracuse. And just as crucial, it enables Orange fans to finally let out a long, well deserved sigh of relief.

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