Getting high level recruits isn’t exactly a new thing for Syracuse and Jim Boeheim. When you hit a certain level on the national scene, as the Orange have during Boeheim’s tenure, the recruits kind of just start coming to you. This year, the Orange have one of the top classes in America, and the guy who may be the best of the bunch is Malachi Richardson.
So what kind of player is Malachi Richardson, anyway? Well, he’s the kind of guy who is good enough to be a possible (nearly probable) McDonald’s All-America pick. Our friend Dean Francis told us that of the four guys currently committed to the Orange, Richardson stands the best chance to be a Burger Boy, and it’s looking like that is indeed the case.
Richardson is the kind of player Syracuse hasn’t really had in awhile: a true scoring guard with tremendous size. For the last few years, Jim Boeheim has recruited guys who are more in the “combo guard” mold, which has happened again with Richardson’s classmate, Frank Howard. Richardson, on the other hand, not only has great size and length at 6-foot-6, but he’s got a true shooting guard’s game.
From what I’ve watched of Richardson, and based on evaluations, I’m going to throw out a comparison I’m not sure a lot of people would immediately jump to: think of a more athletic and explosive Andy Rautins. I don’t know about the rest of you, but that sounds pretty great to me, since Rautins was and will remain one of my favorite Syracuse players in recent memory.
Richardson will be coming to Syracuse with a great reputation as a shooter, which is put on display in the highlight reel above. He’s a good, but not necessarily great athlete, and he’s just incredibly smooth when he takes the basketball court. He also boasts one of the best high top fades I’ve seen in the last 20 years, but that’s not necessarily anything that’s going to help him on the court other than making him tremendously more enjoyable to watch.
Malachi is currently ranked No. 19 nationally by ESPN.com, and while he could stand to add some muscle he’s got a decent frame to add a little bulk – as long as he doesn’t go crazy and impair his shooting stroke, which is the thing Syracuse fans will no doubt be most excited to see.
Between Malachi Richardson and Tyler Lydon, the Orange are going to be loading up on long, athletic shooters with next year’s class. It’s fun to think about what the team could conceivably look like next season with Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinije, Richardson, Lydon, and potentially an improved BJ Johnson (who also came in with a great reputation as a shooter) all on the roster. Shooting has been an issue the past two seasons, but it looks like Boeheim and his staff are trying to remedy that and Malachi Richardson is one hell of a nice cure.