On the same day Jerami Grant decided to forgo his junior season at Syracuse for the NBA draft, Franklin Howard announced his pledge to the Orange. Howard joins Malachi Richardson and Tyler Lydon in the 2015 class.
But let’s start with the bad news.
Grant’s decision is not so much surprising as it is disheartening for Orange fans, knowing what his absence will mean for next year’s squad. Grant was one of the three major threats for the Orange last season. With Fair graduating and Ennis already declared for the draft, Syracuse will look to new faces to lead the team.
Although it does not look pretty on paper, a positive for the Orange is the amount of raw talent on the roster. Trevor Cooney did not have a great finish to the season but did show flashes of what he can do early on. He also attacked the rim far more than in his previous season, which could give him some more space to work with on the perimeter. Michael Gbinije is the player to look for to take the next step. The swingman showed his ability to control the top of the key, hit shots from behind the arc, and drive to the hoop. 5-star recruit Chris McCullough and Kaleb Joseph, who is ranked as the ninth-best point guard in the 2015 class according to ESPN, will also join the team next year.
The issue for the Orange is how unproven the talent is. Jim Boeheim admitted at the end of the regular season how Tyler Roberson could not help the team despite flashes of good play. Roberson, along with Ron Patterson and B.J. Johnson, will all see a major increase in minutes to prove their worth.
However, the silver lining to the day was Franklin Howard’s commitment to the Orange. When asked on CSN what he was looking for in a school, Howard responded:
“Basically just a family environment. I want to feel love around the campus life and around the basketball program. A very strong fan base and somewhere I want to be for four years.”
Howard has the physical attributes of a player who can take over a game. The 6’5”, 185-pound D.C. native is a combo guard who is officially listed as a shooting guard. Adrian Autry, an assistant on Boeheim’s staff, was crucial to Howard’s recruitment. Autry was an assistant on both Howard’s high school team and AAU squad. The ACC factor also does not hurt as Howard grew up watching ACC teams.
Referring to Boeheim, Howard went on to say:
“[Boeheim] is such a historic coach. It doesn’t get any better than Boeheim. He is a top-5 coach of all-time. They have a great guard development at Syracuse so I would fit in very well there.”
If there is any positive of Syracuse players leaving leave for the draft, it is that recruiting has sure benefited.
A 4-star recruit, Howard will add a lot of talent to a 2015 class that is looking to add even more.
Posted by: Zephan Mayell