Understandably, Syracuse fans are fully focused on Saturday’s Final Four game against North Carolina. However, this miracle run to the Final Four will certainly impact the Orange next season and beyond. This NCAA tournament has showcased the future of the Orange even more than it has shown the present. Malachi Richardson has come into his own and shown just how talented he is. Tyler Lydon has shown glimpses of what could make him a special player in the future.
Malachi Richardson’s second half against UVa in the Elite Eight should give Orange fans hope for both the Final Four game, and next season. It is possible, maybe even likely, that Malachi will declare for the NBA Draft. However, the new rules will allow him to get the experience of being evaluated by NBA scouts and come back next season, assuming he withdraws his name by April 10th and 11:59 P.M. You can read about the new draft and eligibility rules here.
Tyler Lydon hasn’t delivered a performance quite like what Richardson did against UVa, but he has steadily improved all season and has come up with some huge plays down the stretch, none bigger than the game sealing block against Gonzaga in the Sweet 16. Lydon, one would have to think, will certainly be back next season and if he can put on some weight and continue to develop on the defensive end, he can be a special player for the Orange.
The fact that the young guns, not Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney, have carried the Orange of late is a great sign. There was a time where Orange fans could have been worried that once Gbinije left, there would be little scoring on this team. Syracuse fans will surely be feeling better about the future now.
Richardson and Lydon will be joined by a couple of talented freshmen next season in Tyus Battle and Matthew Moyer. This Final Four run, which has been fueled by a freshmen class that is part of the new era of Syracuse basketball, illustrates that Syracuse basketball may just be out of its mini-slump and be back to being big-time program. The future is bright on the Hill.