Thursday night may not have worked out exactly as Malachi Richardson had hoped. There is no doubt he was hoping to be a lottery pick, and was expecting at the worst to be taken by the Memphis Grizzlies with the 17th pick. He fell to the Sacramento Kings at 22, but the fact that he, and former teammate Michael Gbinije were both drafted, enhances Syracuse’s NBA clout.
Thursday night marked the fifth time in the last six seasons and the third straight time that Syracuse had multiple players taken in the NBA Draft. Most recently, Chris McCullough and Rakeem Christmas were both taken in the 2015 NBA Draft. If both Richardson and Gbinije make their respective NBA rosters next season, there will be ten former Syracuse players in the Association.
The fact that Syracuse has consistently had players drafted into the NBA, and in the first round, can be seen only as a positive. Like it or not, top college basketball recruits are looking for a school that will help them become NBA-ready. There has been talk that Jim Boeheim does not prepare his players as well for the NBA as some other top coaches because of his obsession with the 2-3 zone, which is never played in the NBA.
However, recent history would suggest that Boeheim can not only help a top recruit make it into the NBA, but he can also help someone who is not seen as an NBA player out of high school work his way to the pros. One does not have to look further than the past two drafts. Both Rakeem Christmas and Michael Gbinije would not have been seen as NBA players before their last two seasons at Syracuse. However, they have both been drafted and Christmas has already been given a shot in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers.
It is impossible to know exactly how next year’s NBA Draft will go, including who will even been in it, but one has to figure there is a decent chance that Syracuse has at least one player in the draft next season, whether it be Tyler Lydon, Tyus Batte or both. In short, while Syracuse may be somewhat inconsistent on the court, the program has consistently turned out NBA prospects and one should expect that to continue.