After a recruiting soap opera that lasted several months and featured waffling, parental interference, and Brett Favre-level indecision, 2016 big man Taurean Thompson has committed to Syracuse, according to Mike Waters of Syracuse.com.
Thompson, a four-star recruit from New Jersey, was also considering Seton Hall — which his mother reportedly preferred because it’s closer to home — and Michigan State. The 6-foot-10 forward, ranked as the 75th-best player in the class of 2016 by 247sports.com, was the final player in ESPN’s top 100 to commit.
Thompson joins Tyus Battle (five-star) and Matthew Moyer (four-star) in the Orange’s class of 2016, which ESPN already ranked 22nd in the nation. After the addition of Thompson, 247sports bumped SU’s class up to no. 17 in the site’s own rankings.
The news bolsters Syracuse’s frontcourt depth, though that wasn’t team’s biggest weakness. The Orange could use an extra guard to supplement its current three-man (Battle, Franklin Howard, and John Gillon) backcourt, but the addition of Thompson allows Moyer and Tyler Lydon to play more small forward — although conventional positions don’t really apply to Jim Boeheim-coached, zone-reliant teams.
Right now, Thompson projects as a wing in the 2-3 zone, but his 6-foot-10 frame and long arms could eventually allow him to anchor the defense as the nominal center — his listed position on several recruiting sites. During this upcoming season, that spot will likely be occupied by DaJuan Coleman, Paschal Chukwu, and, when Jim Boeheim wants to go small, Tyler Lydon.
At this point, Thompson is more of a face-up player — he possesses nice mid-range jumper and plenty of quickness to blow by bigger defenders. His post-up game needs a lot of work, and expect him to develop as a back-to-the-basket player under the SU coaching staff’s tutelage. The New Jersey native will immediately inject some athleticism into the Syracuse roster, and he’ll be lethal in transition, especially when he plays next to Moyer and Battle.
It took a while, but Thompson will be wearing Orange in 2016. Syracuse fans hope he’ll be worth the wait.