Before Monday’s bombshell, the cupboard for the Syracuse men’s basketball team was already pretty barren heading into 2017. Now, the outlook is even bleaker.
Forward Taurean Thompson has withdrawn from school, according to Donna Ditota of Syracuse.com. Classes at SU started Monday, and Thompson is reportedly not on campus.
“We have been informed that Taurean is taking a leave of absence from Syracuse University,” Orange head coach Jim Boeheim said in a statement. “My understanding is he wants to go to school closer to home due to some family health issues.”
We’ve been hearing rumblings of Thompson’s potential departure throughout the summer, and his Syracuse teammates had no idea whether the rising sophomore would return this fall, per Ditota.
As of now, nobody is sure where Thompson will end up in 2017. The New Jersey native chose SU over Michigan State and Seton Hall in July of 2016, a mind-bogglingly late date to commit — he was the last player in ESPN’s top-100 to choose a school, and his recruiting process was extremely drawn-out, featuring parental meddling, waffling, and endless amounts of confusion.
Speaking of parental meddling: Thompson’s mother, Sherese Piper, reportedly favored Seton Hall throughout his recruiting process due to its proximity to the family’s hometown of Jersey City. Rumors of Thompson’s potential transfer to the school are already surfacing, and make a lot of sense.
Thompson wasn’t exactly a superstar as a freshman (9.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 17.9 minutes per game), but he flashed major offensive potential and would — in theory — have grown more comfortable (and look less like a deer in the headlights) in Boeheim’s 2-3 zone.
Without Thompson, the Orange’s uphill climb to the NCAA Tournament becomes even steeper. Syracuse’s second-leading returning scorer is now Franklin Howard, who poured in 4.5 points per game last season. If you just laughed out loud, I can’t blame you.