Update 3:37 pm: Malachi Richardson has reportedly told NBA teams that he will stay in the draft. This means that he cannot return to Syracuse.
With the recruitment of Taurean Thompson still up in the air and the shock of Mark Coyle’s departure slightly wearing off, most Syracuse fans have their eyes on the NBA Draft Combine, where Malachi Richardson is attempting to persuade NBA General Managers to take him in the first round. All indications are that if Richardson is guaranteed to be a first round pick by an NBA GM, he will keep his name in the draft and not return to Syracuse.
It has certainly been a weird week in terms of news coming on the Richardson front. It began with the story that Richardson would not participate in 5-on-5 scrimmages at the Combine. Many believed that this was because he didn’t want to risk injury and was already assured of his prospects as he has climbed many big boards. However, it has since come out that Richardson is recovering from a back injury and that was why he elected not to participate.
It has to be mentioned, though this article is really about Richardson, that Michael Gbinije did participate in the 5-on-5 scrimmages, and he, reportedly, turned some heads. Gbinije put up 13 points in the scrimmage and supposedly helped his own cause with his play at both ends of the floor.
More news came out on Thursday about Richardson. It was confirmed by several sources that Richardson is indeed seeking assurance that he is a first round pick. However, NBA Draft expert Jonathan Wasserman tweeted that Richardson has yet to receive that assurance. Around the same time, ESPN college basketball analyst tweeted that every indication shows that Richardson will stay in the draft. Thursday afternoon, Richardson tweeted “This has been the opportunity of a lifetime. So thankful!” It is anyone’s guess what that could mean. My advice, don’t read too much into it.
Syracuse fans received more bad news this morning when it came out that Richardson will be interviewed by thirteen teams at the Combine, the maximum number of interviews permitted. The Combine continues through Sunday.