As the NBA Draft approaches, it is important to reflect on the few incredible moments Malachi Richardson provided Syracuse fans, rather than focusing on the anger or worry about his decision. Right away it became clear that Malachi Richardson had some talent. Covering one of the early-season games for the Fizz, I found myself somewhat in awe of Richardson’s shooting stroke and it only improved as the season went on.
There is no doubt that some Syracuse fans will be bitter about Richardson’s decision to leave school after only one season. Many will argue that if he stayed even just one more season, he would be a much higher pick in the draft and he would make more money on his first contract. There is no way to know how things would turn out for both Syracuse and Richardson had he decided to return for the 2016-17 season, but the one thing we do know, is that he gave Orange fans some incredible memories in his short time on the Hill.
Richardson found his way into many Syracuse fan’s hearts (and into Duke fans nightmares) after he showed incredible hustle at the end of Syracuse’s game at Cameron Indoor. He had 14 points in that game, but more importantly grabbed the all important rebound with seconds left on the clock. To make things better for Syracuse fans, he royally ticked off Coach K, who believed Richardson committed a foul while going for the ball. If you haven’t already seen it, check out Coach K’s “amazing” press conference.
And one cannot possibly talk about Richardson without discussing his complete dominance in the Elite Eight against Virginia. Richardson put the team on his back as he went after Malcom Brogdon, one of the best defensive players in the country, and dropped 21 points in the second half. He absolutely carried the team into the Final Four. He went on “that run” which turned around a double-digit deficit in what seemed like no time at all.
So, yes, Richardson is leaving early, Yes, it may seem like a bad decision to some, but at the same time it is his decision to make. Now that the reality has set in and every Syracuse fans know he isn’t coming back, they should look back at his time on the Hill and say thanks for the memories.