Syracuse is off to a fast start in their 2015 class. With one top prospect already in the mix, the Orange snagged one of the most talented wings in the class when Hamilton (N.J.) Trenton Catholic guard Malachi Richardson committed on Friday.
New Jersey has been a solid pipeline for Syracuse over the years. Over the last few, it has become a key area where the Orange recruit top talent. In the 2010 class, Syracuse received a commitment from Dion Waiters who attended Life Center Academy in Burlington.
Richardson's commitment furthers that pipeline. Syracuse first noticed the five star talent while recruiting Roberson a couple of years ago. At the time, Richardson attended Roselle Catholic with Roberson.
New Jersey is a state that is generally rich with college basketball talent. With the Orange constantly in on elite talent, holding a pipeline there never hurts.
No slight to Trevor Cooney or Tyler Ennis, but the Syracuse zone is at its best when there is length and height at the top. Look to the Final Four run of last season with Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche.
Richardson gives them that threat as a shooting guard. He is an elite shooter who can score from everywhere on the floor. His length should be an ideal fit in the zone, allowing him to deflect passes and put pressure on opposing guards.
Think of Richardson's impact as a more athletic, longer Trevor Cooney. He should be able to get out in transition, which Syracuse loves to do and be a legit outside shooting threat right away. His ceiling is very high and he could become a force for the Orange in the ACC.
Where Does Syracuse Go From Here?
Syracuse may not be done in the backcourt in the 2015 class. Franklin Howard is being recruited as a combo guard that could play the point, though he becomes a less likely option with Richardson on board.
Isaiah Briscoe has been long rumored to have Syracuse out front, and the Orange are still involved in his recruitment. They are no longer considered the favorite, but the chance to play point guard for an elite program could be enticing.
If the Orange miss on Briscoe, they could turn to backup options such as Haanif Cheatham or legacy prospect Joey Wallace. It's also possible they view Donte Divicenzo as a potential point guard in the future. That is assuming they believe Ennis is leaving after year two.
The frontcourt will become more of a focus for the rest of the class. Thomas Bryant is still high on the list, but he is starting to pick up more major interest. Derrick Jones is also on the radar as one of the elite wings in the class. He could fill in as a small forward at Syracuse.
The Orange grabbed another elite prospect in Richardson. His length and shooting ability are an ideal fit for Syracuse on both ends of the floor. When Syracuse targets a northeast prospect and pursues him, they generally get their guy. That was the case again with Richardson. Syracuse recruiting has never been as strong as it is now and it will continue to keep the Orange as national contenders for the forseable future.