Next weekend, 6-foot-10 power forward Taurean Thompson will officially visit Syracuse. In the beginning of September, the Orange extended a scholarship offer and the visit was scheduled shortly after. Landing Thompson would be huge, but would also impact the 2017 recruiting class. After missing out on Moustapha Diagne due to academic complications, a scholarship opened up - and so did important minutes.
For the upcoming season, Syracuse will have juniors DaJuan Coleman and Chinonso Obokoh manning the middle of the 2-3 zone. Coleman missed the entire 2014-15 season due to a knee injury. The Syracuse native has played in just 37 games over his first two years. Entering his academic senior year, DaJuan is eligible for a fifth year due to a medical redshirt, although it's uncertain if he'll return.
For the 2016-17 season, the Orange will have 7-foot-2 transfer center Paschal Chukwu, who announced his decision to attend Syracuse back in June. Obokoh will enter his final year with the Orange, and DaJuan Coleman, who would be a redshirt senior, is still undecided.
Worst-case scenario: Thompson commits elsewhere and Coleman either reinjures his knee or waives his fifth year of eligibility. That would leave Chukwu and Obokoh as the only two centers on the roster in 2016-17.
Best-case scenario: The Orange land Thompson, Coleman returns and Chukwu is as good as advertised. That would leave Syracuse with Chukwu, Coleman, Thompson and Obokoh all at the center position -- an area that needed addressing.
And for the record, I like Syracuse's chances to land Thompson. If not on the official visit -- shortly after.
It appears Syracuse has backed off of 2017 5-star center Nick Richards, which is surprising. But there may be a reason for that. If the Orange land Thompson, he and Chukwu could provide all the depth at the center position for the 2017-18 season. Malachi Richardson, Tyler Lydon and Matthew Moyer will secure most, if not all, of the minutes at the forward positions.
Kaleb Joseph, Franklin Howard and Tyus Battle will handle the guard positions. And in case of an emergency situation, Malachi Richardson can play guard, and Moyer is on the record saying he can play the 2-guard as well.
In 2017, its apparent Syracuse wants to add a true point guard. Right now, Quade Green is getting the bulk of the attention. Quade will unofficially visit Syracuse this Wednesday. The Orange also recently offered Green's teammate at Neumann-Goretti, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, who is a 2017 power forward. It seems as if the coaching staff is looking for a package deal with the two Philadelphia natives. DCR is a solid defensive presence, standing at an athletic 6-foot-8; he would be an ideal wing in Boeheim's 2-3 zone.
Earlier this week, 4-star forward Jordan Tucker told CuseNation.com he has been in contact with coach McNamara. Friday afternoon, coach Boeheim visited 5-star center Mohamed Bamba, along with a plethora of powerhouse programs.
Syracuse's chances with 5-star point guard Trevon Duval took a hit when he announced his decision to transfer to Advanced Prep International (Dallas, TX). Michael Porter, a 5-star SF, also seems like a long shot.
There should be 3-4 spots available for the Orange in the 2017 recruiting class. So, where should the Orange focus? Quade Green, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree and Jordan Tucker.
Syracuse has a realistic shot with both Green and Cosby-Roundtree. Jordan Tucker, a New York native, also holds high interest.
Assuming SU lands Thompson, the big-man depth is secure. Even if Coleman doesn't return for a fifth year, Chukwu, Thompson and Obokoh is plenty of depth on a team that will be guard oriented.
In Green, the Orange would get a true point guard that can score the basketball. He's quick, athletic, loves getting his teammates involved and is an excellent defender. Cosby-Roundtree would add another interior defender to compliment Chukwu and, potentially, Thompson. Tucker would be the premier scorer in the class. Standing at 6-foot-7, the Archbishop Stepinac (NY) product can shoot the 3, score off the dribble and get into the lane. He's a guy that can run the floor and loves to get out in transition - something Syracuse does so well.
Remember, Syracuse is working with three less scholarships than every other D-1 school. The Orange could regain a scholarship if their appeal to the NCAA is successful. Expect to hear a decision from the NCAA by mid-October.