Coach Boeheim’s “best class ever,” to use his own words, won’t be as dominate as most may think – at least not right away. With the absence of 6-foot-9 power forward Moustapha Diagne due to academic issues, Syracuse will have Franklin Howard, Tyler Lydon and Malachi Richardson representing the 2015 class.
I expect Lydon and Richardson to play big minutes for the Orange this season, as both have high expectations, in large part to decorated high school careers. Richardson, a 6-foot-6 wing, is expected to start at small forward for the Orange this season. Lydon’s stock skyrocketed after an impressive Jordan Brand Classic outing last April. I, as well as many others, expect the 6-foot-9 forward to play significant minutes all year.
Some argue that Lydon was the most underrated player in the entire 2015 class.
Frank Howard’s situation is unique. With Gbinije and Cooney starting at the two guard positions, and coach Boeheim designating Malachi Richardson to the small forward position, the Orange will need a guard to step up off the bench. Kaleb Joseph will be the first guard off the bench, but for how long? At the ACC Media Day, Jim Boeheim said if Frank Howard were a year older, he would’ve been the starting point guard for the Orange last season.
So, you could either take that one of two ways. One, Frank is further along than Kaleb was last year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll see minutes over Joseph this year. And two, maybe they’re close enough where Boeheim will go with the hot hand, rather than experience. Only time will tell.