Malachi Richardson stays hot in SU's exhibition finale

Malachi Richardson stayed hot against Florida Southern with season looming.

When Malachi Richardson signed with Syracuse, he was considered the prize of the class. Today, he's still considered the prize of the class and the future of program. 

In his first preseason with the Orange, the 6-foot-6 small forward averaged 16.5 points and 7 rebounds per game. 

"I think that's what coach Boeheim brought us here to do," Richardson said following Monday's victory over Le Moyne. "Me, Tyler and Frank can all shoot, Kaleb has improved his jump shot and Trevor is Trevor." 

In the first half on Monday, Malachi hit three straight 3-pointers en route to a 15-point performance. Today, Malachi had 15 points in the first half, finishing with 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting. 

Coach Boeheim was complementary of Richardson's game today, "Malachi has been known as a shooter since 8th grade. He's a very good shooter." 

Malachi's production, at least at this level, has been a surprise thus far. Obviously, with his decorated high school career, Richardson has a high ceiling. But averaging 16.5 points through the first two games extends that ceiling a little higher than most expected.

Playing alongside Trevor Cooney, who is SU's leading returning scorer, will leave open shots for guys like Malachi, Kaleb Joseph and Michael Gbinije. With his remarkable success in high school, Richardson is receiving more open looks now than ever before. "In high school, I didn't get too many open looks." 

In high school, Richardson averaged 15.7 points per game over his four-year career. He was named a McDonald's All-American, as well as a Jordan Brand Classic All-American. The spotlight isn't new to Malachi, although he may not be in it this year. 

Defenders have to play Trevor Cooney on the perimeter. Sometimes, teams will be forced to double Dajuan Coleman. Teams have to prepare for Michael Gbinije. Tyler Roberson can burn you if you forget about him, too. Just ask Duke. 

The New Jersey native will continue to get looks, and if he continues to knock 'em down - watch out. 

If Malachi continues to score at a high level, the pressure will be taken off Gbinije and Cooney, which will lead to all around success for Syracuse this season.

This team should be fun to watch. 

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