The conventional wisdom for quite some time was that the two man 2016 class of Tyus Battle and Matthew Moyer was essentially complete for the Syracuse Orange. Sure they were involved with a couple bigs and would like to add one this cycle, but it was not critical.
But even with the potential addition of one front court player, there certainly would not be more than that, right? Not necessarily. There is a very real scenario where the Orange could add three players to the 2016 recruiting class. A few things need to happen for that to occur, however.
First, though most Syracuse fans will not be thrilled with this part, Malachi Richardson will have to keep his name in the NBA Draft and depart for the professional ranks. That would free up a spot for a player in which Syracuse has already expressed interest. That would be one Mike Bibby Jr.
Bibby Sr. told CuseNation.com that the interest is in the beginning stages and that junior's recruitment is wide open.
"Looking at everybody," Bibby Sr. said. "I want him in a good program and with a good coach where he can grow. He's a clone of me. At this stage, I was more athletic but he has everything else better than I had at this stage."
Syracuse would seem to be a good fit. Georgia Tech, Pacific and UNLV are expressing a lot of interest as well.
Next, Syracuse would have to land Taurean Thompson. Thompson is down to three schools in Syracuse, Michigan State and Seton Hall. The Spartans want to get his last official visit, but that has not yet been scheduled. The Orange received an unofficial from Thompson recently, and things seemed to go very well.
Seton Hall has been pursuing Thompson for a long time, while the Spartans are a more recent player in his recruitment. Michigan State did receive a commitment from grad transfer Ben Carter, but they apparently still want Thompson.
Interestingly, Syracuse is also pursuing another front court prospect. This in the form of five-star Turkish sensation Omer Yurtseven. He took a visit to SU recently as well, and has taken trips to NC State among others. Syracuse is definitely in the mix here and continue to actively recruit him.
Could Syracuse really land both Yurtseven and Thompson? It may not be likely, but it certainly is not impossible.
Part of Syracuse's pitch to Thompson is the model followed by some recent incoming Orange players. Namely Michael Carter-Williams, Jerami Grant and Dion Waiters. All three played a little as freshman, but broke out as sophomores, leading to NBA careers.
If Thompson picks Syracuse, there may not be a ton of minutes available as a true freshman given the depth currently on the roster. However, he would have a very real opportunity and strong chance to start as a sophomore. Yurtseven's recruitment actually does not change that.
Yurtseven is viewed as a sure fire one-and-done type. In fact, he is already on Draft Express' 2017 mock draft as a lottery selection. If he were to come to Syracuse, the Turkish star would likely play a huge role as a freshman. Somewhere in the 25-35 minute mark, despite other players currently on the roster. He is simply too talented to keep off the court.
But, because Yurtseven would leave after his one season, he would not impact Thompson's ability to start a sophomore. In fact, facing Yurtseven in practice every day may actually help Thompson's development.
So if Syracuse can add Thompson and then pick up Yurtseven, that would round out three new players in their 2016 class to add to Battle and Moyer.
Currently, Syracuse has the 23rd ranked class this cycle. With the addition of those players, they should jump up quite a bit. That would give them four top-100 players, including an elite five-star prospect in Yurtseven.
Keep an eye on the next few weeks, as they will likely tell the tale of how the Orange complete the 2016 class.