SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- When Malachi Richardson's name was announced last Thursday night in Brooklyn at the 2016 NBA draft, the Syracuse Orange men's basketball program found itself in elite company.
Richardson, who was taken 22nd overall, extended SU's first-round draft pick streak to five years, which is second to only Kentucky and Duke. Kansas' streak of six ended this draft.
It all started in 2012 when Dion Waiters and Fab Melo went in the first round. Waiters went fourth overall to Cleveland, while Melo went 22nd overall to Boston. The following year, Michael Carter-Williams, who led Syracuse to a Final Four appearance, was taken 11th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers.
Tyler Ennis was taken 18th overall in 2014 by the Phoenix Suns, and Chris McCullough went 29th overall to Brooklyn last year.
Syracuse, and Jim Boeheim, constantly get bashed for not producing enough NBA talent.
"The 2-3 zone doesn't transfer to the NBA," or "Jim Boeheim doesn't let his kids play" is typically heard throughout the season, especially come mid-June.
The numbers don't lie, and the more impressive statistic is the multiple draft pick streak Boeheim has produced, which is now currently standing at three years, and five of the last seven.
2010: Wes Johnson, Andy Rautins
2012: Dion Waiters, Fab Melo and Kris Joseph
2014: Tyler Ennis, Jerami Grant
2015: Chris McCullough, Rakeem Christmas
2016: Malachi Richardson, Michael Gbinije
Prior to the 2015-16 NBA season, Syracuse ranked eighth in current players in the league with eight, behind Kentucky (20), Kansas(19), Duke (18), North Carolina (16), UCLA (14), Arizona (13) and Florida (10).
Since 2009, Syracuse has had four lottery picks with the most recent being Carter-Williams in 2013. He then won the Rookie of the Year award in Philadelphia, and was the traded the following year to Milwaukee.
Jonny Flynn, who was nagged by injuries, never panned out for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He was famously taken before the reigning two-time MVP Steph Curry.
There's no question one-and-done's help recruiting - just look at John Calipari's success in Lexington. There's also no question that Syracuse would be a lot better next season with Malachi Richardson, but after he was taken in the first round - it benefits the Orange for years to come. Add him to a long list of, now 22, players to come through Jim Boeheim's program and get drafted in the first round.
Players use schools as a pipeline to achieve their dream of playing in the NBA. Recruits say it all the time - fans know it, coaches know it and the media knows it. Whether it's a five-star prospect or two-star prospect, nobody wants to just be a good college player, a former Syracuse player told CuseNation.com. Everyone wants to make a difference at the next level, but few actually get that opportunity.
There are 351 Division I schools in 32 different conferences, and Syracuse has more NBA players than 344 of them. That's pretty good, right?