This article is part of a series on the 2015 recruiting class of Syracuse men’s basketball, which is ranked 2nd in the country.
With men’s college basketball in the midst of March Madness, it’s an abnormal feeling in Upstate New York as the Syracuse Orange are sitting home this postseason. The reality is this year’s team would have needed to win the ACC tournament in order to receive a bid to the big dance.
Even with that tall task, the Orange didn’t get the opportunity due to self-imposed sanctions from previous NCAA violations. While its a letdown for the ‘Cuse nation, there’s reason for optimism as Syracuse welcomes a top-notch recruiting class in 2015.
Despite the post-season ban, the loss of multiple scholarships and the nine game in-conference suspension of head coach Jim Boeheim, the Orange look to be in decent shape for the upcoming 2015-2016 season. Initial reports have indicated that Syracuse’s top recruits will honor their verbal commitments and still enroll in the University regardless of the recent transgressions. That includes Malachi Richardson, the McDonalds All-American and 19th ranked player in the 2015 high school class, according to ESPN.com.
Richardson is a tall, lanky shooting guard who was just named the New Jersey Gatorade basketball player of the year according to USA Today. The 19-year old plays the for Trenton Catholic Academy and is best known for his shooting ability and offensive prowess. Continue scrolling for his highlight video and a full scouting report.
6’5”, 199 pounds
7’0” wing span
20 ppg, 5 apg, 4 rpg and 74 three-pointers made in 2014-2015
Turns 20 in January 2016
Shooting: Richardson has a very good shot from outside and can get hot fast. He consistently hits off the dribble and can off the pass, which has already earned him comparisons to a few former sharpshooters of Orange past. Malachi is big enough to get good looks and should provide another legitimate deep threat for Syracuse next year.
Size: 6’5” is a solid height for a shooting guard but what really stands out is his 7’0” wingspan. Those long arms make him a nightmare at the top of Syracuse’s 2-3 zone and he’s recently added more muscle to his frame. It also helps to finish tough drives in the lane.
Offense: He gets to the free throw line a decent amount and has a nice feel for the game. Smooth scorer with a soft mid-range touch and a solid basketball IQ. He sees the court well and should continue to get better with the competition.
Lateral speed: Richardson is very quick side to side and can cover a lot of ground with his long legs which is ideal for the 2-3 zone.
Ball-handling: Malachi has a decent handle but you would like to see him get to the rim more often. He also needs to improve his off (left) hand dribbling and driving to his weak side.
Physicality: This should come with time, but he needs to play more physical. He likes to settle for a lot of jump shots and will need to do more towards the hoop in college if he wants to be elite. His long frame should provide plenty of room for his strength to improve.
Athleticism: While this is really not much of a weakness, it is worth noting that he’s more of a smooth, long-striding athlete than an explosive one. That being said, he still gets up to block shots and throws it down with ease.
Malachi Richardson has the skill and size to be a contributor right away next year for the Orange. Like most college freshman, how he adjusts to his new, increasingly stressful environment will tell a lot about his role on the team. He is a prototypical recruit of assistant coach Mike Hopkins’, with excellent length that can wreak havoc in a 2-3 zone.
Syracuse returns a couple good shooters next season in Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije, and Richardson’s proficiency from deep should stretch opposing defenses even more. Fred Falchi, the head coach at Trenton Catholic, also likened his potential development in college to that of former Syracuse standout Michael-Carter Williams:
“We played against Carter-Williams when he was at St. Andrew’s,” Falchi said.”He was good, but he looked a lot better at SU than he did in high school. I think the higher Malachi gets, the harder he’s going to be playing.”
With the lack of offensive proficiency this past season, I would expect to see the five-star recruit on the court early and often next year at the dome. You can watch him play next in the McDonald’s high school All-American game on April 1st.