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Syracuse Basketball: Praise Trickling In For Orange Freshman Trio

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How much of an impact will Malachi Richardson, Tyler Lydon and Frank Howard have on the season?

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

As we get closer and closer to Syracuse Orange basketball season, there's always a lot of attention paid to the returning players and what they're expected to do. What often happens is that the freshmen get overlooked because they're unknowns. Well those unknowns are about to become knowns soon enough and some folks have already started to notice.

Malachi Richardson, the most likely frosh to make a serious impact on the stat sheet this season, came in at No. 46 on Sports Illustrated's list of the top 50 freshman scorers. They project a scoring average of 7.6 PPG, which would slightly below what Chris McCullough did in his mini-season (9.3 PPG). Of course, there's a lot of variables at play that will influence how Richardson actually collects numbers but it's an indication that expectations are there for him to be a left contributor.

Tyler Lydon, meanwhile, doesn't get too much hype from the national press, or even the Syracuse press for that matter. The 76th-best player in the Class of 2015 (per ESPN) gets lost in the shuffle behind Richardson and the upperclassmen. ESPN's Adam Finkelstein, however, sees something in Lydon.

Opportunity coupled with versatility. The team's reduced number of scholarship players, plus the loss of Moustapha Diagne, opens up potential playing time at both forward positions and Lydon's skill set and length should allow him to plug both holes off the bench.

Finally there's Frank Howard, who gets even less notice than Lydon. It could have been a lot different if Frank were a few months older.

If that's the case, wonder how long Howard will be behind Kaleb Joseph in the lineup.