Given the new rules that allow a college basketball underclassman the opportunity to enter their name for the NBA Draft but return to school so long as they don't sign with an agent before May 25 (10 days after the combine).
Hence, there's no reason Syracuse Orange freshman Malachi Richardson shouldn't at least test the waters to find out if he'd be drafted and when. And that's what he's going to do.
Freshman Malachi Richardson is entering his name in the NBA Draft and not signing with an agent, according to Coach Jim Boeheim.— Syracuse Basketball (@Cuse_MBB) April 18, 2016
I am entering my name into the NBA draft but will not sign an agent— KingMali (@KingMali23) April 18, 2016
Interestingly enough, this move seems to come pre-approved by Jim Boeheim. Often critical of underclassmen leaving too soon, the rule change seems to have softened his stance given the way it provides all parties with a little more breathing room.
"With the new rules, it's an opportunity for Malachi to get a better understanding of where he would be in the draft." Coach Boeheim— Syracuse Basketball (@Cuse_MBB) April 18, 2016
Syracuse fans have gotten used to seeing young talent walk out the door quickly in recent years (or least should get used to it) so I don't imagine there's too much shock out there. Still, plenty of SU fans will be holding out hope that Richardson ultimately returns for next season. He would almost certainly be the cornerstone of a rising 2016-2017 squad. Of course, if he does go pro, hopefully Orange fans will root for him on that journey as well... (Right??? Yes???)
Mali played 34.2 minutes per game for SU this season, averaging 13.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG and 2.3 APG. His 23-point performance against Virginia in the Elite Eight will be remembered for being the catalyst that propelled SU into the Final Four.
In case you're wondering about those aforementioned rule changes, here they are in a nutshell:
- NCAA underclassmen are permitted to attend the NBA Combine and one private workout for each of the 30 NBA teams.
- NCAA underclassmen invited to the NBA Combine are allowed to practice for 12 hours/week with their college coaching staff as preparation.
- NCAA underclassmen have until May 25 (10 days after the NBA Combine) to withdraw their names from the NBA draft and maintain college eligibility, so long as they don't sign with an agent.
Know your benchmarks and wish Malachi good luck in whatever he decides...