It is potentially another bad/not great news kind of a day for Syracuse Orange fans.
ESPN NBA Insider Chad Ford tweeted this afternoon that Malachi Richardson, in interviews with NBA teams at the combine today, indicated to them that he has decided to stay in the draft. Here is the tweet from Ford:
Both Malachi Richardson & Cheick Diallo told teams in interviews today that they've decided to stay in the draft.— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 13, 2016
If Ford's report turns out to be true, it continues a trend for Syracuse basketball that Orange fans surely don't like -- though should probably expect and also can't necessarily complain too loudly about. This will mark the fifth year in a row that a star freshman or sophomore has left SU after a breakout season.
Going in reverse order, last year ('14-'15) Chris McCullough left after his freshman season, despite the fact that he tore his ACL after playing only 16 games in Orange. The year before that ('13-'14), freshman Tyler Ennis and sophomore Jerami Grant left after leading Syracuse to a record of 25-0 to begin the season. Following the 2012-'13 season, sophomore Michael Carter-Williams left town after helping lead that team to its first Final Four since 2003. And, five years ago ('11-'12), sophomores Dion Waiters and Fab Melo departed for the NBA after helping SU to a 34-3 record and the NCAA's Elite Eight.
Speculation for awhile has been that Richardson's tournament contributions this past season were a direct contributor to his rise on some draft boards, and that teams love his athleticism, even if he needs to grow into being a more consistent shooter from the floor. As we know, Richardson had an up-and-down freshman season that ended on a huge upswing in the NCAA Tournament. He finished the season averaging 13.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game.
If Malachi really has played his last game in an Orange uniform, at least we got to enjoy a glorious ride to the Final Four with him. Best of luck going forward, Mali!