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Syracuse Basketball: 2017 & 2018 Recruiting Classes Might Be Most Important in Modern Orange History

Syracuse has two vital recruiting classes in the not too distant future.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 recruiting class for the Syracuse Orange features two Gatorade Player of the Year representatives in their respective states and potentially the MVP of the Jordan Brand game. Matt Moyer and Tyus Battle are the two best basketball players in New Jersey and Connecticut while Taurean Thompson's decision looms.

Without a commitment from Thompson or another prospect/transfer, Syracuse will only have eight scholarship players for next season. Malachi Richardson decided to go pro, Kaleb Joseph and Chino Obokoh have transferred and gone are Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije to graduation. The depleted roster did have a nice pickup in John Gillon, but the roster remains thin.

This is important because in 2017-2018, Syracuse will lose Tyler Roberson, Dajuan Coleman and John Gillon who will all have exhausted their college eligibility at that point. It also remains likely that Tyler Lydon will jump to the pros. That would leave Matt Moyer, Tyus Battle, Paschal Chukwu and Frank Howard left on the roster should those four players decide to come back. This puts added pressure for Syracuse to open up with a big 2017 class.

Not only will Syracuse have a very thin roster in two seasons should things stand, but it will also be (read: supposed to be) Jim Boeheim's last season as head coach. Which, after his comments at the Final Four, who the hell knows if that will stand? Anyway, the 2017 recruiting class will only have the opportunity to play for Boeheim for one season, so the recruitment changes a bit.

In the 2017 class, Syracuse has offered Mohamed Bamba, Trevon Duval, Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox, Nick Richards, Lonnie Walker, Jordan Tucker, Quade Green, Ethan Thompson, Brandon Randolph, Andre Rafus and Hameir Wright. If Syracuse only has four players return in 2017-2018, the Orange will have room for seven of those players.

The following season Syracuse won't lose any of its players to graduation, but its scholarship penalty will be reduced to one that year. In the 2018 class, Syracuse currently has offers to Simi Shittu, Naz Reid and Louis King. Assuming Boeheim's retirement goes according to plan, 2018-2019 marks the inaugural season of Mike Hopkins at the helm. No knock on Hopkins, but the allure of playing at Syracuse loses its luster a bit after losing a Hall of Fame head coach.

The 2017 class will be the last class of players to ever play for Boeheim. The next year's class will lead Syracuse into uncharted territory as the Orange will have a new head coach for the first time in over 40 years. Those two classes could be the most important in the modern era of Syracuse basketball.