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Syracuse Basketball: Will Anyone Ever Break Lawrence Moten's Scoring Record?

Given the way college basketball has evolved, is it unreasonable to think Lawrence Moten's school scoring record is untouchable?

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As a freshman, Malachi Richardson averaged 13.4 points per game. Then after that one season he left for the NBA.

Now let's take a guy like John Wallace. Wallace averaged 11.1 points per game as a freshman. Wallace would stay at Syracuse for four years, eventually becoming the team's star player and leading scorer, averaging 15.0 PPG as a sophomore, 16.8 PPG as a junior and 22.2 PPG as a senior. Wallace finished his Syracuse career with 2,119 points, good for third all-time behind Derrick Coleman (2,143) and Lawrence Moten (2,334).

All three of those guys have a very obvious thing in common. They stayed at Syracuse for four years.

Now, this isn't one of those "the game was better back then" type posts, it's more just a post made out of curiosity. Because if Wallace, Coleman or Moten played for Syracuse now, they'd all be gone by the end of sophomore year. That's just the way it is. The game has changed and the system doesn't benefit guys like them to play for four years.

So if guys like Malachi, the guys most likely to challenge for the school scoring title, are the ones who will almost certainly leave before four years (hell, before three), is it reasonable to think that Lawrence Moten's scoring title will probably remain intact forever? Or at least a very long time?

Looking at the all-time leading scorers, only three guys in the top ten played in the 2000's (No. 4 Gerry McNamara, No. 5 Hakim Warrick, No. 8 Preston Shumpert) and only one played less than four seasons (No. 9 Dave Bing). Even if you pull out into the Top 20, Bing and Billy Owens (No. 12) are the only guys who didn't make it to senior year.

Now sure there could be another Gerry McNamara coming down the pike. A guy who can score in bunches and is really good but not quite good enough for the NBA. But keep in mind that even GMac didn't break the record.

So what might it take to eventually break the record? Well you need someone who is a high-level scorer for all four years. If a player isn't contributing double-digits as a freshman, you can count them out. Even then you need someone who is scoring at a level that we usually don't see anymore out of Syracuse. Moten's "worst" season saw him score 17.9 per game. We haven't had a guy score that much in a season since Demetris Nichols in 2006-2007 (though Rakeem Christmas and Michael Gbinije both came very close).

And then it all comes back to the notion that if a guy is going to average that many points as a freshman or sophomore, he's almost certainly not going to be here as a senior. Hakim Warrick might have averaged 19.4 as a junior and 21.4 as a senior but he was a role player as a freshman (6.1), so he had to work his way into that.

Tyler Lydon averaged 10.1 per game (375 total) last season as a freshman. With Richardson, Gbinije and Trevor Cooney gone, there's a legit chance the SU offense runs through him this season and we could see his scoring average shoot up to 16 or 17 PPG. If so, that'd put him on pace to be around 850 points total by the end of sophomore year. If we assume he goes even higher as a junior, we're looking at 1,400 points, and then by the time he's done as a senior, he leaves SU with 2,100 points or so. That'd put him in the vicinity of top five scorers in Syracuse history. Not too shabby.

But, we all know that it's much more likely that Lydon will leave after this season (barring anything catastrophic). And it brings us back around to the original question. Will anyone ever stick around long enough to break Lawrence Moten's scoring record?

Possibly. But probably not.