Well, Syracuse is back in the headlines of college basketball, and it’s not good news. The news broke yesterday regarding Taurean Thompson’s decision to leave the program with an expected announcement that he’ll be attending Seton Hall.
Source: Taurean Thompson is on Seton Hall's campus with him expected to announce his transfer to SH within the next week.— BarstoolReags (@BarstoolReags) August 28, 2017
The reason why he is leaving hasn’t been confirmed, but there are reports that family health issues are an impact on his decision. Everyone wants what’s best for Thompson, but his departure is a massive blow to this team’s upcoming season.
"We have been informed that Taurean is taking a leave of absence from Syracuse University," SU coach Jim Boeheim said in a statement. "My understanding is he wants to go to school closer to home due to some family health issues."
The Orange were already lacking depth in the frontcourt, and now Thompson’s departure makes it even shallower. Losing the 6-foot-10 versatile big man leaves Syraucse with few replacements -- notably, Paschal Chukwu and Bourama Sidibe.
Sure the Orange could go small and put Matthew Moyer or O'Shae Brissett in Thompson's slot, but good luck competing with the top ACC teams down low with that lack of height. This isn't the end of SU's season, but it sure is a kick to the gut for the fans and people involved with the team.
Not only was Thompson the top player in Syracuse's front court, but he was an up-and-coming player for the program who showed a versatile offensive skill set that is sure to get even better with age. He showed a crafty touch around the rim to go along with a decent/improving jump shot. These two skills were a major positive for the Orange as his dynamic skill set helped create open looks for teammates on the perimeter.
The major flaw regarding Thompson was his defense, as he was seen lost on multiple occasions playing the in bottom part of zone. However, a full offseason of training was sure to see some improvement from the big man.
In only 18 minutes per game, Thompson was able to average 9.2 points and 3.8 rebounds a game while shooting 55 percent from the field. In an extended role, Thompson was likely to see positive improvements in both categories, but now the Orange are left hoping that Chukwu stays healthy and that Sidibe develops into a versatile scorer.
Thompson's departure leaves the Orange looking to their backcourt to carry most of the scoring; Chukwu isn't known for his scoring and Sidibe has yet to play a collegiate game, so it's looking like guard Tyus Battle is going to have more to worry about than he had planned.
Thompson not only brought a dynamic offensive arsenal, but he brought a year of experience that would have gone a long way for this year's team. Sure it was only one year of experience, but Thompson was fifth in scoring and sixth in minutes on last year's squad.
In just 34 games Thompson learned a lot about how to succeed at the collegiate level (yes, despite Syracuse missing the NCAAs last year).
The Orange are going to miss Thompson's presence in more ways than one, but we wish him the best of luck in the next chapter of his young basketball career.