Syracuse's Message for Recruits: 'Get Ready to Come In and Help Us Win a National Championship' | Zagsblog
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Sunday / December 15.
  • Syracuse’s Message for Recruits: ‘Get Ready to Come In and Help Us Win a National Championship’

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    -aa527961a143200bTRENTON, N.J. — Syracuse assistant coach Mike Hopkins greeted Malachi Richardson with a smile and a handshake Monday night before the Tournament of Champions final at  Sun National Bank Center.

    Hopkins and fellow Orange assistant Adrian Autry then watched another Syracuse signee, 6-foot-9 forward Moustapha Diagne, and his Pope John XXIII teammates, fall short in the TOC final to Kentucky-bound point guard Isaiah Briscoe and Roselle Catholic, 57-45.

    Still, Hopkins and Autry had a message to the recruits before walking out of the building with Pope John coach Jason Hasson after the loss.

    “Get ready to come in and help us win a national championship,” Hopkins told SNY.tv.

    Yes, it has been a tough couple of weeks for the coaching staff at Syracuse.

    First, the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions announced on March 6 that Syracuse did not control and monitor its athletics programs and that basketball coach Jim Boeheim “failed to monitor his program.”

    Penalties included five years of probation; financial penalties; reduction of three men’s basketball scholarships per year for four years; vacation of wins in which ineligible students participated; a nine conference game suspension for Boeheim; and men’s basketball recruiting restrictions for two years.

    Then on March 18, the school announced that Boeheim will retire in three years and that athletic director Dr. Daryl Gross would step down.

    Given that the clock is ticking on Boeheim’s tenure, you can only bet how much he wants to make these last few years count. That is why he called the father of 2016 guard Tyus Battle before the retirement news came out to let him know he still wants Battle to come to Syracuse.

    It has been a rough few weeks for everyone associated with the Syracuse basketball program, but Hopkins and Autry were there on Monday to support Diagne and Richardson, who led Roselle Catholic to the TOC title two years ago before transferring back to Trenton Catholic. Autry is expected to watch another 2015 Syracuse pledge, Frank Howard, later this week in Virginia. Syracuse has a fourth signee for 2015 in New Hampton forward Tyler Lydon, whose coach, Pete Hutchins, told SNY.tv is a future pro.

    “I think he’s an NBA player,” Hutchins said. “I think he’s going to be a three in the NBA, he’ll be a three/four for them.”

    He added:”He’s talented, man, he’s really good. He’s as driven as anyone I’ve coached”

    For Diagne, his final game ended in a loss but he said he’s looking forward to his time at Syracuse.

    “I just want to keep working on my game and getting better every single day and when I get up there next year, try to help them to win a couple games,” said Diagne, a native of Senegal.

    Diagne talked about his time at Pope John and how much it meant to him.

    “It’s been a pleasure to go there,” Diagne said. “What a school, what a great family up there, teachers, teammates and they really made me love basketball so much. These guys every single day being around them and I will never forget the love I got there. It’s been a blessing and I’m going to miss it.”

    Hasson praised Diagne, who won the Peach Jam alongside Briscoe last summer with the NJ Playaz.

    “He was our leader,” Hasson said. “He’s been almost our leader since he got here. It’s going to take a few weeks to come to grips that I’m not going to coach him ever again. I’ve coached almost 80-some games and a couple hundred practices and I’m really close to him and his host family. His host father is my father-in-law, so I’ve never been closer to a player than I am to him, and it’s really sad that I’m not going to get to coach him anymore.”

    The next stop for Diagne and the other recruits is Syracuse, where the staff is telling the recruits they can compete for a national championship despite all that’s happened.

    Photo: NJ.com



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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.