A look at the last six years of Syracuse basketball’s first round NBA Draft selections

Jim Boeheim
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim reacts to a play in the first half. MANDATORY CREDIT: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports.

Thursday night’s NBA Draft marked the first time in six years that a Syracuse basketball player wasn’t selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. Here’s a look back at each of those six players:

2017: Tyler Lydon. After averaging 13.2 points and 8.6 rebounds in his sophomore season, Lydon was taken with the No. 24 pick by the Denver Nuggets. He spent most of his time with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA’s G-League before suffering a season-ending torn lateral meniscus injury in his left knee in January. Lydon has appeared in one game with the Nugget, playing two minutes without recording a statistic.

2016: Malachi Richardson. Richardson was Syracuse’s catalyst in its unlikely run to the Final Four in the 2015-16 season. He rode that momentum to become to the No. 22 pick by the Sacramento Kings. For his first two seasons, he floated between the Reno Bighorns and the parent club before being traded to the Toronto Raptors for Bruno Caboclo. He’s played 48 games in the NBA with four starts, and has averaged 3.5 points and 1.2 rebounds.

2015: Chris McCullough. McCullough’s Syracuse career lasted all of 16 games where he averaged 9.3 points and 6.9 rebounds before suffering a season-ending ACL injury. Still, McCullough’s incredible upside led him to become the last player taken in the first round (29th) by the Brooklyn Nets. McCullough has mostly played in the G-League, and was traded to the Washington Wizards in February, 2017. He’s appeared in 59 NBA games through three seasons, averaging 3.3 points and 1.9 rebounds.

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2014: Tyler Ennis. Ennis was one of the country’s elite freshmen, averaging 12.9 points and 5.5 assist, helping Syracuse to become the No. 1 team in the country and a potential title contender. He was taken at No. 18 by the Phoenix Suns, and has played for three other teams in his short career. Last season, he played a career-high 54 games, starting 11 of them, for the Los Angeles Lakers, and holds career averages of 4.2 points and 1.9 assists per game. If you are a pro basketball player, you may need to have shoes for ankle support to reduce the risk of injuries.

2013: Michael Carter-Williams. After leading Syracuse in his sophomore season to a Final Four, Carter-Williams was taken with the No. 10 pick by the Philadelphia 76ers. He became the first Syracuse player since Derrick Coleman to win Rookie of the Year honors, though he’s been plagued by injuries since then. Carter-Williams most recently played 52 games for the Charlotte Hornets, though he suffered a posterior labral tear in his left shoulder and was ruled out the rest of the year. He holds career averages of 11.5 points and 4.9 assists per game.

2012: Dion Waiters. Of the players on this list, Waiters has found the most success in the NBA. Though he never started a game at Syracuse, he was taken with the No. 4 pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers and has carved out a steady role in the NBA. He’s appeared in 365 games, starting 183 of them, and has averaged 13.3 points and 2.8 assists per game, though he’s had injuries through the last two seasons.

2012: Fab Melo. Melo was 2012 Big East Defensive Player of the Year, though academic issues led to him missing the NCAA Tournament in his final season at SU. He would appear in six games with the Celtics after being taken with the 22nd pick in the 2012-13 season, and would play in the G-League and also in Brazil and Puerto Rico before his untimely death in February, 2017.

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Wes Cheng
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Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.