Seton Hall has officially picked up 6-10 Syracuse big man Taurean Thompson, just days after it was announced that he would be taking a leave of absence from the ACC school.
Well, this second tango between Seton Hall’s coaching staff and talented center Taurean Thompson was a lot shorter and less complicated than the first — at least on the surface.
A former recruit out of high school who was torn between the two schools when he made his decision a little over a year ago, Thompson has opted to become a Seton Hall Pirate this time around; it remains to be seen what Syracuse’s stance will be on releasing the player.
As expected, the offensive talent must sit out the coming season before acting as a massive supplement to replace the outgoing senior class which includes forwards Angel Delgado and Ish Sanogo.
While the appetizing possibility of becoming eligible this season hasn’t materialized — and I would argue it’s more beneficial Thompson sit out — a local product who can make an immediate splash will now play an integral role of a rebuilding process that tips off next summer.
Three years of eligibility await Thompson (9.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg), who will surely slot in at the ‘5’ for Delgado a year from now. He will join up with a seasoned Mike Nzei, a likely owner of the power forward spot while face-up forward Sandro Mamukelashvili, lanky center Romaro Gill, and bruiser Darnell Brodie — who will prep at Montverde Academy this year — will join any additional recruits off Kevin Willard’s bench.
In the frontcourt, that isn’t such a depressing future to paint, especially if Mamukelashvili lives up to some of the quiet hype resonating from South Orange.
Thompson will link up with combo guard and sit-out transfer Quincy McKnight (18.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3 apg) as two guys with a proven track record that will anchor the post-2014 recruiting class transition; McKnight can be thought of as a direct replacement for Khadeen Carrington.
Three open scholarships remain available, assuming Brodie is still on board, giving the staff even more room to work with.
A teammate of Mamukelashvili’s at Montverde last season (although he will play on a different team than Brodie this year), top-50 point guard Andrew Nembhard has emerged on the staff’s radar, while 6-4 lefty Anthony Nelson is thought to still be in the mix.
The staff is surely after a wing to replace Desi Rodriguez, with five-star Louis King listing the Hall, late-blooming Khalid Moore trying to visit, and Jared Rhoden visiting on Thursday alongside power forward Jake Forrester, who began an official in South Orange.
Besides Forrester, local products Valdir Manuel (Patrick School) and Majur Majak (Roselle Catholic) are believed to be top choices for the staff up front.
Between McKnight and Thompson, Seton Hall has proven talent to aide next year’s transition, while it looks like the staff has their ducks in a row with younger prospects from point guard Jordan Walker to Sandro Mamukelashvili to several additional 2018 recruiting options.