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Draft dreams come true for Richardson, Gbinije

Inked across the right and left biceps of former Syracuse guard Malachi Richardson are two script tattoos reading “Have Faith” and “Dream Big”. Those four simple words served as a cornerstone for what led Richardson and former Orange star Michael Gbinije to being selected in the 2016 NBA Draft on Thursday night.Malachi held back tears as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that the Charlotte Hornets selected him with the 22nd overall pick in the draft. Though everyone watching knew he was involved in a trade sending him to the Sacramento Kings, either way the Trenton, NJ native had reached the NBA just one year after high school. Even as a reported guarantee from Memphis at number 17 didn’t come to fruition, Malachi’s high emotion and flashy red suit were enough to light up televisions across the globe, as well as the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The 20-year-old told NBATV that he built a good relationship with Kings All-Star DeMarcus Cousins during workouts, and that it helped him connect with the franchise. He heads to a Sacramento team with little depth at shooting guard, so he could see many minutes this year. Richardson added that he was thankful for the opportunity to be picked amid the craziness of draft day. His selection marks the fifth consecutive year that the Orange have produced a first-round draft pick. From a true freshman to a fifth-year senior, Michael Gbinije earned the 49th overall selection by the Detroit Pistons. As the most consistent player for Syracuse last season, he gained the attention of NBA scouts with his scoring, leadership, and command. A major question as “Silent G” starts the next level is what position he will play. Originally recruited as a small forward, the 6’7” prospect played point guard last year out of necessity. Another reason NBA teams may have been reluctant to pull the trigger on Gbinije is the fact that he is already 24 years of age, compared to many prospects who are teens.ESPN analysts Jay Bilas and Michael Wilbon both agreed during the live broadcast that Gbinije can come into a team and work hard every day with no questions asked, be a reliable and stable force, and not cause any trouble. These are just the qualities that Detroit head coach Stan Van Gundy desires in a draft pick, fitting in with his old-school style of play. Despite these concerns, Gbinije showed huge promise throughout the combine, especially excelling during the 5-on-5 scrimmages. He hopes to add versatility to a Pistons team that finished last season with 44 wins and 38 losses, good for eighth in the Eastern Conference. As Orange fans look ahead to next year worried about losing the team’s two leading scorers from a season ago, all we can do is “Have Faith” and “Dream Big”. Keith Bremer is a 2015 graduate of Newark High School and is currently attending Syracuse University and is a contributor to FingerLakes1.com. Comments and feedback on this article can be posted below or directed to Keith at kbremer@syr.edu.

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