When Chris McCullough gave Syracuse an early commitment, the focus of the Orange staff for 2014 shifted to Ashburnham (MA) Cushing Academy point guard Kaleb Joseph. Not only has he become Syracuse's top target, but the Orange are putting the full court press on the 4-star floor general.
In fact, the staff is giving Joseph the "Tyler Ennis treatment" during the summer. When the Orange made Ennis a priority during the 2013 recruiting cycle, they tracked him during the entire summer. Every time Ennis played, the Syracuse coaches were there. At least one member of the staff attended each game. Joseph is getting that same treatment in 2014.
Maybe the biggest clue that he is Syracuse's top target is his relationship with Jim Boeheim. Generally, Boeheim lets the assistants do the leg work in recruiting. Mike Hopkins and Adrian Autry are both strong recruiters who have a knack for related to targeted prospects. Boeheim has become the closer when needed. With Ennis, and now Joseph, Syracuse's head man has become involved early in the process.
Boeheim has visited Joseph multiple times in Massachusetts. He has also been in attendance several times during the evaluation period. Syracuse believes Joseph has the potential to be special in their system, and they are recruiting him that way.
"They are telling me that they have had three lottery picks at the guard spot in the last five years, and they think I can be the next one," Joseph told national recruiting analyst Brian Snow. "I know they are a guard oriented team, so it could be a good fit for me."
Point guard depth is a big question mark entering the 2013 season. Syracuse is trying to make sure that same question isn't there for 2014. The ability to have Ennis and Joseph rotating as the lead man in their free flowing offense would be big for the Orange.
Syracuse's efforts in tracking Joseph and recruiting him as their top priority have paid dividends so far. He tweeted Sunday night that he was down to three schools, and the Orange made the cut.
The biggest threat to the Orange lie with the Providence Friars. They are a local school for Joseph and head coach Ed Cooley has made him their top target in 2014 as well. It would be an upset if Syracuse lost Joseph to the Friars, but they are definitely involved.
Syracuse will continue to recruit Joseph hard throughout the process. He will visit during the fall, likely during one of their bigger games. The full court press isn't utilized by Boeheim often. But it worked with Tyler Ennis, and he's employing it again with Joseph. Apparently he feels it is better utilized in recruiting rather than on the court.