Syracuse is off to a fast start in their 2015 class. With two top prospects already in the mix, the Orange snagged a four-star talent when Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI High Franklin Howard committed on Monday.
The commitment of Howard is the first Mid-Atlantic prospect Syracuse has landed since Jerami Grant in the 2012 class. The 2011, 2013 and 2014 classes were dominated by Northeast prospects.
Historically, Syracuse has had a lot of success in the region. Baye Keita is from Virginia and was part of the 2010 class. Kris Joseph in the 2008 class was a Washington D.C. product. Donte Greene (2007), Arinze Onuaku (2005), Eric Devendorf (2005), Dayshawn Wright (2004) and Carmelo Anthony (2002) were recent recruiting wins for Syracuse in the region.
Assistant coach Adrian Autry has a lot of ties to the area and was a big player in Howard's recruitment. If Syracuse wants to get back into the region in future years, Autry will be the go to guy for the Orange.
The bigger, longer guard has become a staple at Syracuse over the past several years. It gives the vaunted 2-3 zone another dimension with deflections at the top. Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche formed one of the best guard tandems in the zone.
Howard fits into that mold at 6-foot-5 with long arms. He is a combo guard that is being recruited to play the point at Syracuse. When he arrives, he will backup Kaleb Joseph right away.
The four-star talent is a physical guard who will pressure the ball at the top of the zone and prevent penetration. He has a solid outside jumper to keep defenses honest, but will have to improve its consistency at the next level.
The commitment of Howard gives Syracuse more guard depth for the 2015-16 season, with the ability to play either spot. He gives the Orange another ball handler who can impact the game on both ends. Howard is likely a multiple year, program type of player rather than a one or two and done.
Where Does Syracuse Go From Here?
Syracuse likely only has one scholarship left in the 2015 class. The potential for two is there, however. If the Orange elect to take two more players, it figures to be Thomas Bryant and Moustapha Diagne as the most coveted prospect.
Should Syracuse only take one, five-star center Thomas Bryant is the preferred target. The Orange have recruited both hard, and were thought to possibly land an early commitment from Diagne at one point.
That did not happen and Syracuse's recruiting of Bryant has remained steadfast. The former Rochester (N.Y.) product who has transferred to Huntington Prep in West Virginia has been on the Orange radar for years. His size, athleticism and improved skill set would be a perfect fit in the middle of the zone.
Bryant gave his top six recently, which included Syracuse.
The Orange grabbed another elite prospect in Howard. His length, physicality and ball handling ability are an ideal fit for Syracuse on both ends of the floor. Howard will be a solid player for the Orange for a few seasons.