Syracuse basketball has recruited at a very high level for decades. Over the last 10 years or so, however, it has taken an even bigger step forward with frequent top-10 classes. Even with NCAA sanctions, they were able to land two of the 2016 class’ best prospects in four-star forward Matthew Moyer and five-star guard Tyus Battle.
But could the Orange be looking for even bigger things in 2017?
Remember, head coach Jim Boeheim has said he intends to retire after three more seasons. Some believe that may not happen and he may stick around a little longer, but for now, let’s assume that is the timeline.
Boeheim’s final three seasons will consistent of the upcoming year, which Syracuse should have a good team but does not look like a title contender on paper. The second year will be the 2016-17 campaign, where, if everyone stays, they look like they could be a potential powerhouse.
The starting lineup would look something like Tyus Battle, Malachi Richardson, Tyler Lydon, Tyler Roberson and Paschal Chukwu. Off the bench is Moustapha Diagne, Franklin Howard, Kaleb Joseph and others. It looks like a very, very talented team.
Boeheim’s final year is the 2017-18 season. The success of that year could be largely predicated on the 2017 recruiting class. Syracuse is well aware of the implications as Boeheim’s final season on the sidelines, and want to make it a memorable one.
With that in mind, Syracuse currently has three slots available for that cycle, assuming Tyus Battle leaves after one year. They could have four if someone like Malachi Richardson or Tyler Lydon leaves after one or two seasons.
That is why Syracuse is recruiting so many elite targets extremely hard, and that effort seems to be paying off. Let’s take a look at three players who should have Syracuse in the mix throughout their recruitment.
Trevon Duval is the top target for Syracuse in this class. He is an elite point guard who had an extremely impressive July evaluation period. The five-star point guard also holds offers from Arizona, UCLA, Villanova, Cal, Louisville, Oregon and others.
Syracuse tracked Duval throughout July and are giving him the Tyler Ennis treatment. Much like they did with Ennis and Tyus Battle, the Orange are in attendance nearly every time he plays. He is expected to come to their elite camp on August 29th. Syracuse is one of the early favorites for his services.
Another five star prospect and top five center in the 2017 class, Nick Richards says he has high interest in the Orange. He also says Syracuse is recruiting him very hard and remain in constant contact.
Richards’ primary recruiter is Adrian Autry. While he is not ready to name favorites, the early efforts Syracuse is putting in can only help where they stand with him. It would surprise if he attending elite camp at the end of the month as well, or at least Orange Madness when the season starts.
Hamidou Diallo is the second ranked shooting guard in the 2017 class, and Syracuse tracked him throughout July. The Orange have ramped up their interest of late, and believe he has a chance to be a special player. He is a skilled scorer and streaky shooter.
Diallo’s length would be a perfect fit for the top of the zone. He is also expected to attend Syracuse’s elite camp at the end of the month. While they haven’t offered yet, one could be on the horizon. Should that happen, Syracuse immediately becomes one of the favorites for the Connecticut native.
Their biggest threat may be the in-state Huskies. Diallo is definitely one to watch as the cycle progresses.
Other Targets to Watch
Four-star forward Jordan Tucker: Tucker is an in-state target who will be at Syracuse’s elite camp. Both sides have mutual interest, but Tucker is keeping his options open. If Syracuse pursues Diallo, you have to wonder if they would take Tucker as well.
Four-star point guard Quade Green: Green is a backup plan to Duval, but a very talented one. If Duval ends up looking elsewhere, look for the Orange to ramp up their interest in Green.
Five-star forward Michael Porter: While Syracuse made the cut for arguably the top player in 2017, it’s hard to envision Porter picking the Orange at this point. The key will be a visit. If he takes a trip to Central New York, then Syracuse has a real shot.
Four-star forward Kimani Lawrence: Lawrence is a former teammate of Syracuse point guard Kaleb Joseph. Syracuse has expressed interest, but he is likely a backup plan to Diallo and Tucker. He may visit for the elite camp at the end of the month.