Naclerio Discusses Southerland's Decision

Reporter Mike Sullivan has the story on James Southerland's commitment ...

Syracuse University was in real early on James Southerland and the coaching staff at the Big East Conference school maintained their interest too. These were important factors in Southerland's decision.

Southerland, a 6-foot-6 swingman from Cardozo High School in Bayside, New York, made his decision official through head coach Ron Naclerio.

"The Cardozo colors are orange so James doesn't have to worry about changing any of his school gear," said Naclerio with a laugh. "James has worked very hard over the past year and the way he has to approach games has changed too."

Naclerio expanded on his thoughts about the 2008 prospect. "A couple of years ago teams weren't keying on him but this season they were," Naclerio stated. "So he had to change his approach sometimes."

An ankle injury nagged Southerland this season, according to Naclerio. "When he would try to rest it we had another game," he said. "It was hard for it to heal completely. But now the ankle is fine and he's strong on it."

Naclerio feels once Southerland gets to Syracuse a few things will improve for James. "He will be able to get with the strength coach and work on getting stronger," Naclerio said. "James has the skills but once he becomes stronger he will be more consistent."

The long time Cardozo leader also said that James will benefit being away too. "It's a great opportunity to learn from a coaching staff like Syracuse," Naclerio said.

"Syracuse showed a lot of interest in him and James felt comfortable with his decision. James has tremendous upside. He will surprise many coaches down the road in my opinion."

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