It's no question that the Syracuse Orange men's basketball program is in unfamiliar territory with the sanctions handed down by the NCAA. Those sanctions directly affected recruiting for Jim Boeheim's program, which is forcing the Orange to target higher-rated prospects, including 5-star Kobi Simmons.
The scholarship reductions limit Syracuse to 10 per season, instead of 13. The reductions will take place this upcoming season, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, respectively. It is believed to be the main reason for missing out on 2015 5-star Thomas Bryant. That, and lack of communication for a few months.
Now with the Orange having a major disadvantage on the recruiting trail, it becomes a high-risk, high-reward type system. In past years, Jim Boeheim and Mike Hopkins could take chances with "3-star" talents, rather than only go after the highest rated prospects. Now, they have no choice. That became apparent when the staff offered 5-star combo-guard Kobi Simmons. Syracuse wasn't on Simmons' radar at all, according to multiple sources. The in-home visit and scholarship offer both came as a surprise to many. With that said, SU has hung around and is expected to make the next cut of schools.
So what would Kobi Simmons mean to Syracuse? Everything.
It would prove that Jim Boeheim can still get it done on the recruiting trail, as well as go down south and bring top talent to New York. It would help keep Syracuse relevant in a stacked ACC. As Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Louisville and Notre Dame continue to reload, Syracuse has to stay competitive. Simmons can be that elite guard to join 2016 forward Matthew Moyer in another solid class orchestrated by Jim Boeheim. Kobi could come in and play 30-35 minutes a game next season for the Orange, which no other program can promise.
Most importantly, Simmons could give Syracuse fans a sigh of relief. The thought of knowing that SU can still land top talent, especially when they were late to the party, would make a statement.
The 6-5 combo-guard will end up choosing from any, and every, school in the country. With the likes of Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, among others in the mix, the Orange have a long way to go. But Simmons coming to SU IS still a possibility, and that can only mean good things.