clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Syracuse Basketball: Jim Boeheim explains ‘danger’ of recruiting top players

New, 31 comments

Recruiting Top 25 players can get a little risky.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Operation Basketball Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse has never come close to bringing in the top-ranked recruiting class, an honor that is typically reserved for the likes of Duke or Kentucky.

While the Orange are usually able to sign a single top 25 recruit every year, Syracuse rarely signs more than one, and has never signed a top 15 recruit since Fab Melo, No. 14, and Dion Waiters, No. 15, of the Class of 2010.

Rather than focus on the nation’s top 20 or top 25 players, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said he likes to target players outside of the elite spectrum – players he thinks he’ll have a higher chance of signing.

“The danger of being involved in a lot of top 20 players is you can lose all of them. You could get a couple or you could lose them all,” Boeheim said. “While speaking at the ACC media day on Wednesday. “In the past, we always got good players. They weren't necessarily in that (top recruit) area. And we always could get a couple, two, three.

“But when you go only after the top guys, you can have some misses and not get anybody. So you always have to be a little careful of that.”

Last season, Syracuse only had two players on its roster who were top 25 recruits, DaJuan Coleman, No. 14 in Class of 2012, and Malachi Richardson, No. 23 in Class of 2015.

This past recruiting class, Class of 2016, Syracuse didn’t sign a single player in the top 25. The highest player Boeheim and his staff recruited was Tyus Battle, at No. 35.

Battle, however, isn’t even expected to start this season. Instead, the Orange will be led by sophomore Tyler Lydon. Lydon, who was ranked No. 76 in the Class of 2015 recruiting class, was the only Syracuse player to receive an All-ACC mention after being named to the All-ACC Second Team.

Boeheim said the strength of Syracuse’s recruiting strategy has been his staff’s ability to find stellar players like Lydon, who aren’t necessarily that highly ranked and have also been overlooked by other schools.

"We'll find a guy like (Lydon) every year. He's pretty good. We'll find somebody like that this year," Boeheim said. "Taurean Thompson (No. 75 in Class of 2016) was not that highly thought of, but he's pretty good.

“We've recruited guys that people didn't want and then we start recruiting them and now, all of a sudden, everybody else is recruiting them. That happens. But you're going to miss on guys."

Some of those recent misses are players like Moustapha Diagne, Kaleb Joseph and B.J. Johnson – all of whom now play elsewhere.

***

What do you think of Boeheim’s recruiting strategy? Leave a comment below.