Last we heard from four-star 2017 shooting guard Alex O’Connell, he was setting his official visit to the Syracuse Orange on September 16. We were patiently waiting for that date and all, when suddenly today:
Alex O'Connell tells Scout he has committed to Duke: "They checked all the boxes for me." | https://t.co/fIkUxGR66I pic.twitter.com/tlfNEf4DpC— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) August 26, 2016
“Fine, we didn’t like your boxes anyway!”
Losing out on any top basketball recruit is tough, but it’s made tougher when it’s to a conference rival. The Georgia product’s father played for the Duke Blue Devils as well (1973-76), though he told Scout’s Evan Daniels that it did not play a factor in his decision.
O’Connell hasn’t indicated whether he will still visit Syracuse in September or not. Thus far, he’s only visited Louisville and Duke.
About the decision, he said:
“They checked all the boxes for me. The basketball opportunity, it’s in the ACC and the coaching staff. My dad, Julian Barfield and I feel very comfortable and it’s like a home away from home. Playing for Coach K, the strength of schedule and the NBA exposure, Duke has it all.”
“... Plus it's Duke basketball.”
On that last quote... ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH!
One might be able to argue that Syracuse presents all those same opportunities Duke does (exposure, strength of schedule, the ACC, etc). But at the end of the day, it’s the kid’s decision and that decision is with Duke.
O’Connell is far from the only target for what should be a large 2017 recruiting class at Syracuse. Just yesterday, five-star small forward Lonnie Walker listed the Orange among his top five choices. There are also a slew of other offers out, which should start resolving themselves over the next six months or so. Until then, we wait.
UPDATE (6:19 p.m. ET): According to CuseBlog’s Ben Sigel, he will not be visiting Syracuse anymore.