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What’s next for Syracuse basketball’s 2017 recruiting class?

Who’s left and what does the Orange need?

NCAA Basketball: South Carolina State at Syracuse
Syracuse Orange assistant coach Gerry McNamara and assistant coach Mike Hopkins look on prior to the game against the South Carolina State Bulldogs at the Carrier Dome. Syracuse defeated South Carolina State 101-59. 
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that Syracuse Orange basketball recruiting has taken a hit this season. After missing out on five-star point guard Quade Green, the Orange coaching staff has been scrambling to find a replacement. Most thought Green was all but a lock to Syracuse, but a late push from Kentucky swayed him to Lexington.

The Orange has two commitments in the 2017 class: Oshae Brissett and Bourama Sidibe. Brissett has reportedly signed his National Letter of Intent, as has Sidibe.

After moving on from Green, the Syracuse coaches have contacted a few guards in the 2017 class: Howard Washington Jr., Chris Duarte and Eric Ayala — who is a class of 2018 prospect but has the ability to reclassify to 2017 if he chooses to do so.

The Orange has 11 scholarships to use next season. Doyin Akintobi-Adeyeye, Dajuan Coleman, John Gillon, Tyler Roberson and Andrew White will be all be graduating. There are two potential players on SU’s roster that could leave early for the NBA draft — Tyus Battle and Tyler Lydon — even if the fans don’t believe they’re ready.

So, to sum that up, Syracuse could have anywhere from five to seven available scholarship for next season. And when you count Brissett and Sidibe, it’s down to three to five.

What does does Syracuse need in the 2017 recruiting class?

A point guard, plain and simple.

Chris Duarte, who is considered a combo-guard that has the ability to play forward, is scheduled to visit Syracuse this weekend — likely on Sunday after the Orange arrives back in Central New York from its road trip to face No. 15 Notre Dame.

Howard Washington Jr. visited Syracuse for its win over Boston College last week. He’s yet to receive an offer, but the Orange remain interested and will watch him at the National Prep Showcase Invitational next weekend, sources told TNIAAM. He’s teammates with 2017 signee Osahe Brissett at Athlete Institute.

And the third option, not in any order, is Eric Ayala. Ayala doesn’t know if he wants to stay in the 2018 class or reclassify to 2017, which puts Syracuse in a bind. He has an offer for either year, as SU remains very interested. But for next season — it’s coming to a point where the Orange need an answer one way or another.

What else does Syracuse need?

It’s hard to say what else the Orange will need for next season, especially because no one knows what Tyus Battle and Tyler Lydon will do.

Assuming both return, this is what Syracuse is looking at next season (as of right now) from a roster standpoint.

Guards: Frank Howard, Tyus Battle

Forwards: Tyler Lydon, Matt Moyer, Taurean Thompson, Oshae Brissett

Centers: Paschal Chukwu, Bourama Sidibe

SU would have three remaining scholarships, and would ideally add 1-2 more guards. The front court would be presumably set for next season.

And if either, or both, leave early?

Syracuse will still need another guard, but now could add two comfortably with guaranteed minutes. A prospect like Duarte would be nice due to his ability to play multiple positions and his size/length at 6-foot-5. Howard Washington, IMO, would be another solid addition with the mentality that he’ll be here for 3-4 years. Syracuse needs some stability at the guard position, and he could be just that.

There’s always the graduate transfer market, too. It’s dicey, and it’s a major risk because no one truly knows who will be there in the spring. But it’s an option.

John Gillon has had trouble adjusting this season, but Andrew White leads the team in scoring with 15.8 points per game. So it’s something to consider if the situation presents itself.


As for what I believe will happen — Syracuse will eventually land Duarte and Washington. I’ve always liked Washington’s game, and Duarte is a prospect who has caught the coaching staff’s eye.

That will give Syracuse some versatility in Duarte, and a true four-year point guard in Washington, who is extremely interested in SU.

It’s been slow on the recruiting front, but it’s beginning to pick up. Duarte’s weekend visit will be something to watch, along with the staff attending the National Prep Showcase Invitational next weekend. Eric Ayala, Brissett and Washington will all be playing.