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Adding Jalen Carey, Syracuse may have best recruiting class since at least 2015

Or probably earlier, really.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday’s week-early surprise addition of 2018 point guard Jalen Carey put the Syracuse Orange basketball recruiting class in very good shape. There’s still a lot of time until National Signing Day, but 247Sports already has SU as a top-10 class, and we’re trying to add another top player in Nate Roberts.

But with or without Roberts, Syracuse is already looking at what may be its best class in years.

Using the 247Sports composite (which averages out all of the rankings out there), this is the Orange’s first top-10 class since 2015, and just the second since 2011. That might seem strange at first glance. But consider:

  • Unexpected, late-in-the-cycle NBA Draft declarations
  • NCAA sanctions cutting down scholarships
  • Uncertainty around Jim Boeheim’s future
  • Last-second transfers
NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

So probably not that weird, in hindsight. But this class (again, with or without Roberts) has a chance to be even better than both of those previous top-10 classes due to attrition alone. The 2015 class was ranked eighth, but that number also included Moustapha Diagne, who never made it to SU. The 2013 team was five-deep, yet just one player (Tyler Roberson) graduated. B.J. Johnson, Ron Patterson and Chinoso Obokoh all transferred. Tyler Ennis left after one season.

In some regards, this 2018 class may be the most important in recent Orange history. We have no way of knowing how long these players stay or how successful they may be in a Syracuse uniform. But after a tumultuous few years and some diminished returns, this is the way SU straightens things out to start Boeheim’s final run.

Darius Bazley, Buddy Boeheim and Jalen Carey are the start of the final group of players Jim will coach at Syracuse. And more than most that have been here, they have the ability to shape a significant portion of his legacy -- that is, if they turn out better than those most recent top-10 classes before them.