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Darius Bazley sets the tone for the 2018 recruiting cycle

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And that’s a damn good thing for the Orange.

USA Today High School Sports

When a prospect with the talent of Darius Bazley commits to any program, it begins to shape a class. It doesn’t matter if it’s Syracuse, Duke, North Carolina or UMass — every recruiting class has an identity for better or for worse.

In Syracuse’s case, it’s for the better.

Bazley, a former Ohio State commit, pledged his commitment to the Orange on Monday afternoon. After an unofficial visit which he took over the weekend, Bazley fell in love with the school, the facilities and continued to develop a strong relationship with Allen Griffin.

He even plans to take an official visit to SU with his mother to show her why he chose the school.

But as for the recruiting class, Bazley is the superstar the Orange needed to get this cycle going. He’s a Top 30 prospect, according to 247Sports, and has NBA potential, according to multiple recruiting services.

In fact, he decommitted from Ohio State in order to ensure a better, and more efficient, route to the NBA.

Just last week, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said he wanted to add a guard, a forward and a big man to his roster next (2018-19) season. Well, he just landed the forward he was looking for. And not only is Bazley Syracuse-bound, but he immediately becomes an asset to the SU staff on the recruiting trail.

Bazley is a player you build around, and the staff shouldn’t have any trouble doing so.

Jalen Carey, a Class of 2018 guard, is next on Syracuse’s big board. He’s a 6-foot-3 combo-guard and was on campus last week for an unofficial visit. He’s a New York City native.

At times when recruiting the 2017 class, Syracuse had issues closing out top prospects. They proved that to be a minor fluke when Bazley announced his commitment to the Orange this early. He’s long, athletic and a prototypical SU wing that Jim Boeheim has so often molded into a first-round pick.

Having Bazley commit this early brings up another interesting point: How well will he recruit other 2018 prospects to join him?

Will he be active or will he sit back and let the coaching staff do their job? I’d say it has to be a mixture of both, similar to Matt Moyer’s pursuit of Tyus Battle two years ago. Moyer was in Battle’s ear nearly everyday, but ultimately let the staff close the deal.

Bazley is SU’s first Class of 2018 commit.

Assuming everyone from the 2017-18 roster returns for another season (which isn’t very likely), Syracuse will have just one scholarship remaining for the 2018-19 roster.