As we know it, Jalen Carey — a top 40 recruit in the 2018 class — will head up to Syracuse this summer where he’ll eventually throw on a Syracuse jersey and play an important role for Jim Boeheim this fall. Needless to say, Syracuse fans are excited about him and he’s equally as excited to get to Syracuse.
When speaking to him last week at the Jordan Brand Classic it become apparent that Jalen identifies himself as a native of New York despite playing high school ball at Immaculate Conception in New Jersey. After all, he’s from Harlem and only crosses the river to compete.
“I just go to school in Montclair, people think I’m from New Jersey but I’m actually from Harlem,” Jalen said, “but most of my time I spend in New York.”
While that’s not necessarily new information, it does put Jalen in a unique group of Syracuse players from New York City. While most will immediately point to Pearl Washington as Syracuse’s biggest star from the big apple, the Orange had a few standouts from the city before Pearl’s time, viz., Rudy Hackett and Tony Bruin. The former led Syracuse to its first Final Four in 1975 while the latter averaged double-figures from his antepenultimate to senior year in orange.
Gene Waldron and Wendell Alexis would be next in line to play at Syracuse just prior to to the arrival of Pearl in 1983. Of course, Pearl was the most coveted recruit in the country at the time and has since gone down as one of the most important Syracuse players of all time, having his career aligned with the auspicious upstarts in the Big East Conference and ESPN, giving prominence to Syracuse on a national stage.
In the early 90s, Syracuse secured Conrad McRae from Brooklyn who was a wiry center known for his shot-blocking ability. Just one year his junior was Adrian Autry — Jalen’s primary recruiter — who came to Syracuse from the Bronx. Autry had a solid Syracuse career and has since come back to serve as an important member of the current coaching staff. Having someone like Autry chase after Jalen with a similar background was instrumental in his recruitment, or at least he suggested as much.
“Me and Red (Autry), I know he was a New York City guard so it does mean something to me,” Jalen said, “Just seeing that I could follow in his footsteps, he was a good player at ‘Cuse. He can help me get to that next level just learning from him. Just looking at the lineage of guards that New York has, I can say that I’m a part of that. It’s amazing.”
Other notable New York players to come to Syracuse include Jason Cipolla (Queens), Etan Thomas (Harlem, before moving to Oklahoma), and more recently, James Southerland (Queens) and Chris McCullough (Bronx).
What do you think? Does having players from New York excite you or are you just happy to get Jalen to ‘Cuse? Any other New York players we might have missed? Join in on the discussion below.