While the season is fast approaching for Syracuse Orange men’s basketball, it isn’t too soon to begin scouting ahead to the future.
I’ve already detailed the many factors that could impact how the Orange encourage prospects to join the ‘Cuse. But, let’s get to the actual prospects on the team’s radar.
Class of 2023 update
So far, here is who Syracuse has scouted so far from the upcoming recruitment class:
DJ Wagner: CG, 6’3, 165 lbs., Camden (NJ), 5 stars
Isaiah Miranda: C, 7’0, 200 lbs., Southern California Academy (CA), 4 stars
Papa Kante: C, 6’10, 215 lbs., South Kent School (CT), 4 stars
Mike Williams: SG, 6’2, 175 lbs., Bishop Walsh School (MD), 3 stars
Bryce Lindsay: CG, 6’3, 170 lbs., IMG Academy (FL), 3 stars
Jacoi Hutchinson: SG, 6’2, 165 lbs., IMG Academy (FL), 3 stars
Tichyque Musaka: C, 6’10, 200 lbs., NC Good Better Best Academy (NC), N/A
Looking at the information from a big-picture lens, there are a few things that stand out.
First off, the early warning signs point to the Orange looking to recruit a new center. Jesse Edwards, who’s slated to start for Syracuse, is entering his senior season with the team. If Edwards leaves after this year, just two centers would be left: sophomore Mounir Hima and freshman Peter Carey.
Hima played just 9.6 minutes per game in 2022 for Duquesne in the A10 Conference, while Carey is still a to-be-determined prospect. Meanwhile, Edwards averaged 12.0 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 2.8 BPG for the Orange last season.
Last year, the Orange struggled with shot-blocking and allowing perimeter players to drive inside with little resistance. Given Edwards’ improvement, he projects to be arguably the most irreplaceable player currently on the roster. Losing Edwards will be tough, but finding his next replacement will be even tougher.
On a similar note, the Orange are searching for some diamonds in the rough at the guard position. Joe Girard III and Symir Torrence, who both played critical roles for Syracuse last season, will also be entering their senior years.
There’s a case to be made that both Girard and Torrence will start for the Orange this season. That remains to be seen, but the bottom-line is that the team is scouting for the future.
Now here’s the most interesting thing about Syracuse’s 2023 recruitment list right now: no forwards. Zilch, nada, none.
To be fair, it appears the Orange will enter this season to see what they have first at the forward spot. Maliq Brown, Justin Taylor and Chris Bunch are freshman looking to make a case to be long-term options. So far, Bunch and Taylor are allegedly in contention to be a starter this season. There’s (still) hope sophomore Benny Williams can take a leap if given a larger role.
At the same time, the ACC is always filled with quality forwards who project as two-way stars that can create off the dribble while holding their own defensively. While frustrating at times, Cole Swider was a solid starter for Syracuse, coming in clutch with huge performances in 2021-2022. Heading into this season, there’s a lot of concern over who will slide in at the forward spot.
So far, five-star prospect combo guard DJ Wagner is getting interest from four other schools besides Syracuse: Kentucky, Louisville, Memphis, and Temple. The Orange have done well developing combo guards with upside in recent memory: Dion Waiters, Malachi Richardson, Buddy Boeheim, and so on. Landing Wagner would be striking gold for the ‘Cuse.
For Mike Williams, there is huge interest from four teams outside of Syracuse: Wake Forest, LSU, DePaul, and Clemson. The three-star prospect, with his size and upside, would also make for an incredible fit with the Orange.
Class of 2024 update
Is it too early to look at the 2024 recruitment class? Absolutely. Are we going to look at it already? You bet:
Caleb Williams: PF, 6’7, 215 lbs., Sidwell Friends School (Washington, DC), 3 stars
Elliot Cadeau: PG, 6’1, 165 lbs., Link Academy (MO), 5 stars
Yves Missi: C, 6’10, 210 lbs., Prolific Prep. (CA), 5 stars
Derik Queen: C, 6’9, 220 lbs., Montverde Academy (FL), 5 stars
Donnie Freeman: PF, 6’8, 190 lbs., St. John’s (DC), 4 stars
Damarius Owens: SF, 6’8, 190 lbs., Western Reserve Academy (OH), 3 stars
Curtis Givens III: PG, 6’2, 170 lbs., Montverde Academy (FL), 4 stars
Similar to the 2023 recruitment class, the Orange are clearly looking for athletic, versatile guards who can be serviceable playmakers with scoring upside. Last season (and to an extent, in recent seasons), Syracuse relied heavily on isolation scoring and hot shooting from behind the line.
Compared to this year’s class, the Orange are scouting ahead for some forward depth. Given how many young forwards ‘Cuse has on their current roster, one can assume they would want insurance on the wings in the event none of the active players pan out.
As we move forward in October, let the recruitment games continue.