With the 2021-22 Syracuse Orange men’s basketball season officially in the books, we can now begin to turn our attention to the new faces joining the Orange next season out of high school.
One of the most tantalizing recruits coming to play for the Orange next season is the 6-8 forward from Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant, Utah: Chris Bunch.
Syracuse was in Bunch’s final three back in October 2021 along with Rutgers University and Washington State. After visiting all three schools over the summer, with an additional visit to the Salt City in the fall, Bunch decided to officially commit to Syracuse basketball on October 21st, 2021.
With his name now signed on the dotted line to join the Orange next season, we break down what exactly fans can expect from our newest recruit.
Bunch spent his first three years of high school at De La Salle High School in Concord, California before transferring to Wasatch Academy in Utah for his senior year.
Bunch’s father, Charlie Bell, was the former manager for NBA superstar Kevin Durant and currently is the acting Vice President of Roc Sports Nation, run by rap-icon Jay-Z. His father's connection to NBA talent gave Bunch a special advantage over other high school hoopers. He got to watch the best players in the world. Watching how they practice, seeing the drills they run through, and most importantly, soaking in the amount of persistence and dedication it takes to make it to the grandest stage in professional basketball the NBA.
When watching film of Bunch from his AAU and high school career, it’s clear why Syracuse went after him: he is a perfect fit for Jim Boeheim’s infamous 2-3 zone defense. Bunch isn't the best man-to-man defender, but he has solid defensive awareness and uses his lengthy frame to contest his opponents' shot attempts.
He also shows a three-level scoring and a fluid-looking shooting form. While Bunch isn't the most physically strong player, he is quick and light on his feet for his size. From the looks of it, he is a pretty developed product but he needs to add some size to his frame (185 lbs) in order for his game to translate well to the D-1 level.
When Bunch arrives in Syracuse next summer, expect to see him being slotted at the three or the four position. His strong shooting touch, finesse around the rim, and high flying ability should grant him some welcome minutes for a forward-deprived Syracuse team.
With Cole Swider off to the pros, Bunch has the opportunity to prove to be a reliable defender and offensive presence. If he does, don't be surprised to see the Concord, California freshman earn the starting small forward spot on opening night.
The highest incoming recruit to Syracuse basketball next year has studied the best and has seen firsthand the standard he should be holding himself to when practicing and preparing for opponents.
Bunch is a student of the game and arguably the most exciting talent Syracuse has come into the fold next year. If his three-level scoring and strong defensive IQ can adjust well to the pace and physicality of NCAA basketball, Bunch should find a solid role and opportunity with the Orange next season.