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Syracuse men’s basketball: Autry off to hot start on recruiting trail

Red hit the ground running.

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Syracuse
Syracuse Orange associate head coach Adrian Autry looks on prior to the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the JMA Wireless Dome.
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Just over one week ago, Adrian “Red” Autry was introduced as the eighth men’s basketball coach in Syracuse University history. As he stated in his introductory press conference, he was going to celebrate on Friday and get right to work on Saturday.

He kept his word.

On that ensuing Saturday, Autry, Gerry McNamara and Allen Griffin hit the road to watch class of 2024 prospect Jalil Bethea. Bethea, a four-star guard out of Archbishop Wood (Pa.), is a priority target for the Syracuse coaching staff. He received an offer from SU last September and took an official visit in October.

Autry and McNamara returned to see Bethea on Saturday, March 18, making it two visits in seven days. SU has positioned itself well in Jalil’s recruitment, who Rivals ranks as the 39th-best player in the class.

The following Sunday, March 12, the staff made its way to watch class of 2024 four-star commit Elijah Moore. After Autry was announced as SU’s next head coach, Moore reaffirmed his verbal commitment to’s Chris Carlson.

Moore’s Cardinal Hayes team took on class of 2024 five-star Boogie Fland and Archbishop Stepinac in the CHSAA AA Championship at St. John’s University. Fland, who is a consensus top 10 player in the class, went for 30 points in front of the coaching staff in a 69-66 win.

Fland is an elite scorer, can play either guard position and can shoot it from anywhere. He can create his own shot, get into the lane and get his teammates involved. Boogie is a big-time talent and will be continue to be highly sought after.

In February, Rivals reported that Syracuse was ramping up its recruitment of Fland and is “trying like hell” to get him on campus. Boogie earned an SU offer back in January.

On Monday morning, former five-star prospect and Notre Dame guard JJ Starling announced he was leaving the Irish and entering the transfer portal. Within an hour of the announcement, speculation grew that Syracuse was his likely landing spot.

Roughly 24 hours later, Starling announced he was coming home to play for Adrian Autry and Syracuse.

SU missed out on the Baldwinsville native the first time around, but it wasn’t because of Adrian Autry. When deciding where he was going to play out of high school, Starling cited his relationship with Autry, and his son Trey, as a reason why Syracuse was in his final five schools. Just last week, when discussing his commitment with Joe Tipton of On3, Starling again referenced his relationship with the new Syracuse head coach as a reason for coming home.

“My relationship with coach Autry is very strong,” Starling told On3. “That is a guy I know I can trust and he isn’t sugarcoating anything he’s telling me. I know he is going to be a coach that allows his players to play with freedom and also instill confidence in them whenever they need it.”

One day later, Syracuse Athletics announced the promotion of Gerry McNamara to Associate Head Coach and the retention of Allen Griffin. Both were expected, but the importance of both moves should not, and cannot, be understated. Keeping this staff together was important for the stability of the program, and, I believe, will pay dividends in both recruiting over the next few years and keeping this young roster intact.

Autry and McNamara then returned to the recruiting trail on Friday as they watched class of 2024 big man Thomas Sorber of Archbishop Ryan (Pa.). Sorber, a four-star prospect, is ranked anywhere from No. 42 (On3) to No. 112 (247Sports) in the class. He stands at 6-foot-9, 250 pounds and received an offer from SU back in August. It’s worth noting that Sorber is AAU teammates with Jalil Bethea on Team Final.

In Autry’s first week or so, he retained his staff, reaffirmed Elijah Moore’s commitment, landed a five-star transfer and watched three high-profile prospects.

Did anyone have a better seven days than Red Autry?