In an interview earlier this week with Jon Rothstein, Syracuse Orange head coach Adrian Autry said he wanted to add two more guards and a center for the 2023-24 season.
A few hours after the podcast was released, SU added Chance Westry.
The center position, however, is a bit more complicated. The coaching staff hadn’t reached out to any centers — that we know of — until Jesse Edwards officially entered the transfer portal back on April 11. They couldn’t, because it appeared Jesse was coming back. He wanted to come back. Syracuse wanted him back, but, as we know, the NIL side of things couldn’t be worked out in the end.
So now we focus on who could potentially replace Jesse’s minutes and production. Spoiler alert: you probably won’t replace his production. Unless you land, say, Hunter Dickinson. But we’ll get to that later.
The staff has been involved in a few available centers. Two of which are still on the board via the transfer portal, one high school prospect that just became available again and one transfer that has decided to go elsewhere. We break it down below:
Syracuse was connected to Ousmane the same day Jesse announced he was leaving. Adam Zagoria reported that he was planning to visit SU this week. That visit was cancelled after he committed to Xavier on Tuesday.
Cisse, a former five-star prospect in the 2020 class, entered the transfer portal back on April 9. He was the No. 2 center and 12th-best player in his class, according to 247Sports.
The first reported contact/interest Syracuse had in him was on April 13. The extent of it is unknown as SU was listed among schools that had reached out, per Jon Rothstein.
Cisse started his college career at Memphis. He played one season there before transferring to Oklahoma State, where he spent the last two seasons. By rule, he would need a waiver from the NCAA to be immediately eligible as it would be his second transfer.
The 7-foot-1 center was named the 2022 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year for the Cowboys. This past season, he averaged 6.8 points, eight rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.
Cisse remains a name to monitor.
This is one that virtually every Syracuse fan wants to work — but just doesn’t appear will.
Hunter Dickinson, a 7-foot-2 star from the University of Michigan, is the biggest name in the transfer portal. He has ties to SU’s new assistant coach Brenden Straughn. His parents attended school in Upstate NY. And he held a Syracuse offer in high school.
That’s about where this appears to end.
Last week, the Syracuse coaches had a zoom call with Dickinson and made their pitch. Since the meeting, there hasn’t been any information made public on a potential visit, interest or anything.
A major part of Dickinson’s recruitment has been the NIL conversations. Reports and rumors are insinuating he’s expected to get high six-figures — or even potentially seven-figures — at his next destination.
Kansas, Georgetown and Maryland appear to be at the top of his list. He’s from the DMV area so Georgetown and Maryland make sense. And Kansas has been rumored to have a very lucrative NIL package waiting for him.
Never say never in recruiting, but, at this time, it appears to be a long-shot.
Kante, who is a four-star recruit in the 2023 class, requested a release out of his National Letter of Intent to Michigan on Tuesday.
A South Kent School (Conn.) product, Kante is ranked as the No. 6 center and No. 57 overall player in the class, per On3. Standing at 6-foot-10, Kante has a strong post presence. He has a wingspan of 7-foot-4, is a strong rebounder, an above average shot-blocker and runs the floor well.
In the up-tempo style that Syracuse is going to be striving for next season, Kante seems to be a nice fit.
Before committing to Michigan, then-assistant Adrian Autry was Kante’s primary recruiter. He received an offer from Syracuse back in 2021 after attending SU’s Elite Camp.
It’s unclear at this time if Syracuse has tried to rekindle the relationship.
On the current projected 2023-24 roster, Syracuse has three centers: Mounir Hima, Peter Carey and three-star signee William Patterson.