While last year’s Syracuse squad was a pleasant surprise, it was the recruiting hauls of the last two seasons anticipated by college hoops insiders across the nation. Alongside Fab Melo, Dion Waiters and C.J. Fair, the Orange was adding Rakeem Christmas, Trevor Cooney and Michael Carter-Williams. The tandem of Murphkins has sprinkled magic on the recruiting trail. The Fizz takes a week-long look at the incoming basketball class for 2011.
Christmas is the next big man coming to play for the Orange, and The Fizz caught up with the big man from the Academy of the New Church in Pennsylvania. One of the biggest transitions that big men make when they come to Syracuse is transitioning from man-to-man to 2-3 zone (see Melo, Fabricio for more details on that). Don’t worry about Christmas in that regard.
“This season we were playing the 2-3, so basically I’ve been getting ready [for college] for the whole season.”
However, you won’t see the 6’9″ forward down low in the zone. While the scouting services have him listed as a center, he sees himself as more agile on the wing, and he’s been playing there all season.
“I see myself more as a power forward because I get around more and I don’t like to stay there [anchored in the zone] and I get to block shots, so I could go around and get out on the wings a bit.”
A spry, lengthy big to fill in for Rick Jackson after he graduates? Yes please. One of the biggest storylines The Fizz has found is the chemistry between the class of ’11 recruits. It’s one of the biggest reasons that Christmas is headed to the Salt City next fall.
“I chose Syracuse because I knew a lot of players going there, like Trevor and Dion, when I took a visit with Trevor, coach Murphy told me a lot of things that they have in there, if I came there, and I wanted to come there and have fun and win a ‘ship with all my friends.”
Christmas says that playing in the Philly area and on the AAU circuit with Waiters, Michael Carter-Williams, and Cooney laid the foundation for their relationships.
“We already have the connection, have fun and laugh around a lot, that’s one of the main reason’s we’re so close.”
The big man is just a season away from being on campus with all his friends. Here’s hoping next year’s Christmas ends with a ‘ship.
Posted: Ted Conroy