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Next Beasts of Big East: Gathers & Noel Are Two of SU’s Top Targets

Ricardo Gathers and Nerlens Noel remain two of Syracuse’s top basketball targets this winter. After a whirlwind of signings spanning the past two months, a handful of top 100 recruits remain uncommitted. Since mid-July, SU has offered a scholarship to 4-star small forward Gathers, and before that the ‘Cuse named young star Noel a top priority for 2013.

The Orange secured landmark center D.C. 2.0 and top 50 forward Jerami Grant, while hoping prospect Isaiah Whitehead stays interested in SU despite the Fine scandal. Here’s the latest on the Next Beasts of the Big East:

Ricardo Gathers/SF/Laplace, LA

Riverside Academy

Height: 6′ 7″ Weight: 240

Gathers remains uncommitted as of now, but has three schools on his list: LSU, Syracuse, and Oregon. LSU is the local favorite to land the 30th best recruit in the country. His brother Greg said Gathers needs to be completely committed to leaving home if he chooses anyone but the Tigers, since Ricardo has already backed off from St. Johns in early November:

“You want to be 100 percent sure with leaving Louisiana and going to New York. At this point in time [Ricardo] wasn’t totally sure about his decision in going to New York.”

We’ll see if another New York school can overcome distance to grab Gathers. The Fizz pointed out the SF is just the type of player Jim Boeheim loves: big, aggressive, with a solid jumper. Recruiting insider Adam Zagoria told The Fizz in early July that he had a hunch Gathers might end up in Orange.

Nerlens Noel/C/Tilton, NH 

The Tilton School

Height: 6’10” Weight: 205

N2 is a central piece of SU’s 2013 recruiting class: the Orange has gone after him since this summer. Although Noel told Fizz Radio he wouldn’t reclassify to make himself available this year, the ‘Cuse is recruiting him hard. Problem is, so are a list of other powers. Pitt, UConn, Kentucky, Florida, G’town, and Kansas all have offered. Noel is the No. 2 center prospect in his class for a reason, scouts say.

“Noel is one of the better shot blockers in the 2013 class. He gets off the ground quick, has extreme length and is a tremendous athlete. His skill set has developed and he’s a terrific passer from the high post.

Good news is, Noel said the Fine scandal is one thing that won’t deter him from coming to SU:

“Well if it was Coach Boeheim it’d be a different story, but I wouldn’t stop looking at them based off of what an assistant coach may have done years ago. I don’t think that’s fair.”

It’s difficult to tell Noel’s level of interest in SU because he’s still very early in the recruiting process. But SU has made Noel a top priority for ’13, and to consider a starting five with both D.C. 2.0 and N2 is sweet music to Orange Nation’s ears.

Posted: Jake Moskowitz

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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