Jim Boeheim started the 2013 recruiting class with a slam dunk. Five-star talent Tyler Ennis is rated the 4th best point guard in his class by Scout, and the 20th overall recruit by Rivals.
And Syracuse is Ennis’ dream school.
“It feels good to finally commit to my dream school and end the recruiting process, to just know where I’m going to college already.”
Just minutes after announcing his commitment on his AAU team’s website, Ennis told The Fizz what mentally clinched his decision.
“I thought about which school I’d really be not happy with someone else committing before me, and the only school I could say was Syracuse.”
Two campus visits last season helped seal the deal. Ennis, St. Benedict’s teammate Isaiah Briscoe, and the highly publicized Nerlens Noel were all there to witness Midnight Madness at the Carrier Dome, and Ennis also came back for a February clash against UConn.
“I just felt comfortable there. Even though it was one of my first times out being recruited by them, I just felt like it was home to me.”
SU should serve as a home away from home for Ennis, but not too far away. Geography played a major role in the Torontonian’s decision. His family also recently moved to Buffalo.
“Syracuse is the closest school out of my top five, first of all. So my parents can get down to games, and I can go home whenever I want pretty much.”
In addition feeling comfortable on the SU campus, Ennis feels like Syracuse system is a fantastic fit for him. He likes the freedom the guards have, and how the offense is based around screen and rolls.
“I’ve watched Syracuse over the years and me and my brother talked about it before he even committed, how much freedom that Jonny Flynn had and that Scoop Jardine has, and when I got out there the coaches kept telling me that.”
“I talked to Scoop Jardine while I was there, when we were playing UConn, and he just pretty much reiterated it to me, telling me he gets to make mistakes, he gets to have the freedom to deliver to ball to who he wants where he wants, and that’s pretty much how I’ve been playing my whole life.”
Ennis also talked about the talent he’ll be flanked by, and with which he’ll be able to run pick and roll sets. He could form deadly P&R combos with young big man DaJuan Coleman, dynamic Jerami Grant, and Duke transfer Michael Gbinije.
The Toronto native is considered a pure point guard, and he says his offensive philosophy consists of knowing his teammates’ tendencies, balancing how many shots they want each game, executing per the coaches’ plans, minimizing turnovers, and scoring when needed.
“It’s pretty much natural to me. I don’t really think about it as much as others do.”
Ennis is looking forward to playing with fellow guard Michael Carter-Williams, who he raved about. But the Class of 2013 commit understands the importance of being a leader, even as a freshman.
“I want to come in and lead, too, because he’s (Carter-Williams) not going to be there all four years, so I have to establish myself as a leader.”
As for defense, Ennis said that the 2-3 zone wasn’t a major factor in his decision. He understands that the zone won’t really be replicated in the NBA, but doesn’t view it as a negative either. The Orange coaching staff did tell him that he has the perfect build to play atop the 2-3. Ennis possesses long arms and wiry frame. He expects to create deflections and spark transition chances like Scoop Jardine and Dion Waiters did last year.
The point guard certainly has NBA aspirations. He’ll be willing to leave early to go pro, but only if he’s sure the time is right.
“People talk to me about it all the time but I tell them all the time that I don’t really have a plan. It’d be great to go one-and-done, two-and-done, but I’m not going to put the pressure on myself to do that because usually when players do that they enter too early. I want to make sure that if I do enter the draft early, it’s because I feel like I’m ready.”
One reason Ennis might stick around is to play with his teammate Isaiah Briscoe, a Class of 2015 guard with interest in the Orange. Though Ennis doesn’t want to pressure Briscoe into committing to Syracuse.
“He already knows that I’d love to play with him in college if that was the case, but I’m not going to put a lot of pressure on him.”
Andrew Wiggins is Ennis’ teammate on CIA Bounce, and Wiggins is extremely high on recruiting boards. The 6-7 forward is currently in the Class of 2014, but may reclassify to 2013. Either way, he figures to be the top-rated player in his class. Ennis says Wiggins is only at the beginning of his recruiting process. Ennis plans to help Wiggins along with his recruitment, but once again without putting any pressure on him. Syracuse is part of a large list of schools that Wiggins has interest in.
Both Wiggins and Ennis are from Toronto, and Ennis says he’s looking forward to continuing a tradition of Canadian players to wear Orange.
“A lot of people have been letting me know, ‘You have to keep the Canadian tradition going.’ I think being so close to Canada is a big factor for Syracuse just because players live away from home, and as we grow older, sometimes you want to visit home a little bit more.”
Ennis follows the lead of Kris Joseph and Andy Rautins as recent Canadian stars to play at SU. And he figures to carve out a path of his own, with the possibility of teammates like Briscoe and Wiggins following Ennis to The Hill.
Posted: Andrew Kanell