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Having an Orange Party: Breaking Down the Syracuse Targets at Mary Kline Classic

Never mind the AAU circuit, The Mary Kline Classic has become one of the more highly anticipated high school basketball competitions every summer. In raising money for cancer research, Recruit Scoop founder and Syracuse student Alex Kline brings together some of the nation’s premier high school talent. A handful of players connected to Syracuse competed in organized pick-up games, a slam dunk contest, and a three-point shoot-out.

Orange commits for ’13 BJ JohnsonTyler Roberson, and Ron Patterson suited up for Team Perseverance over the weekend. Perhaps the most highly sought recruit of the current class, Tyler Ennis, did not attend the event. His future classmates, however, put their talent on display. Kline, who has covered recruiting for The Fizz, said the trio didn’t disappoint and showed their gifted versatility:

“Ron showed off his athleticism and ability to score. Tyler scored in a number of different ways, and showed his perimeter and post game. BJ showed his motor and craftiness when attacking the rim and a soft touch.”

Excitement pools every time you discuss the ceiling of this class. The 6’7″ small forward Johnson competed in the slam dunk contest, while Patterson show-boated both in the air and from behind the arc. A lot of the conversation about the ’13 class has surrounded Ennis, but the other prospects could also make huge waves at SU. Roberson is ranked No. 27 in ESPN’s Top 100, while Johnson sits at 90 in Scout’s Top 100 list. The supporting cast  looks to be blossoming before making its way up on the Hill.

As for the young guns, four undecided prospects on Syracuse’s radar competed for Team Inspiration and Team Bravery.

“All four were phenomenal. Isaiah showed an improved outside shot. Malachi also shot the ball very well. Ja’Quan was a force attacking in the lane. Cheick ran the floor extremely well and finished around the rim with his unbelievable wingspan.”

The quartet has this in common: each is very high on the Orange and shares a Northeast connection.

Ja’Quan Newton         2014, 6’3″ point guard             Neumann Goretti HS (PA)

Newton was a floor manager for Team Inspiration. He’s considering SU, and former conference rivals Villanova and Georgetown. His interest even extends towards SMU and Arizona. Newton is No. 61 in the Rivals 150. The Orange is looking to rebuild its guard depth after the departures of upperclassmen and lottery picks. It shouldn’t surprise us Jim Boeheim and company are giving Newton a long, hard look.

Cheick Diallo              2015, 6’9″ power forward        Our Savior New American HS (NY)

One of Team Inspiration’s big men, Diallo has an insane wingspan and is a go-getter on the glass. He’s earned the 24th spot in the Rivals 150 list, and has a boatload of interest from top-tier schools, including Oregon, Syracuse, Kentucky, Washington, St. John’s, Arizona, Iowa State and more. A former Bronx native, the Long Island product has the local, in-state connection. If he keeps up his summertime swag in AAU, Diallo could be the most dominant power forward in the 2015 class down the road.

Malachi Richardson                2015, 6’6″ shooting guard        Roselle Catholic HS (NJ)

Team Bravery’s swingman Richardson demonstrated his sharp shooting. He’s a top 20 sophomore in ESPN’s Top 25 that attends the same high school as Roberson. He starred in the three-point competition and represented well for a young stud. He’s considering a variety of schools, including Indiana, Syracuse, Ohio State, Miami, Georgetown, Kentucky, Kansas, Florida, UConn, Maryland and more. It may come down to which three point line he feels most comfortable shooting behind. Hey Malachi, the Carrier Dome ain’t so bad.

Isaiah Whitehead                    2014, 6’4″ combo guard           Lincoln HS (NY)

Perhaps the most highly coveted prize in SU’s book, Whitehead continues to wow Orange Nation. He earned co-MVP honors after a masterful weekend in Philadelphia. The Big Apple star has Syracuse and Louisville on his mind as a “top two,” while fielding interest from St. John’s, Kentucky, Arizona, UCLA and more. Don’t forget to throw in Minnesota, as young Richie Pitino is living up to his father’s rep and attacking Syracuse recruits. Ranked No. 19 in the Rivals 150, Whitehead stands out as a gem in this class. Kline predicts that of the interested ’14 class Whitehead has a better shot to choose Orange than Newton..

Kline’s tremendous event raised an eye-popping $27,000 and he appreciated the support from all the players:

    “I was pleased with how the players but aside their egos for the cause.”

The third annual MKC lived up to its high expectations. Now let’s hope the Syracuse upcoming products and potential newcomers do the same.

Posted: Brendan Glasheen

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