Kaleb Joseph Commits to Syracuse, Fills Huge Guard Need for Orange

K-Jo 2.0 helps the Orange in a big time place of need for the future: The backcourt.

247 Sports

Update: On Tuesday, Wilbraham & Monson Academy (Mass.) center Goodluck Okonoboh narrowed his list of offers to (in no order) Duke, Florida, Indiana, Ohio State and UNLV. Syracuse was left off the list, so the Orange will turn its attention to other recruits. 

* * *

While the football team returned home after their five-day trip to Fort Drum, Jim Boeheim and Syracuse basketball received some major recruiting news this weekend. Kaleb Joseph, a 6-3 PG from Nashua, N.H. gave a verbal commitment to play for the Orange during his official visit to the Hill.

Once Joseph released his final three schools, many fans thought Syracuse had K-Jo 2.0 bleeding Orange. SU beat out West Virginia and Providence making Joseph the 2nd commit of the 2014 class. However, there was not much debate for Joseph before committing to his “dream school.” Joseph told the Syracuse Post-Standard:

“In the back of my mind it’s always where I wanted to be. I’ve always been a Syracuse fan. It just felt right.” 

Although he is currently ranked as the 51st best player in the country, the huge AAU circuit Joseph had this summer – along with another season at Cushing Academy (MA) – will likely give him a more favorable ranking. Look for Joseph to make a jump similar to Tyler Ennis’s player ratings surge last year.

Joseph’s commitment was huge for the Orange. He was one of the few prized guards left in the class who held Syracuse high. The Fizz has gone over how Syracuse’s backcourt could be in trouble this season with Ennis as the only true PG. Although Ennis is not likely a one-and-done, Joseph provides much needed depth at the PG position for future years.

Don’t be surprised to see Ennis and Joseph playing at the same time down the road. More of a pure scorer than a ball handler, Joseph will probably mold to whichever position the Orange needs. Based on his raw talent, Joseph could end up playing shooting guard and score off Ennis’s passes. Joseph likes to create his own shots rather than distribute the ball, while Ennis is more pass first, There could be a dangerous offensive connection between Ennis and Joseph brewing in the future.

All eyes turn to Isaiah Whitehead and Goodluck Okonoboh to see if there will be any icing on the cake. SU will probably only be able to add one of them based on scholarship limits. Even if neither chooses the Orange, Syracuse has fulfilled one of its biggest needs in Joseph.

Posted: Zephan Mayell

12 Comments on this Post

  1. Great get. This puts Su at #4 for this recruiting class so far. Would love to get either Whitehead or Obokoh, but I think Whitehead if more of a need.

  2. cuse309

    Whitehead seems like a lock for orange. Scout has Whitehead listing Cuse as High interest. He listed all other schools that offered as medium interest.

  3. Ed Brooks

    Great article, but I doubt Whitehead is coming to SU now, and believe he will commit to Minnesota or St. John’s. I could be wrong, but I get the sense that he wants to take all the shots, and won’t want to defer to others,which means he isn’t a great fit for SU. Besides, Isaiah Briscoe, class of ’15, is as good if not a better scorer, and is more likely to end up on the Hill. I’d be happy to see Whitehead commit to SU, but I don’t expect based on what he has said.

    Okonoboh may be overrated and I’m hoping SU backs off of him. There was a less than complimentary piece about him on cbssports.com last week. Basically, he’s a raw 6’8″ guy who can block some shots but has no offensive game. Sounds to me like a shorter version of Rakeem. We don’t need that. Rakeem has 2 years left, and I get the sense that Okonoboh isn’t going to sit for a year and not play at all. The front court is crowded, and SU probably needs to look at a wing in 2014 and 2015. With Obokoh probably redshirting this year, and if he sticks around, Roberson and McCullough at the 4, there won’t be many minutes for Okonoboh his freshman year. As I understand it, Indiana is considered the leader for Okonoboh.

  4. Disagree with the assessment of Joseph as a combo guard, or more of a scorer. Ja’Quan Newton who, I believe, was Syracuse’s back up plan if they didn’t get Joseph, is a quintessential combo guard. A scorer more than a passer but too short to be a high major SG, so he’ll play PG in college. Joseph on the otherhand is a pass first guy. Here is a quote from Vin Pastore, Joseph’s coach for his AAU team Mass Rivals “[Syracuse] perceives him… to be a point guard, a pass first guy. He’s a pass first guy and that’s Kaleb.” So in Kaleb Joseph, Syracuse got one of the best pure PG left on the board.

    I also disagree that Whitehead is more of a need. Syracuse is currently stacked at SG with Gbinije, Cooney & Patterson. I envision the rotation going like this: Gbinije starts, but comes out fairly early to get a breather while Cooney gets to play a little and chuck some 3s to see if he is “hot” (if that ever happens). Assuming he’s not Gbinije will go in and give Ennis a breather at point, and Patterson will get some time at SG. Granted, Whitehead may be better than all of them, as I believe he is a special scorer, could be the best scorer since Wes Johnson or Melo. But he does play with a me first attitude that may not fit Boeheim or this team’s scoring by committee atmosphere.

    Okonoboh, on the other hand, could fill a significant need at PF. I know McCullough is a PF but he’s actually undersized for the position (despite some published reports of McCullough being 6’10” 220 lbs., he measured 6’8 1/2 (WITH SHOES ON!), 198 lbs. at the LeBron James Skills Academy this summer). During this year, Grant and Christmas will probably play PF, but Grant will probably be leaving and Christmas doesn’t rotate well when he plays on the wing of the zone. Roberson was listed as a PF during recruiting, but he’s only 6’7″ 200 lbs. as well. Okonoboh measured 6’10”, 213 lbs. at the LeBron James Skill Academy this summer. For the 2014 year McCullough will probably play PF, but who knows if he’ll be one & done. Other than Christmas (who is more naturally a center, even though he doesn’t have the height for it), there is no one to play PF. I think Okonoboh can play either C or PF, already plays in a 2-3 zone at his school, and could greatly showcase his best skills (his shot blocking) in Syracuse’s 2-3 zone.

    Despite this, I think its most likely Syracuse doesn’t sign either of them and in fact “banks” the extra scholarship for 2015. If they sign either Whitehead or Okonoboh, they would be scheduled to have only one scholarship available for the 2015 class, assuming no one left early. If they don’t sign anyone, and Grant leaves early, as expected, then there would be at least three scholarships available for some combination of Isaiah Briscoe or Malachi Richardson at SG, Derrick Jones at SF and/or Cheik Diallo or Thomas Bryant at PF. Again, I would note that PF is probably the biggest need amongst those three.

  5. Oh save us all. Cooney has been on the hill for 2 years and has shown minus zero. I hate to be cruel but so far he is a waste who seemingly cannot hit the broad side of a barn with his subpar shooting. Unless he improves, he is a wasted space on the Cuse team. I have seen better high school shooters than Cooney.

  6. Carlton

    Few things Joseph is a true pg not a combo guard like the fizz said in this article. I think this is the only article I’ve seen suggesting that he was a combo guard in fact. Newton also was another pg not a combo guard. That is why he an whitehead talked package deal(an still could be).

    Whitehead I think will be the last member of this class. I don’t get some of the negative things being said about him here. He had great summer an overcame a lot of the general assumptions being made about him being “selfish” an a “ball hog”. He is waiters 2.0 /w a more consistent jump shot. If he signs /w Ennis at the point an whitehead at the SG SU would have the best backcourt in the country.

    Goodluck I think is a lock for IU. Also I’d rather see SU wait an grab couple more skilled big men in the 15 class. Bryant from Rochester an Diallo as well.

    Lastly if whitehead signed he be a 1 an done so will CM5. Then throw in the possibility of Robertson an Ennis leaving as well as RAK graduating that’s five scholarships that would be open. So no need to worry about that.

  7. orangeinva

    Kaleb…work on the left hand. Offensively, you will be average at the college level without.

  8. Duany Duany

    SU is no longer recruiting Whitehead.

  9. @Duany… hes a drama queen, but a talented one.. hope Cuse has a backup plan.

  10. Carlton

    Duany is right. Word went out over twitter no longer mutual interest between SU an Whitehead. Looks like that is a wrap on this recruiting class. Goodluck also cut his list an SU wasn’t on it.

  11. Carlton

    Update: Whitehead said to be attending elite camp aug 31st and named SU as one of the teams still recruiting him. After seeing him tonight SU better find room for him. Like I said Ennis+Whitehead=best back court in the country. He abused mudiay few times 1on1.

  12. This is my first time pay a visit at here and i am really pleassant to read all at alone place.

Comments have been disabled.