Kevin Knox, the No. 10 recruit in the nation for high school basketball’s class of 2017, didn’t have many people in Syracuse watching when he announced his college decision Saturday. The Orange offered Knox a scholarship in 2015 when he was starting his junior year of high school, but SU had been out of the running for the Tampa native for months. Somehow, he still managed to throw another wrench into Syracuse basketball’s recruiting plans when he chose Kentucky over Duke in a classic blue-blood recruiting battle.
Normally, Syracuse fans would love to see Duke lose out on a top player. The Blue Devils already have the best recruiting class in the ACC, and Duke was the favorite to land Knox before he chose Kentucky. Missing out on Knox left Coach K with a hole to fill, and Jordan Tucker — No. 1 most wanted for Syracuse basketball — was the easiest fix. Tucker had narrowed his decision down to Syracuse and Georgia Tech, but there’s always room for a top-tier team such as the Blue Devils in the conversation. He’ll be visiting Durham this week.
Duke is a real threat to Syracuse’s chances at Tucker because the Blue Devils take away just about every recruiting advantage the Orange had up to this point. In the broadest sense, recruits usually choose a school based on one of two factors: location and opportunity. Georgia Tech has the location advantage. Honestly, it’s probably the only reason the Yellow Jackets are still in the race. Up until yesterday, Syracuse had opportunity on its side, but what can SU offer that Duke can’t? The Orange won’t be the better team next season, and it’s no question that Duke gets more exposure on national TV and sends more players to the NBA. The Blue Devils even have the only coach in the world with more wins than Syracuse’s. Those were all things Syracuse had over Georgia Tech, and now they’re all things Duke has over Syracuse.
If the rules of recruiting were fair, Syracuse wouldn’t sweat over Duke taking a shot at Tucker in the last minute. Syracuse offered him in 2014. It’s put in years of recruiting to try and get him in orange, while Duke just called yesterday. But this side of the game isn’t fair, and now all SU can do is wait and see if another recruit slips through its fingers.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson