It finally happened. After a 2017 recruiting class that was dry of ESPN Top 100 commits for the first time ever, the Orange made its first big splash in the Class of 2018. Syracuse received a commitment from four star forward Darius Bazley, who de-committed from Ohio State earlier this year after Thad Matta stepped down as head coach. The Cincinnati native reached out to SU after his decommitment and both sides had mutual interest. After visiting the school on Friday, he made his commitment after the weekend. Bazley is SU’s highest rated commit in the ESPN 100 since Malachi Richardson in 2015. The Ohio native is also the top rated recruit from his home state in his class. He also plays his AAU ball with the elite Mean Streets program, a Chicago-based team whose alumni include Anthony Davis, Derrick Rose, Eric Gordon and Tyler Ulis. Bazley currently leads the team in scoring and rebounding at 15.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.
This is a big get for Jim Boeheim after the Orange struck out on Cole Swider earlier in the week. Syracuse beat out ACC foe Louisville as well as a number of quality Big Ten programs like Maryland, Purdue and Indiana. With Bazley as the building block for the Class of 2018, the Orange has a nice, early start on the recruiting trail.
As for 2018, this gives Syracuse a dreamy lineup for its 2-3 zone. Bazley is just another installment of the supreme length that Syracuse thrives on defensively. Alongside Matthew Moyer, Oshae Brissett, Marek Dolezaj and Bourama Sidibe, SU is going to be scary on the defensive end.
But the Orange cannot get content with Bazley as the lone stud in the class. He is a player that many scouts view as a future pro and could bounce to the NBA after his freshman season. That being said, Syracuse should also be targeting recruits to complement Bazley and will stick around for more than one year. The Orange is a frontrunner for 2018 point guard Jalen Carey which would supplement SU well for the 2018-19 season and beyond.