After a disappointing 2017 recruiting cycle (zero top 100 recruits), Syracuse men’s basketball has seemingly found a way to turn things around for the class of 2018. With already committed players shooting up recruiting boards and other highly-touted prospects considering SU for next season, there’s a lot of reason to be excited for the future of Orange basketball. And after this weekend, that excitement may not be reserved only for 2018.
This past weekend, the SU basketball program hosted its annual Elite Camp, bringing together some of the best recruits in the country. Typically used as a way to get recruits to Central New York and evaluate them further, Jim Boeheim and company used this year’s edition to offer a number of players in the Class of 2019. Not only do those offered at the camp possibly represent the future of Syracuse basketball, but many of them also have deep-rooted connections to the Orange. Let’s take a look at some of the offerees and their SU ties.
Kahlil Whitney, SF, Roselle Catholic (NJ) – Whitney is perhaps the most highly-touted offer stemming from the Elite Camp. The 6’6” small forward is a consensus four-star recruit ranked in the top 70 of most rankings (No. 65 according to 247sports.com’s composite rankings, No. 50 on Scout.com, and No. 38 on ESPN.com’s 2019 ESPN 60). The most exciting facet of Whitney’s game is his enormous upside. While he already uses his wiry frame, non-stop motor, and freakish athleticism to play in transition and rise up to throw down dunks, he hasn’t quite grown into his lanky body. That enticing length coupled with his ability to defend multiple positions makes him a mouthwatering fit for Boeheim’s 2-3 zone. Whitney’s ties to Syracuse lie in his high school matriculation. Roselle Catholic has produced two of SU’s best players over the past few seasons with both Tyler Roberson and Malachi Richardson spending at least one season with the Lions.
Brycen Goodine, SG, St. Andrews School (RI) – Goodine is a guy that started bursting onto the recruiting scene in the early months of 2016. What, you may ask, was the reason for this sudden appearance? Well, just take a look for yourself.
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The Massachusetts-born guard is rated as a three-star recruit by 247sports.com’s composite rankings and a lot if it has to do with the explosive athleticism he possesses above the rim. While there hasn’t been abundant interest in Goodine’s talents, he does hold an offer from Boston College, and California, UCONN, and Florida have also shown interest. Like Roselle Catholic with Whitney, Goodine’s school, St. Andrews, has also produced Syracuse talent in the past, namely former first-round pick Michael Carter-Williams.
John Bol Ajak, PF, The School at Church Farm (PA) – The final class of 2019 recruit to receive an offer from the Orange over the weekend, Ajak, has flown under the recruiting radar up to this point. The 6’10” forward is not ranked by any national recruiting services, but just his sheer size may be able to help SU in the middle of that vaunted zone. An AAU teammate of Tyus Battle’s brother, Khalif, as well as other SU targets, Louis King and Cam Reddish, Ajak also holds offers from St. Louis, Seton Hall, and Wake Forest.
With 2017’s disastrous recruiting cycle in the rear-view mirror, there seem to be a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the direction of Syracuse basketball. When you take a top-10 recruit in Darius Bazley, plus the possibility of bolstering the rest of the 2018 class and you top if off with a slew of talented 2019 offers on the table, the Orange may just have a recipe for success for the future.