Heading into the offseason, everything seemed right in the world of SU basketball. The Orange had just made a magical run to the Sweet 16 and prized recruit Darius Bazley was on his way to SU in the next few months. It’s kind of funny how quickly things can change in less than a month.
Now, with Bazley on his way to the G League, the question becomes if SU can find a new stud in the next couple of recruiting cycles. Remember, Bazley would have been the Orange’s first top-ten recruit since Carmelo Anthony, so it’s not like these kinds of opportunities come around every year.
But, with that being said, SU has offered a few of those studs in the class of 2019 and each of them comes with some tantalizing qualities that Orange fans would love to see in Central New York. But, will they end up here? Well, let’s break down the top three players in the class of 2019 that SU has extended an offer to and how likely it is they come to Syracuse.
Jalen Lecque (Five-Star, No. 10 ESPN, No. 12 247 Sports)
The top-rated offeree in the 2019 recruiting cycle for SU, Lecque is a combo guard from The Bronx who plays at Christ School in Arden, NC. Listed at 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, Lecque has great size, especially if you want to play him at the point guard position, which, in my opinion, is where he looks most comfortable. It’s apt that the one is where he fits in best because he is drawing a lot of comparisons to one of the best point guards in the world, Russel Westbrook. Lecque has silly bounce and has thrown down some of the wildest in-game dunks I have ever seen, just take a look for yourself. Outside of the athleticism, Lecque’s best attribute is his ability to penetrate and score in traffic. He’s crafty near the bucket and can create his own shot and finish through traffic. He really fits the quick, athletic mold of your typical NYC guard (think Kemba Walker or Tiny Archibald, but with better size.
Chances: 40% Lecque also boasts offers from powerhouses Kansas, Villanova and Florida, so it might be hard to get him away from big-name programs like those. However, incoming Class of 2018 guard, Jalen Carey is also from the New York City area, so he may be able to lure Lecque to SU.
Precious Achiuwa (Five-Star, No. 12 ESPN, No. 10 247 Sports)
Another of the impressive offers that SU has extended in next year’s class comes in the form of 6-foot-8, 190-pound small forward Precious Achiuwa. Watching Achiuwa’s tape, his game reminds me a lot of Oshae Brissett’s, except a bit more refined than what we saw from Oshae at the beginning of the season. Like Brissett, Achiuwa is long and has great athleticism and bounce in the open floor. His ball handling and passing is a bit more advanced than Brissett’s were as a high school senior and he has great vision to get the ball to open teammates in transition. Perhaps his most intriguing skill, however, is his shooting ability. We all know that Brissett struggled a bit with his shot at the beginning of the season before finding it in conference play, but it doesn’t seem like Achiuwa would need that learning curve. He’s already got a confident and consistent stroke that could help him stretch the floor and make he and whatever other talented wing Jim Boeheim can throw out there a fantastic combination.
Chances: 55% Because Achiuwa goes to school in nearby Newark and is from The Bronx, Boeheim and Co. may just have an upper hand in getting to Achiuwa. Then again, St. John’s is right there in the city and has also expressed a lot of interest in Achiuwa. With that being said, I think that SU has the best chance of getting Achiuwa of any of its top offerees.
Isaiah Stewart (Five-Star, No. 13 ESPN, No. 25 247 Sports)
Perhaps the most well-known of the 2019 offerees to SU fans, Stewart is a 6-foot-8, 227-pound center from Rochester, NY. We’ve already previewed him once so I won’t get too into exactly what he brings to the table, but he’s your prototypical monster. He bullies opponents in the post with his size and strength, but at the same time, he runs the floor well and can help spread the floor with a pretty nice long-range stroke. He’s a really exciting prospect that could help SU harken back to the good old days of having physically dominant centers man the middle of the 2-3 zone a la Arinze Onuaku, Etan Thomas and Rakeem Christmas of the last 20 or so years.
Chances: 25% Although Stewart is a close-to-home prospect being from nearby Rochester, the odds of him making the short trip to SU seem pretty slim. He’s been pretty well-connected to the Duke program and according to 247 Sports’s Crystal Ball predictions, the Blue Devils have the highest chance of getting him at 86%. SU fans should be rooting to get Stewart to CNY, but the road ahead might be a pretty tough one.