It’s a little tough to think of many positives for SU basketball after Wednesday’s season-opening loss to Virginia. Any time you only score 34 points in a home game, even if it’s against a historically great defense, not many people are going to walk away terribly pleased. But have no fear, Fizz Nation, because a bit of good news did come out of Wednesday night and it comes from the recruiting landscape.
On top of class of 2020 commit Woody Newton and five-star 2021 offeree Kennedy Chandler being in attendance for last night’s opener (sitting right next to each other for good measure), the Orange also welcomed a brand-new class of 2022 recruit to the Dome last night and he was touting a shiny new offer when he got the Loud House.
Roddy Gayle is a 6-foot-4, 160-pound shooting guard out of Youngstown, NY, a small town 40 minutes outside of Buffalo, right on the Canadian border and this kid can flat-out ball. The rising sophomore is a consensus four-star recruit and is ranked as the No. 1 prospect in New York State, the No. 12 shooting guard in the country and the No. 46 overall prospect in the nation according to 247Sports.
All of that is considering he’s coming from a really small town (population of 2,063) in Western New York (not exactly a hot bed for basketball talent) and is currently going to a public high school (Lewiston-Porter HS) where Division I recruiting, especially in basketball, is a bit less common. There’s a reason that the likes of Oklahoma, Wake Forest, Georgia and Alabama have all extended offers to Gayle at such a young age. He’s really, really talented.
As a freshman last year, Gayle won the Niagara Frontier League Player of the Year award and when you watch his mixtape it’s easy to tell why. Gayle’s got this easy-going swagger and confidence that you wouldn’t expect from a high schooler going up against guys 2-4 years older than him. He knows he’s one of the best players on the floor and that only serves to make him that much better because he wants to show exactly why.
Gayle has a quick and explosive first step that helps him blow by slower defenders on his way to the bucket. If he’s matched up against a defender that can contend with his quickness and athleticism, he still finds ways to finish whether it be through contact or just rising up over his defender with ease.
While he’s largely got a scorer’s mentality and wants to create offense for himself, he’s done well to get his teammates involved and can be a distributor from either guard spot. Because he’s already drawing so much of the defense’s attention thanks to his talent and skill level, he often draws double teams and while some at his age may panic with that kind of defense in his face, Gayle remains calm, cool and collected and either makes the necessary extra pass or finds a way to still get the bucket himself. A similar team-based mentality plus his athleticism also allow him to be a solid defender.
SU has had success in recruiting the Western New York/Canada (Youngstown is literally right on the international border) area in the past few years with the likes of Howard Washington (Buffalo), Quincy Guerrier and Oshae Brissett, so maybe Gayle is the next guy to stick pretty close to home and make his way to Central New York. With a lot of untapped potential still left to uncover and the ability to be a riser as the 2022 class matures, Roddy Gayle should be a recruiting priority for SU over the next few years.