Last night, Syracuse basketball Twitter went into a frenzy when the relatively unknown (at least in the U.S.) account @Eurohopes tweeted this out:
2017 forward Marek Dolezaj ('98) from Slovakia has committed to Syracuse. Only school he visited
— Eurohopes (@Eurohopes) May 21, 2017
Any news of a potential commit is, of course, huge for the Orange. Syracuse’s 2017 class is lacking, especially after the SU lost high-caliber recruits Quade Green and Jordan Tucker to blue-blood schools. At first, Orange Nation didn’t know if it could trust this source, but this morning we learned that the 6-9 forward will all but certainly be in orange in the winter.
@jordville There's about 99% chance that you will see him wearing orange next year, so yes. We talked couple hours ago.
— Ivan Zidzik (@ivanzidzik) May 22, 2017
6-foot-9 Slovakian F @MarekDolezaj is 'likely' to commit to Syracuse, source tells ZAGSBLOG.
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) May 22, 2017
Marek Dolezaj has committed to Syracuse, a source told TNIAAM. He confirmed the news with an Instagram post. 6-9 forward from Slovakia.
— Syracuse Basketball (@cusesigel) May 22, 2017
Here’s that Instagram post Sigel is referring to (notice the “?” caption).
So it’s looking like SU is adding a fourth member to its 2017 recruiting class, but who is Marek Dolezaj and what can he give the Orange?
We know very little about Dolezaj. His recruiting page on 247Sports is barren, and there’s a good chance the page didn’t even exist until he visited Syracuse earlier this month. He isn’t ranked in the 2017 class, and he doesn’t have much film to look at. In an interview with Scout.com earlier this year, he told Evan Daniels he could play the two or the three. Any 6-9 player with that kind of versatility in Jim Boeheim’s defense should have SU fans drooling. One of the only highlight videos you can find of Dolezaj (shown below) gives Orange Nation another reason to be excited: this kid can throw down.
In eight games at the FIBA U18 European Championships, Dolezaj averaged 13.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. The video above claims he shot 46 percent from the field and almost 30 percent from three at a Eurobasket.com tournament earlier in the year. Not great numbers, but those could easily improve once he gets into the hands of the Syracuse coaching staff.
Dolezaj had interest from a number of other schools, including Vanderbilt, Florida, Georgia Tech and Illinois. If it is true that he has committed to Syracuse (wouldn’t want to jump the gun), he’ll join Oshae Brissett, Howard Washington and Bourama Sidibe in the Orange’s 2017 recruiting class. He also fills the hole left by Jordan Tucker, giving the Orange a forward who can play both on the inside and out.
For updates on Dolezaj and all Syracuse basketball and football news, follow Orange Fizz on Twitter @OrangeFizz and listen to Fizz Radio, Sundays from 9-10 am on 1260 AM in Syracuse.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson