Syracuse basketball fans were understandably excited in early July when 2018 forward Darius Bazley announced that he was committed to Boeheim’s program. That excitement was likely amplified by the fact that the Orange struggled to bring in an eye-catching recruiting class in the most recent cycle. Bazley had already made huge jumps in the 2018 rankings and is continuing to climb.
Bazley has now cracked the top ten on ESPN’s rankings for the class of 2018 as he is currently slotted in at number nine. If the rankings do not change between now and the start of the 2018-19 season and Bazley is in fact playing for the Orange, he will be the first top ten recruit to step onto Syracuse’s campus as a freshman since 2007. Donte Greene was the number seven recruit in the Class of 2007 and he averaged 18 points and 7 rebounds per game in his one season on the Hill.
If this was not already exciting enough, ESPN has heaped more praise onto the rising high school senior. Paul Biancardi, who is one of ESPN’s top college basketball recruiting experts, sees a significantly higher ceiling for Bazley. While he is still listed as the number nine player in the Class of 2018, Biancardi believes he has the potential to climb into the top 5 and sees him as the sixth best high school prospect in the country, regardless of class. It is hard to imagine that Syracuse has had a player who was thought of that highly coming out of high school since Carmelo Anthony in 2003. We all know what happened during Melo’s one year at Syracuse.
Bazley, who stands at 6-foot-8, is clearly not as highly thought of by some other “experts”. 247 has him as the 21st ranked player in the Class of 2018 and still has him as a four-star recruit. ESPN gave him a fifth star earlier this summer. However, it is important to remember that ESPN had Bazley in the 40s in their rankings not that long ago and he was outside the top 10 as recently as last week. It is also important to remember that nothing is set in stone. Though Bazley committed to the Orange days after visiting the school, he is not yet locked into his commitment and holds offers from other major programs including Louisville, Maryland, Georgetown and Florida. He also holds an offer from Cincinnati, which is the city in which he lives and goes to high school. He may still yet receive more big-time offers as other schools take notice of him climbing the big boards.
Bazley’s continuing development and his commitment to the Orange is certainly going to be an intriguing storyline between now and the time the 2018-19 season tips off.