It’s not very often that we here at Orange Fizz talk about how the Pitt Panthers could actually help out Syracuse. Far too often, we’re talking about basketball-like scores in football games, recruits faking out the Orange to head to the Panthers or the not-so-great record SU had against Pitt in the Jamie Dixon era.
However, Pitt basketball fell on some very hard times during the Kevin Stallings era (see this Tweet from less than a month ago) and with Stallings out and Jeff Capel in, there are a lot of question marks about what the Pitt roster will look like come next season.
One question that is answered, though, is that 2018 four-star forward Bryce Golden will not be donning the navy and gold in the 2018-2019 season after reportedly de-committing and requesting his release from Pitt around the same time as the transfer exodus began.
2018 post player Bryce Golden asked Pittsburgh for a release this morning, he tells @247Sports.
— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) March 16, 2018
So what does this have to do with SU you might be asking. Well, according to a coach at his high school in Hagerstown, MD, Syracuse has made the short list of schools that Golden is now considering for next season. SU joins Butler, Georgetown (yuck), Illinois, UCONN and Wichita State in Golden’s Top 6 and according to 247 Sports’s Crystal Ball, a lot of signs are pointing toward the Orange, with all three predictions for Golden’s collegiate home going SU’s way.
And just because Golden originally chose to sign with a program like Pitt, that doesn’t mean that SU fans shouldn’t be excited about the possibility of seeing Golden in Central New York. A four-star recruit according to ESPN and a three-star according to most other services, Golden is rated nearly identically, and in some cases a tad higher, to how Oshae Brissett was when he came out of high school last year and we all know how well that worked out.
Golden also fills a massive void left by the departure of Darius Bazley and Matthew Moyer. Just a few weeks ago, we thought there might be a logjam at forward, but now, all of a sudden, there’s a serious lack of depth. With both Bazley and Moyer taking their talents elsewhere, SU is left with only Brissett and Dolezaj at the forward spot for next season.
On top of simply adding some depth to the SU frontcourt, Golden is also very skilled on both ends of the floor. The 6-foot-9, 230-pound power forward features a nice blend of both strength and athleticism that makes him an elite-level rebounder, especially offensively, something that SU desperately lacked last season. With that strength, Golden finishes well through contact and can do it with both hands. He’s got good touch on his jumper both from the mid-range and beyond the arc and he’ll help SU space the floor a bit more than it did a season ago. His post game is still developing, but that’s something that can be worked on once he gets to college.
Perhaps the most intriguing things about Golden, however, are his bloodlines. His brother, Grant, broke Richmond’s all-time scoring record for a freshman last season when he led the Spiders in scoring at a nearly 16-point-per-game clip. He also pulled down more than six rebounds a game, meaning that he was one of only seven freshmen in the entire country to average at least 15.5 points and six rebounds per game. Oh yeah, Bryce and Grant’s father also played collegiate basketball at Fairfield.
Any way you slice it, Bryce Golden would be a welcome addition to a Syracuse recruiting class that doesn’t look nearly as stellar as it did just a few weeks ago. He fills a need, has a well-rounded skill set and the bloodlines to match. Plus, it would be all the sweeter to see him in Orange after he was so nearly a Pitt Panther.