Since losing Darius Bazley to the NBA‚Äôs G League a month ago, Syracuse basketball has started turning over rocks in search of a replacement. Last week, the Orange extended a scholarship offer to 2018 forward Robert Braswell, and SU has a visit scheduled with another 2018 big: Osun Osunniyi.
Osunniyi plays at Putnam Science Academy, a hotbed for prep basketball talent and the school which also hosts 2019 Orange target Akok Akok. An assistant at Putnam told Syracuse.com‚Äôs Mike Waters Osunniyi is scheduled to visit the Syracuse campus next Thursday.
Before recently, Osunniyi hadn‚Äôt attracted much attention from major programs or experts. He isn‚Äôt ranked on any of the biggest recruiting sites and held his biggest offers from the close-to-home schools of LaSalle and Lafayette. Osunniyi committed to LaSalle near the end of his junior year but pulled out of that commitment when the Explorers fired Head Coach John Giannini in March. Now, he has picked up late interest from the Orange and other bigger schools such as Maryland and Georgetown. Osunniyi will also visit St. Bonaventure before making the trip up to Central New York.
On the court, Osunniyi is far from a finished product but has the length and strength to fly off the floor. He only started playing basketball four years ago, but in that time has discovered an innate ability to perfectly time his jumps. Osunniyi‚Äôs Hudl tape boasts highlights of spectacular alley-oops and rundown blocks but shows very little of the fundamentals. That isn‚Äôt to say those fundamentals aren‚Äôt there, but it would be easy to believe for such a raw prospect. Osunniyi is seen more of a project than an immediate contributor, but Jim Boeheim loves the length the 6-10 senior could provide. In a best-case scenario, Osunniyi could come to the Orange and provide small minutes when needed for a season while he learns under Jim Boeheim. Then, he could get his first shot at legitimate playing time in his sophomore year.
Syracuse basketball is trying to replace a top-tier talent at a time in the recruiting cycle when there are only bottom shelf recruits still available. The loss of Darius Bazley is impossible to make up for at this point, but the Orange desperately needs another body on next year‚Äôs roster. SU will take any serviceable player it can get, which doesn‚Äôt make Orange fans optimistic after losing out on Bryce Golden and Khalif Battle to Butler in the last week.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson