Syracuse basketball has had its fair share of top recruits in the past, Carmelo Anthony, Jonny Flynn, and Michael Carter-Williams just to name a few. A lot of the guys that have come through the salt city have played well and won some big games, but some of them really haven’t. This list will unveil three highly-rated players that didn’t pan out the way SU had envisioned.
Jalen Carey: Though it may seem like recency bias, Carey’s play at SU never lived up to the hype he had coming in. The kid from Harlem was supposed to be the next top SU guard, like Brandon Triche, Tyler Ennis, Gerry McNamara, or Pearl Washington. Instead, he lived on the bench for his entire tenure in Orange. He showed flashes of potential here and there but never fully got a chance to show off his skills. It was clear that Coach Boeheim was never sold on the idea of Carey being his next guard, against Colgate this past season Joe Girard III was clearly favored over the then Sophomore guard. In the post-game press conference, the Hall of Fame coach was asked a question regarding Carey’s playing time, “What has Jalen not been able to show you, and what can he work on?” Boeheim answered with a question of his own, “Did you watch the game today? Then you don’t need to ask that question…Joe will be starting Saturday.” From that point on it was clear that Carey probably wouldn’t be getting many more chances. It makes sense that he transferred to Rhode Island.
Darius Bazley: Now notorious for helping to jumpstart the G-League in place of the NCAA, Bazely was ranked as the 17th highest prospect in 2018. After being struck with sanctions and struggling for a few years, Syracuse was excited to get a guy like Bazley to hopefully restart dominance on the college basketball scene. Things didn’t turn out that way as the 5-star talent spurned SU by redirecting his commitment from College to the G-League. It’s fair to say it worked out, the 6’9’’ forward was selected by the Thunder with the 23rd pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and played significant minutes for a contending team.
Dajuan Coleman: A local kid that was supposed to team up with Rakeem Christmas to create an unstoppable force down low turned into one of the most disappointing prospects in SU basketball history. Ranked the 18th highest high school prospect in 2012, above guys like Kris Dunn, Willie Cauley-Stein, Terry Rozier, and more. Coleman, a McDonald’s All-American in High School was supposed to be the next big thing. Instead, he put up mediocre numbers from freshman-senior year, never averaging more than 5.6 PPG or 4.8 RPG. Some argue the Jamesville-Dewitt high school product never fully got a chance at the collegiate level as he never averaged more than 17.5 MPG, but his numbers speak for themselves.
Not every recruit turns into the player they’re projected to be, but SU basketball is hopeful that future prospects like this year’s Frank Anselem, Woody Newton, and Kadary Richmond will pan out as well as 2022’s Dior Johnson.