With Dior Johnson decommitting from Syracuse, all but guaranteeing he will not suit up in Orange, it is official. Three of SU’s top-five recruits since 2003 never actually made it to the Hill. Andray Blatche, Darius Bazley and Dior Johnson. Blatche and Bazley pursued the professional ranks out of high school. Even though Johnson reopened his recruitment, it seems likely that the five-star will be looking to turn a profit next year.
Objectively, losing three big names like that pushes the limits of the “freak incident” excuse. Many critics, and even some high school recruits might be wondering if there is anything wrong with Syracuse that deterred the big names from calling Central New York home.
The bottom line is that these three players decommitted based on their own individual circumstances. In 2005 with more relaxed rules, Blatche saw an opportunity to go right to the NBA Draft out of high school. Bazley bypassed college for the G-League, which he then gave up to train privately while interning for New Balance with a lucrative salary. Unlike the others, Johnson’s decommitment stems from academic concerns.
Reports have emerged claiming that the guard is behind in his academic progress, having already changed high schools three times. Syracuse was already penalized for academic violations in 2015. They can’t afford an academic liability.
Orange fans likely grew accustomed to the idea of a nationally recognized name expressing excitement towards the prospect of coming to play in the Dome, and bringing other talented recruits with him. With that taken away, it’s normal to feel the urge to point fingers. At the same time, SU is not to blame. Johnson’s recruitment to Syracuse was damaged beyond repair by his academic woes.