The rivalry with UConn used to be on the floor, but these days it’s spilled into the recruiting hallways. Zion Cruz is 6’4″ shooting guard playing in Jersey City, and Syracuse has an offer to him. He’s a 5-star talent, a potent scorer, and a huge piece of the Class of ’22. SU is in on a number of elite talents in that class. Cruz is ranked 16th overall in his class by Rivals. He also has the Huskies on him. SU, UConn, St. John’s, Oregon and Indiana have all offered him, according to ESPN. Many others have expressed interest as well. It’s tough to get a read on where he’s leaning because sites peg all of his offers with the same interest level: “medium.”
Cruz was dynamic in his latest matchup against Immaculate, scoring 17 of his 23 points in the second half. 6’9″ UConn commit Samson Johnson and 6’9″ Mouhamed Sow also combined for 28 points, 26 rebounds and five blocks to lead the Patrick School to a 67-61 victory Thursday.
The Patrick School (12-1) then mustered the final run, and it was fittingly launched by Cruz, who used both his stifling defensive play and his explosiveness to take command of a variety of situations in the second half. Here, the five-star combo guard hit two free throws with exactly 1:00 to go after being fouled on a drive, and followed that with a driving layup off an Immaculate turnover for a 73-67 lead with 36 seconds remaining.
Just to recap, Cruz played lockdown defense in the final minute against a great team, drove to the basket, got fouled, made both free throws, then caused a turnover, made a driving layup and iced the game.
“I think what really helped Zion was this is the most he’s attack the rim for us this season,” Patrick School head coach Chris Chavannes said. “When he attacks the rim, he’s so lightning quick and does such a good job of finishing in the paint, he separates himself from the rest of the crowd.”
The battle for Cruz is far from over, so it’s worth keeping an eye on his exploits. Last night he showed just how versatile and dynamic he can be.