The Daily Orange recently wrote an article detailing the recruiting failures Syracuse has had in recent years. SU used to be a hub of college talent, almost never without a future NBA player on the roster. Nowadays that’s just not the case. Anthony Dabbundo writes in his piece titled, “Just Another ACC School: Inside SU’s recruiting successes and its recent failures,” that Syracuse just doesn’t have the same pull it used to in recruiting. That’s absolutely true, and we’ve seen several examples of it throughout the time the Orange have spent in the ACC. A lot of people point to sanctions that Syracuse has endured over recent years, others point to Mike Hopkins’ departure. Both contribute to SU’s current state, but instead of looking at those reasons let’s look at what really happened.
In 2018 it looked like Boston native, Darius Bazely would make his way to Syracuse for the 2018-19 campaign. He was a McDonald’s All-American who had a real chance to change the program. Instead, he decided college basketball wasn’t for him. In March of 2018 the 5-star recruit de-committed from SU with the plan to join the G-League straight out of high school. This crushed Syracuse fans. That was the first big blow. Losing Bazely wasn’t the end of the world, but it obviously wasn’t what the Orange wanted. Then came the 2019 offseason, where Syracuse looked to add a talented big yet again. This time is was Isaiah Washington, another 5-star recruit. It came down to a few teams in the end, but Washington eventually decided to join Washington, where SU’s former assistant coach, Mike Hopkins had become the headman. That was a crushing blow. Another talented player fell through SU’s fingers. This is when SU fans really began to notice that things had changed on the hill. The Orange weren’t putting up 30 win seasons anymore, instead, they were scratching and clawing for every win, putting out 5 players that didn’t sniff the talent level of the teams sported in the early 2010s. The most recent incident in SU’s recruit debacle was Dior Johnson’s de-commitment. The 5-star guard committed to SU on February 7th, 2020. He looked as if he was excited to join the Orange and bring some other talented players with him in the 2022 class. However, SU fans knew in the back of their minds it was too good to be true. In November of the same year, Johnson withdrew his commitment.
SU has been through the wringer and will need to find some alternative methods if it wants to continue to compete on the court and in the recruiting battle. Dabbundo’s article goes into depth about how things have changed for Syracuse, I urge you to read it.