By now we know that Syracuse’s competition for 4-star big man Kyle Filipowski is going to be stiff. Every day seems to bring out a new blue-blood looking for his commitment. His basketball talents are one part of that reason. He’s 6’10”, has a huge wingspan, and has been making jaws drop in AAU summer action.
The other reason is his personality. He’s a late-riser on the recruiting circuit, so he hasn’t had the same recognition and hype since he’s been in middle school. That’s meant Filipowski has stayed grounded and ready for the attention, without getting lost in it. On the floor, his high school coach Mike Mannix compares him to NBA players from years ago. And in the locker room, he’s a throwback as well.
“He’s a guy that when he hangs out with the other guys and the way he responds to his teammates, you would never know that he’s the best player in terms of having any kind of air of superiority, where he would say something like, ‘I’m the best player you can’t talk to me like that,’ or ‘I deserve this or that,’ – there’s never any of that.” – Mike Mannix
He’s the ultimate team guy, says Mannix.
“Instead it is, ‘I’m the best player, so I am going to be there to support you guys, I’m the best player so in practice, I’m going to show you that I am the hardest worker.’ He takes all of the right approaches with being the best player. There is never any negative side. With him you always get his best, and then when he hangs out with the guys he is just a normal guy and normal teammate, he takes jokes and makes jokes, he just has a great time with his guys.” – Mike Mannix
It’s always a worry in the modern college basketball landscape to have players who exist in their own little orbit. We’ve seen Syracuse lose athletes who thought the coaches didn’t support them enough. Sounds like “Flip” wouldn’t worry about those things.
“He’ll take charges, he doesn’t avoid them. The first time I ever saw him play an AAU game back in the spring of 2019, he dove on the floor for a loose ball, got it to a teammate, sprinted the floor and ended up finishing the play. He’s also a very willing passer, and a very good passer. The last game of the season that we played he had his lowest point total of the year, he only had ten points. But he had eight assists, and he also had 19 rebounds, so he just finds a way to impact the game if one part of his game isn’t going so well.” – Mike Mannix
So what type of player can we envision at the next level?
“If you took two inches off of Kyle Filipowski, and just watched him play, you would think 10 or 15 years ago he was an NBA small forward. That’s the kind of game he has. The small forwards of the early 2000s where a lot of those guys can take you off the dribble, a lot of those guys can take the ball up the floor, but in the early 2000s those guys were also a little more likely to be able to take you into the post too. The fact that he is 6-foot-10 plus, you just expect him to get in the post, and he does, but he handles the ball like those guys.” – Mike Mannix
Now you start to get the picture of what so many elite college programs see, and why they’ve all lined up to land him.