It seems like the recent strategy for Syracuse basketball recruiting has been find underrated guys, get them on campus and have them sign on the dotted line before anyone realizes how good they are. That’s not the case in 2022, and that should be refreshing to Orange fans.
Sharpshooting small forward Chris Bunch was just moved into the top-60 in 247’s rankings. Now 59th overall, he’s also tabbed as the 15th-best small forward in the nation. All of a sudden, the Duke shadow lurking behind SU for Bunch’s talents is getting closer. The eighth-best Californian recruit (according to 247 Sports) also says he plans on visiting Ole Miss, Arkansas, USC, ACC powerhouse Florida State, and already toured Rutgers. The point is, good teams already took notice and better teams are in pursuit.
But 247 also has Syracuse as the 7th best class in 2022. Syracuse fans can thank Kamari Lands and Justin Taylor for injecting legitimacy back in the Orange recruiting game. In fact, Arkansas is the only team with a better class right now that is on Bunch’s tour list.
It’s possible that Bunch being ranked higher as his commitment nears actually helps Syracuse. He’s not planning on deciding any time soon, but expects to release a short list by the end of the summer. If Syracuse is still in contention with the added attention, it will add fuel to the fire which claims that Syracuse belongs with the elite programs again. The last time Syracuse landed three four-star recruits in the same class was 2016 when Tyus Battle, Tauren Thompson and Matthew Moyer came in. For reference, Duke brought in at least three five stars in seven of the past nine classes. The Blue Devils last failed to recruit at least three four stars in 2012 when they only brought in two guys (five-star Rasheed Sulaimon and four-star Amile Jefferson).
That might not sound like a fair comparison. After all, Duke is Duke. But that’s the point. Syracuse has to feel tired of that hollow rationale costing them players. Three four-star recruits would bring Syracuse one-step closer to national legitimacy on the recruiting scene. But Lands and Taylors commitments and Bunch’s decision mean nothing if they don’t play well. Just ask the 2016 class.