Kamari Lands was the focal point of an elite Class of ’22 for Syracuse. His decommittment rocked the Orange recruiting efforts. Now SU is scrambling to fill that hole and one of their targets is headed toward LSU.
Chance Westry is a 6-6 small forward and rated the 29th best player in the class by 247 Sports. He’s been in the SU recruiting sphere for months, and suddenly many pundits have predicted he’ll land with the Tigers.
The Hillcrest Prep star hasn’t made anything official, and even a commitment wouldn’t be in writing yet, but it’s a clean sweep at 247 Sports in the crystal ball. All of their analysts are predicting he ends up in Baton Rouge.
If that’s indeed the case, what does it mean for the Orange? It would be another disappointment, but it wouldn’t be devastating. Westry became a convenient plug-and-play piece in the recruiting puzzle for the Orange. They’re both top 35 players. They’re both small forwards. They both were SU targets. And Westry seemed to be a perfect replacement for Lands.
But first, the existing Syracuse class still has two excellent players in Justin Taylor and Quadir Copeland. Secondly, there’s talent out there like JJ Starling who could be a terrific third piece. Finally, the transfer portal means that no class is a finished product even after the ink is dried on the commitments.
Starling is the 35th ranked recruit in the Class of ’22 and a Baldwinsville product. He has a keen familiarity with the Orange and the staff has told him how much they want him at the Dome. Yes, as a combo guard he might be redundant since both Taylor and Copeland play in the backcourt, but college basketball can be a positionless sport. The best coaches find a way to adjust their gameplan to fit the talent they have. Plenty of teams (including the Orange) find ways to win games with three guards on the floor.
The Lands news was a difficult pill to swallow for the Orange, and losing Westry to LSU would also be disappointing. But it’s not the end of the story for the Class of ’22. As we’ve learned after Lands (and many times before), nothing is ever permanent in college hoops.