Syracuse’s annual Elite Camp took place this past weekend and didn’t disappoint. Out of the 19 attendees, five new offers were handed out. That doesn’t include SU commit Justin Taylor, or Peter Carey and Simeon Wilcher, who took part but already have offers from Syracuse.
The five include DJ Wagner, Papa Kante, Joseph Estrella and Reid Ducharme in 2023, and Donnie Freeman, the lone recruit in 2024 thus far.
This part of the process is huge for the Orange because many of these rising high school juniors (and in Freeman’s case, an incoming sophomore) will choose their college destination next summer. It also exposes SU’s vast facility, the Melo Center, and allows recruits to scour both the campus and area.
Now onto what the Orange saw in these five new prospects:
What is there not to like about this 6-foot-3 point guard. Not only is he the top player in the 2023 class according to ESPN, but the New Jersey native has the skills to garner #1 NBA draft pick consideration down the line.
Unfortunately for Syracuse fans, 247Sports has already placed a trio of crystal ball predictions on Wagner to Kentucky, but with two years left in his high school career, there’s still plenty of time. Don’t count out the possibility of the guard reclassifying (like 2022 top prospects Emoni Bates and Jalen Duran both did), but the hope is that this Elite Camp had some kind of impact of Wagner’s decision moving forward.
[Boeheim] said he’d like to have me there. I was just happy. I was grateful. Very appreciative.”Wagner to SI’s Mike McAllister
If there’s one position group that needs help from a recruiting front, it’s the center slot. Whether that’s someone who can rebound and man the bottom of the 2-3 zone, or be an athletic power forward that can stretch the floor with his length at the “5” spot, SU has struggled to find production there. Kante is a great antidote to that problem.
The 6’10” PF/C is a prototypical big man at his height and weight (more built than Marek Dolezaj) and has the skill of an inside player. Kante can provide a presence that Pascal Chukwu and Bourama Sidibe could never, and that’s ability on both ends of the floor.
Plus, he is a developmental player who still has plenty of strides to make.
“He can score in the post but also has a nice turn and face up game. He prides himself on toughness, playing hard and communicating at a high level. He’s only played organized basketball for just under three years, so he’s just scratching the surface of what he will be prior to entering college in two years.”Raphael Chillious, Kante’s high school coach, to SI’s Mike McAllister
Talk about a heartwarming story. After the Camp, Estrella was ready to leave until his dad urged him to stay because of a possible offer. Estrella didn’t believe it would happen, until it did.
This is the 6-foot-8 forward’s lone D1 offer heading into his junior season. It’s especially exciting due to Estrella’s immense skillset within and outside the painted area. Keep tabs on this South Portland (Maine) High School attendee because even this early, his odds to come to Syracuse have risen exponentially because its his first offer… or at least that’s a great spot to be in.
SU is covering all its bases with a point guard, a forward that can shoot and space the floor, plus a big man inside to fill the gap at center, so what are the Orange missing? How about a shoot first, spot up guard. Insert Ducharme into that role.
This 6-foot-4 Brewster Academy sharpshooter, with Stanford and other schools on his radar, can flat out drain shots. But his versatility at the rim is what makes Ducharme extra dangerous as a dual threat player from the perimeter.
As much as it’s enticing to speak on the skillset of Freeman, it is also way too early to do so. With three years left of high school, the 6-foot-9 wing is nowhere near close to picking his home in 2024 and beyond.
Also, Orange fans don’t need another Dior Johnson situation where they get too excited about a recruit this young.
“Coach Boeheim walked up to me, said he loves my game and my high IQ. He said ‘congrats you just received an offer from Syracuse.’ I was extremely excited because growing up I loved Syracuse.”Freeman to SI’s Mike McAllister
He also has offers from Maryland and Old Dominion.