Yesterday was a tough result for SU as Syracuse native and four-star JJ Starling picked another ACC program nearly 600 miles away. It proved that allegiance based off proximity is a dying tactic in recruitment. But to highlight the bad is to overlook the good. Although the buzz continues to surround the now-Notre Dame point guard of the future, landing another high-level recruit is still apparent.
Three-star power forward Maliq Brown trimmed his list down to five schools yesterday afternoon, with the block S occupying one of those spots.
It comes at no surprise following his official visit to Central New York 11 days ago. But it is reassuring (or at least should be) for a fanbase that’s trying to cope with failing to land a local product. That being said, it’s worth noting for everyone who monitors SU basketball closely, Brown is a very valuable addition. The Virginia native is not a four star like Starling, but his skillset is still very admirable, especially in a Syracuse system that lacks depth and height at the power forward position.
Another positive takeaway revolves around the uptick in SU recruiting. Since falling from a blue blood program to a perennial bracket buster, the Orange have struggled to play a huge role in the recruiting scene. But that trend took a full 180 when considering 2022. Most official visits turn into consideration and possible commitment. Even the players who de-commit are willing to give their word to Jim Boeheim without knowing more than just the lore of the program.
Now, it’s a waiting game. Brown loved his official visit but there is no clear indication to which direction he is eyeing.
Here’s a brief, first-glance case for each school:
Virginia Tech – Lacks experience (three players at-or-above the senior rank in 2021) but a rise potential due to its depth is compelling.
NC State – Forwards Jericho Hellems and Manny Bates are prototypes to “taller and bigger” player success for the Wolfpack (Brown’s skillset revolves around his height and stature in the paint).
Georgetown – Brown plays inside and will most likely enjoy a hefty amount of time inside the three-point arc as a “big” power forward, which includes pick-and-roll success. The one word answer: Ewing.
Syracuse – A chance to play a lot of minutes because SU lacks size. Plus, Brown stay in the zone defense scheme that he’s currently running in high school. SU is also Brown’s only official visit thus far.
Penn State – A chance to compete against plenty of top-level teams while learning from a large pool of upperclassmen and highly-touted transfers.