The 2022 recruiting class deserves its own breakdown. From early commits and decommitments, to a wild last month, the talk around SU basketball is more about the future than the present. That’s for good reason.
In February 2020, Dior Johnson, a five-star point guard, committed to the Orange in what many believed was too early of a decision to be confident in. Either way, Johnson ending up in CNY would’ve marked Jim Boeheim’s highest landed recruit in a very long time. But it didn’t take long for the now-14th ranked player in his class, according to 247 Sports, to leave retract his previous verbal commitment and survey the field.
It was the second time in the span of a few years that a five-star committed to Syracuse and subsequently chose elsewhere.
The sentiment became “same old ‘Cuse.” Whether a big time commit decided on Syracuse or the Orange were in the running for a recruit down the road, the SU faithful held out hope knowing that a commitment wasn’t final until that specific player suited up.
Then 2021 rolled around. Syracuse fans were still riding high on the Benny Williams commitment from the year prior, but more excited that he stayed the course with the Orange. With all this built up jubilation, SU fans received great news in April of this year. Four-star Kamari Lands had committed to SU. Yet another top 30 recruit on his way to the 315…right? More on that later.
It was a great start to the summer and one many didn’t see coming, mainly because Lands hadn’t visited the campus. But either way, the tides seemed to have turned on SU’s recruiting misfortunes. That was even more evident when June rolled around. Four-star Justin Taylor, another ESPN top 100 player, chose Boeheim’s bunch just weeks after taking his official visit.
Lands and Taylor already doubled SU’s 2020 recruiting class and spirits were high. That was until August of 2021 kickstarted with even better news. If a pair of score first commits weren’t enough, SU landed three-star Quadir Copeland, who mans the guard position with his dribbling and shooting ability.
All of a sudden, the bad luck of past turned on its head and presented an opportunity for Syracuse to continue stacking 2022 recruits.
Then, an unexpected shift took place in the form of Lands decommitting four months after choosing the Orange. This left a dent in a recruiting class arguably within the top 10 with three recruits and counting. Even with two players still planning to suit up in Orange come the ’22-’23 season, SU was back to square one and at risk of losing more recruits based off past experience.
The only positive to come out of Lands’ decommitment were the openings it created. With one less top-level recruit, more players eyed Syracuse which led to a flurry of action between September and October. SU cashed in on center Peter Carey, whose potential had rose and continues to rise over the last year. Lands leaving paved the way for power and small forwards to imagine themselves in the rotation.
On queue, three-star power forward Maliq Brown picked Syracuse just ten days ago. A player who most likely would have ventured elsewhere if SU didn’t inadvertently use addition by subtraction with its ’22 recruiting class. The good fortune would only continue with the add-on of four-star Chris Bunch last week (the Orange’s highest recruit in the class).
It’s a timeline that SU fans can both admire and despise, while questioning it and speculating on the positives and negatives throughout. But the reality is that Syracuse holds a gem of a crew, currently ranked 10th in the country according to 247 Sports. A class that Coach Boeheim calls “the best recruiting class we’ve ever had.”