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Syracuse’s 2-3 Zone Appeals To Top 2024 Center Target

Credit Eric Bossi/247Sports

With the 2023 recruiting cycle and the summer mercury heating up, we’re already seeing some of the nation’s top talent fall into place on the recruiting trail. SU can wave goodbye to former targets like GG Jackson and Blue Cain. In their stead, other doors have opened up, like the suddenly contentious battle between ‘Cuse and Duke for the services of center JP Estrella.

We’ve written a fair bit about Estrella in recent days, mainly because he’s been a quick riser on recruiting boards that the Orange have paid attention to for quite some time. Estrella’s position – center – isn’t a pressing one of need this season, but there’s question marks beyond 2022-23 after Jesse Edwards’ Syracuse career comes to a close. That’s why Jim Boeheim and his staff have done their due diligence on a premier center in the Class of ‘24: Yves Missi.

Missi, who stands at 6’10”, 210 and hails from Cameroon, is a current 4-star in his class. He currently stacks up as 247Sports’ No. 31 overall prospect in the nation. At the time of this writing, Missi is one of five Class of ‘24 players to have already received an offer from SU, but ‘Cuse is hardly the only school pursuing him. Missi also has offers from UCLA, Baylor, Kansas, Indiana, and others.

Missi has also cleaned up in AAU ball with the PSA Cardinals in Nike’s EYBL league. In an interview with Zagsblog.com’s Jacob Polachek, PSA head coach Terrance Williams had high praise for his center.

“Yves is one of the best players in his class…His upside and skill set puts him in position where he should be playing basketball for a long time.” (Terrance Williams to Jacob Polachek, 6/10/22)

Perhaps even more noteworthy is Missi’s comments on zone defenses. Though he’s offered limited soundbytes on the subject, he supplied a big one when he pointed to Syracuse as a program that plays a scheme he “enjoys”.

“The best defense I compare with is the zone defense, playing around the middle.” (Missi to Zagsblog.com, 6/10/22)

A good scheme fit doesn’t automatically give you the ability to lasso a commit from a highly-ranked player, but it’s a positive development in Syracuse’s favor that dispels the idea – at least in this instance – that the 2-3 zone actively repels top talent. Complaints aimed towards Jim Boeheim and his one-of-a-kind zone defense usually focus on its antiquity or recent ineffectiveness, so seeing a player actually support the system is good news.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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