Syracuse has made it clear that JP Estrella is its top target in the class of 2023. The rising senior who is attending Brewster Academy in New Hampshire is a big man with lots of potential. Up until last season, the Orange had gotten minimal production at best from their centers since Rakeem Christmas graduated in 2015.
Jesse Edwards made SU fans realize how fun it is to have a competent offensive center, someone who can finish at the rim, play through contact, and even run the pick and roll. Estrella can be that, and more. He has a really nice touch, which extends out to the perimeter as well. His face-up game is very advanced for a high-school center, something else that makes him appealing.
Estrella took an official visit to SU a couple of weeks ago, and after that said he would eventually trim his list and make a decision in early September before school starts. The Maine native is a four-star who ranks 51st in the class according to 247 Sports, and 48th overall in the 247 Sports Composite. Iowa, Syracuse, and Tennessee are the perceived favorites for Estrella, but Rick Barnes’ squad has received three crystal ball predictions for Estrella.
Crystal balls are not everything, as Syracuse fans saw with Judah Mintz, who was predicted to go to DePaul for weeks before Jim Boeheim and staff were able to flip him before his announcement. Tennessee seems to be in the lead right now, but never count out Boeheim and company.
So, with Estrella no longer seeming like he’s going to commit to Syracuse, where do Boeheim and his staff go from here in 2023. Reid Ducharme is the other prospect the Orange are recruiting heavily, but he and Estrella would seem to be a package deal to come to SU. From the outside looking in, it seems the Orange have put most of their eggs in this basket, which does not seem like it’s going to work out.
Syracuse has an offer out to center Papa Kante, but he seems destined to go elsewhere. But SU is hosting guard Mike Williams on a visit soon, so he might be next on the Orange’s list. That seems to be about it on the recruiting front, which brings up the main point of the piece. There is no direction to this 2023 class and if Estrella goes elsewhere, this class might be in big trouble.
The 2022 class seems like a rousing success for SU, with high-end talents like Mintz and Chris Bunch, guys who can play right away like Justin Taylor and Maliq Brown, and then really nice developmental depth pieces who could even see minutes as a freshman in Quadir Copeland and Peter Carey. 2023 looks nothing like this, as SU already has two commitments at the time (three if you count Kamari Lands).
The Orange must get a recruiting win in 2023 to compete with their ACC counterparts. But, to this point, that’s not happening and SU is once again behind in recruiting.