The first signs of this actually came on Saturday.
Shortly after the SU legend got his fanfare, we saw Gerry McNamara talking to someone who looked like a recruit in a suite near the press box. We thought it was Kiyan Anthony, but didn’t want to jump to conclusions at the risk of reporting false information. Lo and behold, it was indeed Melo’s son, and now he could find himself wearing Orange too.
Please don’t think this is an act of nepotism. Sure, it helps that Kiyan’s father is the greatest basketball player to ever take the Dome court, but you see it above. He’s a four-star recruit.
The most fascinating thing to dissect about this offer is that Kiyan is a Class of 2025 recruit. It’s been no secret how big of a mess recruiting the Class of ’23 has been. As we’re now into the middle of November and there are still zero high school seniors who have committed to Jim Boeheim’s program. It seems like the focus from a recruiting perspective is shifting towards 2024 and 2025. That’s a risky stance to take when the transfer portal is the talk of the college basketball landscape these days. Sure, it’s totally unfair to assume all six of Syracuse’s freshmen will opt to leave the program after this season. That being said, it’s also not smart to assume all of them will stay, which is where the risk comes in.
If Kiyan were to come to SU, what a story that would be. It’ll be over 20 years after Carmelo led the Orange to their only national championship, and his son would have the chance to reclaim that. But this tells us that Boeheim and company have all but given up on aggressive pursuits for Class of ’23 recruits, and any sort of player movement after the season would come through the transfer portal.
To close this, we think it’s good that Syracuse is looking ahead. We also think it’s fantastic that the son of arguably the most successful athlete to step foot on the hill has the chance to return if he so chooses. Plain and simple, it would be epic. But SU’s efforts through recruiting the class of ’23 have left a lot to be desired, and this feels like the waving of the white flag.