Over the past few months, things have finally started to percolate on the recruiting trail for Syracuse. Elijah Moore committed in January to start the 2024 class, then William Patterson kickstarted the 2023 class last month, but the key to either of those classes would have been Marcus Adams Jr, who committed to Kansas Tuesday night over finalists Syracuse and UCLA.
Adams took an official visit to the Bruins over the weekend, and it seemed like a foregone conclusion that he would be taking his talents to Westwood and staying in California. But, he chose the Jayhawks, last year’s national champions, and another firm title contender in 2023. According to the Kansas City Star, he was going to be a Bruin, until Bill Self changed his mind.
“The four-star recruit told The Star he was planning to be a UCLA Bruin … then he heard the phone ring on Tuesday afternoon — his announcement day. On the other end of the line? KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self and his staff. According to Adams, the staff told him how badly they wanted him to join KU; they felt he had the potential to be great and sought the chance to coach him. The conversation forced Adams to reconsider his choice, he said.”
Adams’ recruitment had been interesting. He’s started to blossom as a prospect over the past few months, appearing in the top 30 of 247 Sports’ latest rankings update, but there have also been rumors of him reclassifying to 2023, which would have been terrific for Syracuse, whose roster is in desperate need of a talent boost next season after likely missing the postseason for the second consecutive year.
Adams’ commitment to KU showcases SU’s continued recruiting issues, missing out on prospects in the upper echelon of the system, and not getting on the guys early enough that eventually pop. It’s been a long decade of mediocrity for the Orange, who have lived on the bubble, and now can’t even sniff the bubble. It’s a combination of coaching, talent, and development, of which Syracuse has done fine with individual players, but not an entire team. There has been no reason to jump for joy like Bill Self when Adams told him his decision.
“They were super excited,” Adams said. “They thought they weren’t going to get me, so they were really excited. Coach Self was jumping up and screaming, stuff like that. … All the coaches were really happy. Self was the most happy, he was jumping up and down.”
Syracuse is rumored to be targeting some more under-the-radar players in 2023 and will need to use the transfer portal to restock a roster that will likely lose some players to graduation, the professional ranks, and leaving via the portal. There’s no saying what next year might look like, who might be on the bench, either coaching or playing, but there needs to be a significant change, and Marcus Adams Jr. would have been a start to that, but he isn’t, because he’s going to a better program, and one that will probably get him further than Syracuse, and that’s just reality with SU basketball at this point.