For decades, Syracuse basketball was locked into New York City as the epicenter of its recruiting pitch. From Pearl Washington, to Adrian Autry, to Etan Thomas, to plenty of other players from New York City who helped build Syracuse basketball into a national power.
Jim Boeheim’s love affair with NYC was always obvious given the recruiting connections he had, the Big East Tournament and the large alumni base SU has down state. However, Syracuse’s pipeline has moved south to the DMV in recent years, and that seems to be solidified with the hire of Brenden Straughn.
Straughn is the fourth member of Syracuse’s coaching staff, essentially replacing Boeheim as Autry, Gerry McNamara and Allen Griffin moved up one seat on the bench. Starughn was most recently an assistant at George Washington-the school Autry’s son is set to play for. Straughn was Trey Autry’s lead recruiter, so there’s obviously a personal connection between the two. Before that, however, he coached Team Takeover, an elite AAU team based out of the DMV.
This isn’t new information, it just confirms that the trend SU has seen will continue. As an assistant, Autry specialized as a recruiter in the DMV, convincing both Benny Williams and Judah Mintz, two of Syracuse’s highest rated prospects in a decade, to join the Orange.
Both Williams and Mintz played for team takeover, along with Justin Taylor, another DMV native. Other stars around the country like North Carolina’s Armando Bacot and former Michigan center Hunter Dickinson did as well.
Obviously it remains to be seen how strong Straughn’s connections really are within AAU circles in the area and if he can help convince players to come to Syracuse. However, the strategy certainly seems sound. A lot of recruiting, both at the high school level and in the transfer portal, is about who people know and who they trust.
Programs need coaches who are well connected with grassroots basketball in talent hotbeds. It also shows a clear strategy. Under Autry, Syracuse wants to create a pipeline to the DMV similar to what it had years ago with New York City. Will it work? Who knows, but the fact that a strategy is in place is certainly a promising sign.