Happy Judah Mintz decision day to all who celebrate. Ever since Jim Boeheim’s retirement and Adrian Autry taking over, this has been the most anticipated moment of the offseason. Regardless of what Mintz decides, it should not affect our opinions on what has been a very successful few months. That being said, the butterfly effects from Mintz’s choice will make themselves prevalent in the short and long run in SU’s recruiting efforts.
Things have gone well on the recruiting front since the coaching change and Mintz’s decision to declare. JJ Starling, Chance Westry, Naheem McLeod, and Kyle Cuffe were all solid additions through the transfer portal, and SU’s Class of 2024 looks strong with Elijah Moore and Donnie Freeman. How much of that can be attributed to Mintz, who as good as singlehandedly carried them to a few ACC victories down the stretch? Regardless of how apparent it may or may not be, Mintz impacted Syracuse’s recruiting efforts throughout the season, and his decision will also have an impact.
THE SHORT-TERM IMPACTS
When Cuffe announced his decision to transfer to SU from Kansas, it was a quick eyebrow-raiser. Why would the Orange make a play for a guard when they were still awaiting the outcome of Mintz’s future? But, it is interesting to note that as Syracuse’s new guys have committed, Mintz has given them shoutouts on social media. Starling got one before Mintz declared for the draft in late March, and they have only continued as more players come in. So if anything, it shows him supporting the program, a quality that shouldn’t abandon him even after he gets to the association.
If Mintz decides to come back, next season’s roster is set in stone despite how crazy the transfer portal usually is. With all the new and returning pieces already locked in, there simply wouldn’t be any room for another scholarship player. Playing time is already going to be difficult to come by, Mintz returning would make it even more so, creating no use for another addition. If Mintz elects to go pro, don’t rule out another player in the portal, but don’t be surprised if the roster is still set. Not everyone that declares for the draft will go pro, so even if Mintz isn’t in that grouping, could SU make a play at a guy like that? Don’t rule it out.
THE LONG-TERM IMPACTS
In short, the long-term impacts could either be quite positive or quite negative.
Mintz returning significantly increases Syracuse’s potential for this coming season. The schedule is already tough with the game in South Dakota, the inaugural ACC-SEC challenge, and the Maui Invitational. Plenty of opportunity for big-name recruits to see SU in the spotlight, and it’s safe to say the games would probably be more competitive if Mintz was wearing Orange. That creates a lot of appeal for young guns, because the program could be on the rise again.
If Mintz declares for the draft and goes undrafted, that can’t be seen as a good look for him or the program. You have to have some idea of where your fate lies, leaving the program just to get undrafted? Nope, don’t like that. Besides that, what if (god forbid this happen) Mintz withdraws from the draft but decides to transfer? It’s one thing to lose your best player to the NBA, it’s another if something like that happens.
Are these long-term impacts a little exaggerated? Maybe a little bit. The overall picture is that Mintz’s decision will change the long-term path of the program. Regardless of the choice, there will be both positive and negative effects.
As the Celtics showed in Game 7 the other night, today’s NBA largely revolves around knocking down 3-pointers, something Mintz objectively did not do well in his time on the hill. He would do very well in another year of college, but he would also do very well in the NBA (G-League). Regardless of where he ends up, be thankful for what he brought to the hill because he has brought, and will continue to bring, positive momentum to SU’s recruiting efforts.