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BB Recruiting

Naheem McCloud Visiting Syracuse This Weekend

Syracuse has been pretty quiet on the transfer portal recruiting trail since Chance Westry announced his commitment to the Orange back in mid-April. But, now that early May is upon us, the pickings are slim for SU to find its center in the portal, with the deadline for new players to enter on May 11. Now, anyone that’s already in the portal can choose a destination whenever they’d like, but no new players will be entering after next week. That’s what makes this weekend so important. 

Naheem McCloud, who stands 7’4, is visiting Central New York this weekend. He’d be a huge lift for a Syracuse team trying to improve its defense in 2023 and would be a person with major college experience at the position, something SU does not currently have on its roster. Mounir Hima played sparingly last season after transferring from Dusquene after a single season. Peter Carey barely played at all last year and took a medical redshirt, and William Patterson is an unproven freshman.

McCloud would provide a clear size advantage in the middle of whatever defense Syracuse is going to play and has experience in man-to-man, which is reportedly how the Orange are going to try and play next year. Obviously, for a 7’4 guy, getting put into pick-and-roll defense is difficult with a smaller, faster guard matched up, if SU decides to switch screens, which could lead to some problems. But, having someone taller than any other player on the floor would be a boost for anyone, and is at least an intimidating presence in the paint. 

McCloud probably isn’t more than a 20-minute-per-game player no matter the circumstance because of those limitations and a developing offensive game, but having options is always a good thing, and that’s what Syracuse is looking for. The Orange are determined to play more positionless basketball in 2023-24, and that’s evident with the size and athleticism across the roster. At this current juncture, Syracuse’s shortest player is 6’4 JJ Starling, and the Orange have six players between 6’6 and 6’9, all with unique skill sets at either guard, on the wing, or in the paint.

SU has put a lot of effort into high school recruiting the last few weeks with travel to different AAU showcases and circuits, and that is terrific for the sustainability of the program into the future, but the immediate short-term need is a center for next year’s team, and that’s going to be found in the transfer portal, not in high school. McCloud would be a good get and a positive development for Syracuse’s chances of being more competitive in getting back to the postseason next year.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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