Syracuse basketball’s coaches were on the road over the past few days doing some scouting and recruiting down at Peach Jam, the most prominent AAU event of the summer. Among the players the Orange coaches saw include commits Elijah Moore and Donnie Freeman, along with a number of other players on the SU radar. The main target for Adrian Autry right now might be Jalil Bethea, a five-star shooting guard and the 11th-ranked player in the class of 2024 according to the 247 Sports Composite.
Bethea did an interview with On3 after his strong performance over the weekend, where he averaged 18.7 points per game and shot nearly 37% from behind the arc at Peach Jam. In regards to his thoughts on Syracuse, he told On3:
“They welcomed me and treated me like I was already on the team, already a player. It felt a lot like another place I could call home. Since Coach Autry took over as the head coach, our relationship has actually grown. When Coach (Jim) Boeheim was the coach, I talked with all the coaches and was able to build a really good relationship with everyone on the staff. All that has just grown.”
If you’re SU, this is a very positive thing to hear, and just another affirmation of what Autry, Gerry McNamara, Allen Griffin, and Brenden Straughn are doing as a staff in terms of creating and fostering relationships with players, and selling them on their aligned vision between coach and player for success at the next level and beyond.
Bethea did visit Syracuse last year, while Boeheim was still the coach, but said that despite that he is looking to potentially visit Central New York for a second time under Autry’s leadership.
Bethea is clearly a superb talent, and someone who could take Syracuse’s recruiting class, and the program to the next level of returning back to the national stage. He would be the Orange’s highest-rated recruit and first five-star since at least 2010. SU currently has the 10th ranked class in 2024 and would move up to 6th with Bethea’s commitment. It’s not hyperbole to say he might be the most crucial prospect on the board for the Orange and could be a transformational prospect for the program.
“I’m able to impact a game in other ways, even when I’m not scoring,” Bethea said to On3. “I can get my teammates involved and get the ball back on defense. I’ve been working a lot, and that has really built my confidence, and it has translated to the game, and I can shoot and make those types of shots. I’ve been watching Steph Curry for a long time, some Devin Booker and Jordan Poole more recently.”
Bethea clearly is a student of the game and is from the Philadelphia area, a place that Syracuse has slacked since Mike Hopkins left for Washington. A resolution or commitment should not be expected anytime soon, but Bethea is definitely a player to monitor moving forward as the 2024 cycle heats up.