Orange has no love in ESPN’s ACC recruiting story
A panel of ESPN writers recently debated a handful of topics related to Atlantic Coast Conference recruiting, and Syracuse basketball was nowhere to be found in the conversation.
To be fair, some of the themes the ESPN editors touched on were completely irrelevant to the Orange, such as the challenges new North Carolina head coach Hubert Davis will face in shaping of this program following the retirement of three-time national champion Roy Williams.
But the ‘Cuse has always been left out in this room, and whether or not that really means something is subject to interpretation by all Syracuse basketball fans.
There is a contingent of Orange fanatics who continue to lament the state of the team‘s recruiting efforts. For me, I think the âCuse has seen a slight drop in recruiting over the past few seasons, but there are factors that have played a role in this that cannot be ignored.
NCAA penalties stung for a while. The uncertainty over how long head coach Jim Boeheim would stay could have created challenges. Mike Hopkins, an ace scout, leaving to lead Washington didn’t help matters.
More recently, the new single transfer policy is facilitating an explosion of free agency in college basketball, and it will affect all teams, including Orange.
However, I am quite adamant that the âCuse has developed a positive momentum in the recruiting arena which gives me optimism for the future.
Syracuse basketball is on the rise in the CCA recruiting world.
On the one hand, 2021 forward Benny Williams is a five-star prospect according to many recruiting services. About a month ago, the Orange secured the signing of 2022 elite wing Kamari Lands, one of the top 25 players who until recently was rated five stars by ESPN.
Additionally, Syracuse basketball pursues a range of exceptional prospects in the 2022 and 2023 recruiting cycles. Orange’s recruiting trajectory appears to be on an upward trend.
That brings us to this recent ESPN article on the recruiting landscape within the ACC.
One question in the article was about which ACC head coach is most underrated for his ability to recruit or build a team. Leonard Hamilton of Florida state got the most nods, although one came for Tony Bennett of Virginia as well. I can’t argue with either of these two.
Another question asked was, “If you had a 17 year old son who was recruited as a prospect by all of the CCA men’s basketball programs, what choice would help you sleep better at night?” Responses were shared between the state of Florida and Virginia.
Guess I’m biased here, because if my son, who turns five at the start of July, was recruited by all the ACC teams on the road, of course I would choose my alma mater, the ‘Cuse. I am a circuit, I know.
ESPN editors also debated which ACC school they would choose as a âsleeping giantâ – a team that can âcreate new momentum on the recruiting trailâ.
The panelists gave two votes for NC State, as well as one for Georgia Tech and Boston College. Part of the dilemma here for Syracuse basketball is that the Orange isn’t exactly a sleeping giant.
Even with a recent drop in recruiting, the ‘Cuse is historically very good at it. That being said, since moving from the Big East conference to the ACC in the 2013-14 campaign, Syracuse basketball has seen some setback.
Still, with Williams and Lands heading for the Hill, and perhaps other top hopes for the next few classes, I will argue that Orange’s recruiting efforts are well positioned for years to come.