Recruiting Season Gears Up
It’s already been an eventful offseason for Syracuse basketball. In the spring, we saw Jim Boeheim hint at the idea of Dion Waiters not playing for Syracuse next season (although Waiters’ standing doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy). Later on, Rob Murphy left the team to take his first head coaching job, and DaShonte Riley followed him to Eastern Michigan, the latter of which was all but expected once the former went down. Succeeding Murphy is Adrian Autry, and there remains the possibility of Brian Oliver transferring in from Georgia Tech. In many ways, it’s been a very busy few months.
One area where things have been a little more quiet is the recruiting world, at least as it pertains to Syracuse. Among fans, discussion and speculation runs rampant, and prospects are starting to whittle down their lists, but the fact remains that it’s been 11 months since someone from the high school ranks gave a verbal to Syracuse. As fans of a top-flight program, we’re used to having at least one player in the fold at a relatively early stage. As you all know, Dion Waiters committed to Syracuse before his sophomore year of high school, which may be an extreme case, but it’s also very fresh in our minds. While Brandon Triche didn’t actually commit to SU until September of 2008, there was a feeling that he was a cinch the entire way. James Southerland and Kris Joseph gave their word early on as well, and from the vaunted class of 2007, only Sean Williams waited until his senior season to commit. We could go back even further, but in the interests of brevity, it’s a better idea to move on.
While some may find the lack of a 2012 verbal disconcerting, especially with DaJuan Coleman just down the road and plenty of uncertainty with the current frontcourt personnel, I don’t find myself as worried about the future. There are a couple of reasons for this feeling, but they stem from supply. The 2012 class is notoriously loaded with quantity as well as quality when it comes to the low post. Depending on which of the mainstream recruiting services you prefer, around one-third of the rising senior class consists of power forwards or centers. The class is also top-heavy with big men – going down the lists, one constant is a run of C’s starting right at the top, not too dissimilar from my report cards early in high school. The adage is that quality bigs are hard to find and even harder to develop once they arrive on campus, and while it still holds true, that attitude may be somewhat relaxed when experts look back on the forwards and centers from the class of 2012.
High school prospects can be fickle, of course, but many, including wing target Jerami Grant, are looking to commit to a school before the season starts in the fall in order to eliminate the distraction that choosing a college can present. Just as it is to the players, timing is a factor to recruiters as well. While success in recruiting wars can start at the ground level when it comes to developing relationships, coaches also have to be confident that a high school player’s production isn’t a byproduct of weak competition, which leads us to the summer season. You can find a great breakdown of the biggest tournaments, which start this week and take place all month, at CBS Sports.
While I’m excited for something to pop in the coming weeks, I don’t have any qualms with recruits and coaches alike taking their time.