Syracuse basketball: Zion Cruz transfer to Oak Hill can benefit Orange

Syracuse basketball target Zion Cruz, a top-25 prospect in the 2022 class, is transferring to mighty high school program Oak Hill Academy.

Zion Cruz, a high-priority target for Syracuse basketball in the class of 2022 recruiting cycle, will play his final two years of ball for powerhouse Oak Hill Academy. A Twitter page called #TheRealSources first reported the news, which Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog verified, and Cruz shared on Instagram.

Most notably for Orange fanatics, Cruz, listed as either four or five stars depending on the recruiting service, is heading to an Oak Hill crew that also recently landed the services of five-star point guard and ‘Cuse commit Dior Johnson.

Johnson, universally regarded as a top-15 player in the 2022 class and viewed as the No. 1 point guard across the country by some recruiting Web sites, told various media outlets when he committed to the Orange back in early February that he plans to bring more elite recruits with him to the Hill.

 

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All journeys are not the same, my journey is just DIFFERENT.:heart::lock:#LLCK #FREEROWDY #LLBB

A post shared by @ zion.cruzz on Apr 24, 2020 at 5:36pm PDT

Among those guys who 247Sports noted in this article as Johnson eyeing are Cruz as well as four-star Chance Westry, who are both shooting guards. That Johnson and Cruz will now team up to form a stellar back-court at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., is certainly an encouraging sign for the ‘Cuse.

However, by no means does this development signify in any way, shape or form that the Orange will pick up Cruz, Westry or other prospects with whom Johnson has a connection.

First and foremost, it’s not a given that Johnson will ever suit up in Central New York. Johnson has said that if the NBA changes its one-and-done rule, he will consider all of his options. Secondly, the NBA G League’s new professional opportunity could sway some top high-school players to forgo college altogether.

And thirdly, the recruiting world is a fickle business. Syracuse has had its heart broken on many occasions by top-flight talents who put the Orange in their final lists but then ultimately opted for another group.

So, yes, the possibility of Johnson and Cruz extending their on-court partnership from Oak Hill Academy to the ‘Cuse does exist. This is definitely an exciting notion, particularly because a lot of Syracuse fans have complained of late about the Orange’s so-called failures on the recruiting front.

For what it’s worth, back in February multiple recruiting analysts on the 247Sports Web site projected that Westry will end up choosing Syracuse. Let’s see if these forecasts shift at all due to Cruz heading to Oak Hill Academy from Hudson Catholic Regional High School in Jersey City, N.J.

Westry, a top-30 guy nationally in the 2022 class who attends Trinity High School in Camp Hill, Pa., does hold about 10 scholarship offers, including from high-majors such as Maryland, Michigan, Georgetown, LSU, and Florida.

Cruz, meanwhile, also has around 10 offers, from squads such as St. John’s, Connecticut, Auburn, Georgia Tech, LSU, UCLA, and Miami. Furthermore, Cruz and Westry, like Johnson, are just finishing up their sophomore stanzas. Those Orange targets will undeniably receive additional offers.

Among the main recruiting services, Cruz is slotted at No. 18 at ESPN.com, No. 20 at the 247Sports Composite, and at No. 23 at Rivals.com.

If somehow, someway, Johnson and either Cruz or Westry ultimately don a ‘Cuse uniform, the Syracuse hoops community on Twitter – erupting with enthusiasm – would probably cause the Internet to temporarily shut down.

Alas, though, a lot can change in a few years’ time. Regardless, this column shall end with Johnson’s tweet about Cruz’s decision to join him at Oak Hill Academy. An Orange fanatic can dream, right?

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