Syracuse Basketball: Vols a strong 2021 case for Brandon Huntley-Hatfield

The recruiting business is a fickle one, and things can change in a hurry, but for now, it does seem like Syracuse basketball has a decent chance at landing 2022 five-star prospect Brandon Huntley-Hatfield, even if two Southeastern Conference teams are getting more buzz for the elite power forward.

The Orange offered the 6-foot-9 Huntley-Hatfield a scholarship last December, at which time he put the ‘Cuse in his top six, along with Ole Miss, Kansas, Wake Forest, Tennessee and Auburn.

I’ve read a slew of analyst reports in recent months, and some recruiting insiders have pegged Ole Miss as the front-runner for Huntley-Hatfield for a while now.

However, more recently, Tennessee has picked up some analyst predictions on the 247Sports Web site and Rivals.com for the junior at Scotland Campus in Scotland, Pa., and the Volunteers do seem to have some nice momentum with Huntley-Hatfield, as far as I can tell.

Huntley-Hatfield, by the way, is almost universally considered the No. 1 power forward in his class, as well as the No. 1 prospect out of Pennsylvania and a top-10 player overall in the 2022 recruiting cycle. He would be a huge pick-up for the Orange in its 2022 class if Huntley-Hatfield were to choose the ‘Cuse.

Syracuse basketball has stiff SEC competition for 2022 prospect Brandon Huntley-Hatfield.

A lot of Orange fanatics believe that the ‘Cuse has virtually no chance at hearing its name called when Huntley-Hatfield makes his collegiate destination known.

I wouldn’t go that far, although my gut does tell me that Tennessee, and even Ole Miss, are ahead of Syracuse basketball in this recruiting battle, at least for the time being.

According to reports that I’ve read on Huntley-Hatfield, he is originally from Clarksville, Tenn. So the University of Tennessee would certainly be a logical fit for him.

What’s more, the Volunteers’ 2021 class includes five-star point guard Kennedy Chandler, a former Orange recruiting target. Chandler, who attends the Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, Kan., is one of the premier high-school prospects around the country in the 2021 cycle.

Then, on Saturday morning, Auburn transfer Justin Powell revealed via Twitter that he would suit up for Tennessee. Powell, considered one of the top transfers on the market, is a freshman guard who averaged 11.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists for Auburn this past stanza, while connecting on 44.2 percent from beyond the arc, according to his bio on the ESPN Web site.

Since the NCAA is soon expected to pass a measure where all college student-athletes can transfer once and retain immediate eligibility, Powell should be able to play right away for the Volunteers. There were rumors swirling around the Internet of late that Syracuse basketball coaches might have had an interest in Powell, but that’s a moot point now.

As we detailed in a recent column, Huntley-Hatfield is considering a possible reclassify up to the 2021 cycle. With Chandler arriving this fall, and Powell committed to Tennessee, I imagine that joining the Volunteers’ 2021 class could prove an enticing option for Huntley-Hatfield.