Syracuse Basketball: 4-star Kamari Lands doesn’t owe us fans a darn thing

When a teen-ager de-commits from a school, like what happened with 2022 four-star wing Kamari Lands and Syracuse basketball over the weekend, nothing drives me crazier than a team’s fan base trashing the kid on social media.

It’s mean, it’s uncalled for, and frankly, it makes that particular college team, its fan base and its greater community look bad. This happens within the Orange fan base, along with every other college squad out there.

I get it. Syracuse basketball has had several elite high-school prospects, including Lands, de-commit from the ‘Cuse in recent years. It’s frustrating, and I understand when people have a variety of intense feelings about such a development.

I also understand that, in recent seasons, the Orange hasn’t gotten as many top-25 players as perhaps further back in the team’s history, so when a prospect like Lands re-opens his recruiting process back up, the news is probably magnified to some degree or another.

If I can be blunt here, Lands owes us ‘Cuse fanatics not a thing. He’s a rising senior in high school just trying to make the best decision for himself and his loved ones. That’s the way it should be.

Furthermore, the landscape in collegiate athletics, particularly basketball and football, is forever changing. Name, image and likeness opportunities, the NCAA’s one-time transfer exception, and the swirling debate over conference realignment have every stakeholder in college basketball adjusting to a new world out there.

That includes high-school players, especially top-flight ones such as Lands, who are going to be bombarded with college scholarship offers, professional options, NIL deals and much, much more.

Kamari Lands details why he de-committed from Syracuse basketball.

There are some important points to consider with Lands’ recruiting process. First of all, the novel coronavirus pandemic halted the grassroots circuit in the summer of 2020. Only more recently have high-school prospects been allowed by the NCAA to take official visits.

Lands gave a verbal commitment to the Orange in April of this year. He hadn’t visited the Hill, or any other college campus, before committing to the ‘Cuse.

Plus, at the time of his verbal commitment, NIL opportunities were still being ironed out. He also didn’t have a ton of scholarship offers at that juncture.

So this summer, Lands has performed quite well in AAU competitions. That is boosting his stock, if a four-star, top-25 player really needs his stock to get boosted.

And with NIL now a reality, Lands wants to see what’s out there. Honestly, as much as I wanted to see him in a Syracuse basketball uniform, who can blame him for keeping his options open.

Lands, who will attend Hillcrest Prep in Gilbert, Ariz., during his senior year and has already received a scholarship offer from blue-blood team Kansas, said in an article by 247Sports national analyst Dushawn London, “I decided to reopen my recruitment because I felt like this would be the best decision for me I never really got to test the waters last year due to Covid. I didn’t get to take any visits or anything. I feel like Syracuse is still one of my favorite schools but especially after AAU, I had a good showing so it was just best for me to open it up. They’re still an option for me.”

I highly doubt that Lands ends up re-committing to the Orange. I also highly doubt that the ‘Cuse coaching staff will continue to recruit him. Maybe I’m wrong. We’ll see.

But in the case of Lands, a young man is exploring his options amid a sea of change in college basketball. Good for him. Best of luck. And from my perspective, any Syracuse basketball fan who trashes Lands needs to rethink how much of a fan he, or she, really is.