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Syracuse Basketball: Orange misses on local big man for the second time

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Syracuse-area native Quincy Ballard has committed to Wichita State over Syracuse basketball, denying the Orange some additional depth at the center position.

The 7-foot Ballard, a sophomore center who recently entered into the NCAA’s transfer portal after playing two seasons at Florida State, revealed his commitment to the Shockers via his Instagram page on Saturday.

He had recently taken official visits to both the Hill and Wichita State, and media reports indicated that Maryland may have been showing interest in Ballard as well.

With his pledge to Wichita State rather than the Orange, the ‘Cuse, by my count, remains at 12 players on scholarship for the 2022-23 season, including a terrific six-member 2022 recruiting class.

Syracuse basketball still may be looking for more depth at the center spot.

When sophomore Frank Anselem entered the transfer portal, I got the sense that Orange coaches sought to add another center to back up junior Jesse Edwards, who is coming off an injury this past February.

Thus, the ‘Cuse reportedly started showing interest in Ballard. Besides Edwards, the other center on the 2022-23 roster for the ‘Cuse is 2022 three-star commit Peter Carey, a big man who most recently suited up for the Northfield Mount Hermon School in Mount Hermon, Mass.

Unless there are further changes to the present roster, it looks like Syracuse basketball may be set for 2022-23, although I could envision the team looking to bring in another center, given that Ballard is headed to Wichita State and the American Athletic Conference.

The returning players for the Orange are junior point guard Joe Girard III, Edwards, junior guard Symir Torrence, redshirt sophomore big man John Bol Ajak, sophomore wing Chaz Owens and freshman forward Benny Williams, along with that six-member 2022 recruiting class.

Carey has loads of potential, but he is a newbie to the Hill, so I could understand Orange coaches wanting to have another center within the 2022-23 line-up besides just him and Edwards.

Ballard, a three-star prospect in the 2020 class, was recruited by Syracuse basketball out of high school. He played for Henninger High School in Syracuse and then the Quality Education Academy in Winston-Salem, N.C.

In the spring of 2020, he initially chose the Seminoles over other finalists the ‘Cuse and Maryland. The remainder of his top five had proven Cincinnati and N.C. State.

Although he did play sparingly for two stanzas with Florida State, Ballard is an athletic big man who blocks shots at a nice clip and could have been a solid defensive presence within the Orange’s zone.

According to ESPN, Ballard averaged 4.7 minutes a game in 2021-22 and 3.3 minutes per contest in 2020-21 for FSU. While Edwards should get most of the minutes at center in 2022-23, if he gets into foul trouble, for example, I could have seen Ballard getting a decent amount of run as the back-up center.

However, Quincy Ballard has opted for Wichita State rather than his hometown squad, picking someone besides Syracuse basketball for a second time. Now we’ll continue to monitor whether the Orange coaching staff makes a run at another center via the transfer portal.

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