The race for the No. 1 national ranking in the junior recruiting cycle appears to include several high-school players who hold scholarship offers from Syracuse basketball, according to experts.
By and large, most recruiting services presently have 2023 five-star point guard D.J. Wagner in the No. 1 position across the country in this class.
However, the 6-foot-3 Wagner isn’t the unanimous No. 1 prospect, according to the primary recruiting services. Wagner, who attends Camden High School in Camden, N.J., was offered by the Orange last August at the team’s annual Elite Camp.
As we noted in a recent column, Louisville and Kentucky have a lot of buzz for Wagner, according to some recruiting insiders, but he continues to maintain that other schools are still pursuing him, including the ‘Cuse.
I’m not a recruiting analyst or a scout, but I do believe that Wagner will be a major contender for the No. 1 national rating in 2023 as the AAU circuit carries onward and recruiting services update their national rankings for this cycle.
Several other 2023 prospects with Syracuse basketball offers are in the hunt for No. 1.
Based on recent comments from national analysts and scouts, top-flight players who are likely in the running for the top spot in 2023 include five-star forward Justin Edwards, five-star guard/wing Matas Buzelis, five-star big man G.G. Jackson, and five-star forward Kwame Evans Jr., among others.
The 6-foot-7 Edwards, offered by the Orange last summer, had a tremendous junior season for the Imhotep Institute Charter High School in Philadelphia. He is a consensus top-20 prospect in 2023.
I don’t think that the ‘Cuse is a big-time suitor for Edwards at this juncture, although Syracuse basketball did reportedly watch him play last weekend for the Philadelphia-based Team Final on Nike’s EYBL circuit during an NCAA live period.
The 6-foot-10 Buzelis, who landed an Orange offer in November of 2020, suits up for the Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H. Several recruiting Web sites rate him within the top-10 nationally in the 2023 class.
I honestly can’t tell if Syracuse basketball is in the mix these days for Buzelis, who has a bunch of high-major offers. Numerous blue-blood programs are vying for him, such as Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina, according to recent media reports.
Two other stellar 2023 players who should be considered huge contenders for No. 1 are the 6-foot-9 Evans, out of Montverde Academy in Montverde, Fla., and the 6-foot-8 Jackson, who goes to Ridge View High School in Columbia, S.C.
Last October, Syracuse basketball coaches offered Evans, who is No. 2 nationally at present per some recruiting services. At the beginning of this year, Evans said the Orange was heavily involved in his recruitment, but he recently revealed a top five of Oregon, Indiana, Auburn, Kentucky and UCLA.
However, Jackson’s final list of contenders didn’t include Syracuse basketball. On Wednesday, he announced via Twitter that he was committing to fellow Atlantic Coast Conference team North Carolina.