Expert discusses how Syracuse basketball gets another Carmelo Anthony

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Nate Shron/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Nate Shron/Getty Images) /

My friend Matthew DeBritz put out an illuminating podcast recently where his guest, a top recruiting analyst/scout, shed some light on a variety of interesting topics as it relates to Syracuse basketball and the sport of collegiate hoops.

DeBritz’s Dome Dawg Podcast featured 247Sports director of scouting Adam Finkelstein, who is by far one of the most well-respected experts on high-school recruiting and scouting across the country.

With all of the national chatter over name, image and likeness, and how the NCAA is trying to navigate this issue, Finkelstein discussed how NIL, the transfer portal, professional opportunities and other factors are creating a seismic shift in the worlds of college, high-school and grassroots basketball recruiting.

One of the main challenges, as it pertains to NIL, is that the rules and regulations surrounding it can vary from state to state. And while student-athletes are allowed to earn endorsement income off their own names, images and likenesses, NIL deals are not supposed to be used in players’ recruiting processes as an inducement for them to pick a particular school or conference.

Syracuse basketball coaches have to navigate a muddied NIL situation.

Of course, we don’t live in a fantasy world, and as far as I can tell, high-school recruits and even college players in the transfer portal seem to be attracting NIL money, some of them into six and seven figures, that is essentially a payment of one form or another to entice them to select a specific team or conference.

From school to school, conference to conference and state to state, not everyone is playing by the same NIL rules, and that has led, at least for now, to a clustering of NIL dollars in places such as the South and Southeast, and not as much on the West Coast or in the Northeast, where the ‘Cuse is located, Finkelstein says.

He notes that much like basketball recruiting is way different than what it was a few years ago, as there hopefully becomes more clarity and unison on NIL in the future, that will mean hoops recruiting will be much more different in a couple of years than where it is today.

By all accounts, according to Finkelstein and others, Syracuse basketball has been going about its NIL efforts the right way and how it was intended, rather than being used as a recruiting tactic.

That being said, when Finkelstein discussed the possibility of how the Orange can land elite high-school players, such as a guy like Carmelo Anthony back in the day, NIL is a huge variable these days for five-star, top-10 prospects.

For Syracuse basketball to win out for a player such as Melo over recruiting heavyweights out there, whether a Duke or a Kentucky, the Orange’s NIL has to be comparable – again, not as a recruiting inducement, but rather, as something that players can take advantage of while they would be playing for the ‘Cuse.

Finkelstein said that putting aside NIL as a competitive advantage (or disadvantage), for the Orange to get a top-10 prospect, there would then have to be what he called a “perform storm” of other factors, such as personal relationships and playing-time opportunities based on roster construction.

As I write Syracuse basketball recruiting articles on a frequent basis, I interact with a lot of fellow fans on social media who bemoan that the ‘Cuse hasn’t prevailed in the recruitments of top-10 to top-20 players much at all in recent years, even dating back to the days of Anthony, who chose the Orange and helped lead the team to a national title in 2003.

I get all of that, but as Finkelstein notes, a lot of the recent NCAA Tournament winners had a lot of veteran guys within their line-ups, so while five-stars and top-10 national rankings are great, recruiting players who fit the Syracuse basketball system, and then continuing to develop them after they join the ‘Cuse, are extremely important.

Is the Orange capable of attracting a national prospect like Anthony to the Hill? Finkelstein says yes. Does that mean it will happen? That remains to be seen.

He also points out that if NIL were in place in 2002-03, it’s anybody’s guess if Anthony would have committed to the ‘Cuse.

Since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013-14, the Orange has slogged its way through a bunch of regular seasons, although the ‘Cuse has made a few nice Big Dance runs.

Recruiting has certainly taken a dip in recent stanzas, and the NCAA sanctions from several years back hurt the team, but the six-member 2022 class is a step in the right direction.

Can Syracuse basketball recruit at a level similar to that of Duke and North Carolina?

That will prove challenging, but as Finkelstein said, both high-school recruits and college players in the transfer portal do view the ACC as an appealing conference for which to compete.

Next. Syracuse Basketball: Projected starting rotation for the 2022-23 season. dark