Syracuse Basketball: 5-star recruit, fast-rising target ball out in Baltimore

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

A Syracuse basketball five-star recruit and a newer, fast-rising target both continue to perform at an ultra-high level in AAU contests, according to experts.

Last month, during NCAA live periods on the grassroots basketball circuit where college coaches could watch high-school players compete in person, both 2024 five-star big man Derik Queen and 2023 wing/forward Tafara Gapare earned the praise of various national analysts and scouts for their performances.

More recently, the 6-foot-10 Gapare, a scorching-hot prospect in his class, did quite well at the annual GymRat Challenge in Albany, N.Y.

The 6-foot-9 Queen, meanwhile, was one of the stars at the recently held KYDA Invitational in Scranton, Pa.

Two Syracuse basketball recruits crushed things in Baltimore last weekend.

This past Sunday, at the Saint Frances Academy, an AAU event called the Battle of Baltimore took place, as the Team Thrill and Team Melo programs suited up across various recruiting cycles.

Queen plays for the Baltimore-based Team Thrill in the Under Armour Association (“UAA”) league, while Gapare is a member of the Baltimore-based Team Melo in Nike’s EYBL league.

In a tweet, national scouting service ELITE High School Scouting listed Queen and Gapare among its standouts at the Battle of Baltimore event.

Gapare, who originally hails from Wellington, New Zealand, was offered by the Orange at the end of April. He attends the South Kent School in South Kent, Conn.

Extremely athletic and versatile for a player of his length and size, Gapare just picked up a scholarship offer from UConn. His other offers include from Illinois, UMass, Washington State, Hawaii, Towson, Rutgers, Maryland, Arizona State, DePaul, Pittsburgh, Missouri, Virginia Tech and Xavier.

Virginia is reportedly displaying interest in Gapare, who recently took an official visit to DePaul and an unofficial visit to Maryland, according to 247Sports national analyst Dushawn London.

Queen, who received an offer from Syracuse basketball last October, is rated by most recruiting services as a five-star, top-10 player nationwide in his class.

Besides the ‘Cuse, he has been offered by college squads such as Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Auburn, DePaul, Maryland, Texas, Virginia Tech, Georgetown, LSU, Arizona State and Xavier.

A star as a freshman for the Saint Frances Academy, Queen played his sophomore campaign for the powerhouse Montverde Academy in Montverde, Fla., which is one of the premier independent basketball academies around the country.

In mid-April, MaxPreps doled out an All-America honorable-mention nod to Queen within the 2024 cycle for his performance at Montverde Academy in the 2021-22 season.

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