Syracuse Basketball: To date, ‘Cuse has thrown up total dud in 2023 cycle

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

Those who know me know that I love the Syracuse basketball program just about as much as anyone on this planet.

And in my nearly six years writing about the Orange for Inside The Loud House, the vast majority of my stories have proven positive in nature when discussing the ‘Cuse.

This column, however, will not be one of those instances. In my humble opinion, so far, Syracuse basketball has proven an utter disappointment with its recruiting efforts in the 2023 cycle.

“So far,” though, is the key term here. This cycle isn’t over. Sure, a lot of top-flight prospects in the rising-senior class have made their commitment announcements, but let’s not forget that just this past spring, four-star guard Judah Mintz committed to the Orange late in the 2022 cycle.

The ‘Cuse coaching staff, by extension, remains in pursuit of 2023 four-star guard Mike Williams, who will take an official visit to the Hill in mid-September, according to media reports.

Syracuse basketball coaches, additionally, could still dole out other scholarship offers in this cycle (in fact, the ‘Cuse did on Saturday, offering 2023 big man William Patterson, an emerging 7-foot-2 prospect).

Certainly, I’ll acknowledge that we should wait and see how everything shakes out here for the Orange in the 2023 class, even as many ‘Cuse fans grow increasingly frustrated, and understandably so.

But the optics don’t look good for Syracuse basketball in its 2023 cycle.

The whole topic of the Orange’s lack of a single commitment to date in the 2023 class has been percolating in my mind for a while now, and what set me off centers on two long-time priority targets for the ‘Cuse in this cycle.

One of those recruits, four-star wing Reid Ducharme, had Syracuse basketball in his final three before committing to Big East Conference member Xavier over the Orange and Penn State on Thursday.

What’s more, four-star big man Joseph Estrella will announce his college choice on September 2, and the word among national recruiting analysts is that he will pick Southeastern Conference squad Tennessee.

It’s going to sting if the ‘Cuse ends up swinging and missing on Ducharme and Estrella, but for me, it’s not about losing out on both these guys. The larger context, from my perspective, is much more concerning.

According to recruiting services, reports and social media, Syracuse basketball coaches have offered around 20 prospects in the 2023 class.

Assuming Estrella is off the board, I’m not aware of any other 2023 player that the Orange is presently involved with, save for Williams. To reiterate, though, that could absolutely change in the near future.

By the way, I’ve posted below the offers that the ‘Cuse has reportedly made in the 2023 class.

A couple of additional points here for context. While it’s a bummer that, so far, Syracuse basketball has yet to land a commitment in 2023, the team hauled in a six-member 2022 class, and an underclassman big man transferred into the program this past off-season.

As such, it’s entirely possible that, all along, the Orange wasn’t likely to secure a large 2023 cycle. Plus, that 2022 class features three strong guards, so that may have turned off many of the 2023 guards whom the ‘Cuse had offered at one point or another.

That being said, the current Syracuse basketball roster has 12 scholarship players, and three seniors. So even if just those three seniors depart after the 2022-23 campaign, and no one else (which is unlikely given the transfer portal’s explosion), looking to the 2023-24 stanza, the Orange would have a minimum of four open scholarships.

If Syracuse basketball isn’t able to grab any commitments from 2023 high-school players, the team will almost certainly have to hit the transfer portal hard following the 2022-23 term.

While I often have Orange-colored glasses on, being a proud Syracuse University alumnus and whatnot, I’m really discouraged by the 2023 cycle for the ‘Cuse, especially after the squad acquired a top-15 2022 class as well as a consensus four-star, top-50 player in the 2021 cycle, Orange sophomore forward Benny Williams.

The 2023 cycle has been a heated discussion point for my fellow ‘Cuse fans on social media and in chat rooms lately. And an important point that fans are bringing up is the uncertainty over when head coach Jim Boeheim will retire, and who will replace him on the Hill.

Now, Boeheim has said he knows when he’ll call it quits, and reports have suggested a succession plan is in place. But this isn’t out there in the public domain.

Whether Boeheim and his assistants are sharing such news with 2023 and 2024 targets is something I’m curious about and don’t have any information regarding.

However, you better believe that other college teams are using this topic as a recruiting tactic against the Orange. The 2023 recruiting cycle has been rough for the ‘Cuse to date, but I’m trying to remain somewhat hopeful that Syracuse basketball will turn things around in the near future.

Syracuse Basketball 2023 Offers
•Five-star wing Matas Buzelis (committed to the NBA’s G League Ignite)
•Four-star wing Gavin Griffiths (committed to Rutgers)
•Five-star power forward G.G. Jackson (committed to South Carolina; reclassified to 2022)
•Four-star shooting guard Blue Cain (committed to Georgia Tech)
•Four-star wing Elijah Fisher (committed to Texas Tech; reclassified to 2022)
•Four-star point guard Aden Holloway (committed to Auburn)
•Four-star forward Spencer Mahoney (undecided; candidly, I have no idea whether the Orange remains in contact with him)
•Five-star small forward Justin Edwards (committed to Kentucky)
•Five-star point guard Simeon Wilcher (committed to North Carolina)
•Four-star center Papa Kante (undecided; it doesn’t appear the Orange is a contender for him)
•Five-star point guard D.J. Wagner (undecided; the analyst buzz is that he’ll likely pick Kentucky or Louisville)
•Four-star wing Reid Ducharme (committed to Xavier)
•Four-star big man Joseph Estrella (undecided; experts project he will pick Tennessee)
•Five-star power forward Kwame Evans Jr. (committed to Oregon)
•Four-star big man Isaiah Miranda (undecided; it doesn’t seem that the ‘Cuse is a contender for him)
•Four-star center Ugonna Kingsley (committed to Kentucky; reclassified to 2022)
•Four-star wing Tafara Gapare (committed to UMass; reclassified to 2022)
•Four-star point guard Elmarko Jackson (undecided; he recently disclosed his top 11 and didn’t include ‘Cuse)
•Four-star guard Elijah Gertrude (undecided; he didn’t include Syracuse basketball when he recently listed his top five)
•Four-star guard Mike Williams (undecided; officially visiting the Orange next month)
•Big man William Patterson (undecided; just offered by the ‘Cuse this past Saturday at the team’s annual Elite Camp)

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