Syracuse Basketball: 2023 recruiting cycle has proven disastrous for ‘Cuse

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images) /

Syracuse basketball coaches remain without a commitment in the 2023 recruiting cycle after four-star guard Mike Williams picked LSU over the Orange and several other finalists.

Immediately prior to his commitment announcement, the 6-foot-4 Williams was receiving a decent amount of analyst buzz in the direction of the Tigers, so it wasn’t a huge surprise when this top-100 prospect chose LSU.

Williams had taken an official visit to the Hill. With him off the board, I’m not aware of any other 2023 guards whom the ‘Cuse is actively pursuing, but that could change.

What’s more, the only 2023 target whom it seems that the Orange is significantly in play for at this juncture is big man William Patterson.

The 7-foot Patterson has Syracuse basketball in his final three, and he may look to take an official visit to the ‘Cuse at some point in the future.

The 2023 cycle has proven a struggle for Syracuse basketball.

As we’ve noted in previous articles on this topic, the Orange has doled out scholarships to more than 20 high-school players in the senior class.

Now, a couple of things to address here. First of all, given that the ‘Cuse 2022 class had six members, and the team also brought in a young big-man transfer this past off-season, it was always likely to be the case that Syracuse basketball wouldn’t end up with a large 2023 cycle.

What’s more, even though the ‘Cuse has made more than 20 offers in this class, that doesn’t mean Syracuse basketball was a significant contender for all of these recruits.

But, lately, the Orange was a finalist for several 2023 players, such as Williams, four-star wing Reid Ducharme and four-star big man Joseph Estrella. Ducharme, a Xavier commit, and Estrella, who is headed to Tennessee, both officially visited the ‘Cuse over the summer.

Does it sting to miss out on these recruits? Sure. Is it concerning that Syracuse basketball may not end up with a single high-school prospect from the 2023 cycle? Absolutely.

Does the uncertainty – at least in the public domain – over when head coach Jim Boeheim is going to retire, and who will replace him, factor into the Orange’s struggles so far in the 2023 class?

Maybe. But maybe not. I’m not a recruiting analyst, but what I would say here is that if 2023 recruits were so concerned about the Syracuse basketball head-coaching succession plan, why would guys like Williams, Ducharme and Estrella even put the ‘Cuse among their small group of finalists in the first place?

Boeheim himself even recently acknowledged that a six-member 2022 class and also bringing in Mounir Hima, a sophomore transfer from Duquesne, would make it challenging for Syracuse basketball to recruit in the 2023 cycle.

In the case of Williams, I could understand him picking another school besides the ‘Cuse. Yes, Syracuse basketball has two senior guards in Joe Girard III and Symir Torrence, each of whom could come back for a fifth stanza.

By extension, of its 2022 commits, Judah Mintz is a point guard, Quadir Copeland is a guard/wing, and Justin Taylor is a guard/wing. That could make for a crowded backcourt in the 2023-24 term, assuming no one transfers out after the current campaign or heads to the professional ranks.

I have no idea what Boeheim and his assistant coaches are telling 2023, 2024 and 2025 prospects. The 2023 cycle has proven a disaster, at least so far, but the Orange does have strong recruiting momentum with its 2024 efforts.

In the 2022-23 stanza, which just got underway, Syracuse basketball has 12 scholarship players. Assuming that seniors Girard, Torrence and center Jesse Edwards leave the Hill after this season, the Orange would have at least four open scholarships for 2023-24.

Naturally, the transfer portal will be vital for the ‘Cuse as we look beyond the present term. And the 2023 cycle for the Orange, to reiterate, was always likely to be small (much like in 2021, when the team’s lone high-school commit was forward Benny Williams).

I get all that. At the same time, if Syracuse basketball misses out on Patterson, too, and ultimately doesn’t get even one 2023 commitment from a high-school player, that to me is really, really disappointing.

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