Syracuse Basketball: Amid latest 5-star miss, ‘Cuse recruiting is disastrous

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images) /
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When 2024 five-star point guard Elliot Cadeau recently announced his verbal commitment to North Carolina, a lot of Syracuse basketball fans were understandably disappointed, frustrated – even angry.

You see, the Orange has yet to secure a commitment in its 2023 and 2024 recruiting cycles, although the 2024 class is made up of high-school juniors who could have a way to go in their respective recruiting processes.

And in all fairness, with a six-member 2022 class comprising a large chunk of the current ‘Cuse roster, I figured that the team wasn’t ever likely to get more than one or two commitments in the 2023 cycle.

I’m going to delve into this more as part of other columns in the near future, but what I will say here is that I firmly believe Syracuse basketball is somewhat struggling on the recruiting front because of the uncertainty over when head coach Jim Boeheim is going to retire, and who is going to replace him at the helm on the Hill.

I have to imagine that other college teams are negatively recruiting against the ‘Cuse as it pertains to the head-coaching situation in Central New York.

And while the 6-foot-1 Cadeau did have Syracuse basketball in his top six, some comments he made in interviews after committing to the Tar Heels, to me, shed light on a potentially larger contextual issue for the ‘Cuse that won’t diminish until the Orange’s head-coaching succession plan is made public.

Syracuse basketball is having a difficult time securing commitments these days.

A couple of points need to get made here to provide fairness to the Orange program. Number one, Cadeau picking UNC is a great choice for him.

The Tar Heels are a blue-blood squad that most recently won a national title in 2017 and reached the NCAA Tournament championship contest this past spring.

Secondly, Syracuse basketball coaches offered a scholarship to Cadeau in November of 2021, and many media reports stated that the Orange recruited him hard and made him a priority in the 2024 class.

Thirdly, after Cadeau released his top six of the ‘Cuse, North Carolina, Louisville, Texas Tech, Texas and Kansas at the end of October, several articles stated that he was looking at a possible visit to the Orange.

Several reports also suggested that Cadeau was seeking to make a college decision by next spring, when the AAU circuit would commence, but he also said in at least one interview that he was ready to finish up his recruiting process, and he announced his commitment to UNC a few days ago.

If he had waited until the spring, perhaps the ‘Cuse could have gotten him on the Hill for an official visit. And let’s not forget that businessman and top SU booster Adam Weitsman had offered Cadeau a three-year, seven-figure name, image and likeness deal.

My point with all of this is that Syracuse basketball was in the running for the nation’s No. 1 point guard in the 2024 class. He’s headed to Chapel Hill, N.C., and I can’t blame Cadeau one iota for doing so.

That being said, let’s review some of the comments that he made around the time of his verbal commitment to North Carolina, or in other recent interviews after he had disclosed a top six.

In a piece by Jeff Borzello and Paul Biancardi of ESPN, Cadeau said that UNC head coach “Hubert Davis has been recruiting me for a long time. He has made me a priority, and that means a lot to me. He said I would have a chance to start. Coach Davis is a genuine guy.”

"In a recent interview with 247Sports national analyst Dushawn London, Cadeau said in part, “Coach Hubert Davis has been in contact with me for almost a year now. I like how it’s the head coach talking to me every week. It really shows me that I’m a priority for them. Also they’re a winning program and I like winning a lot. I know if I were to go there I’ll have elite players around me that would help us win.”"

Again, in all fairness, Cadeau said in numerous interviews over the past year that Syracuse basketball coaches were in regular communication with him, but I feel like in a lot of instances, Cadeau was referring to one of the assistant coaches, and not necessarily Boeheim. I could be wrong here, though.

In a separate article by London, Cadeau said of the Tar Heels, “While I’m there I want to be a one and done. I want to win a national championship and be a lottery pick.”

Over the past few months, Cadeau had taken official visits to UNC, Texas Tech and Louisville.

He said to Rivals.com national analyst Rob Cassidy that after his trip to Chapel Hill, “I kind of knew that nobody was going to top North Carolina. The visit set the bar for every other college really, really high if that makes sense.”

"Cadeau added in the Rivals.com piece, “I like the program because of all the winning and all that. That’s what I like to do. I like to win, and they win a lot of games. I love the coaching staff because it’s really like a family. That’s what stands out about them. The whole staff either played for North Carolina or graduated from there, so that says a lot. It says a lot that everybody wants to come back to work there shows that it really is a family.”"

Now, Boeheim and his assistants all played for Syracuse basketball. But the larger point here is that the UNC head coach seemed to be heavily involved in Cadeau’s recruitment on a weekly basis.

Was Boeheim in touch with Cadeau on a weekly basis? I wouldn’t pretend to know. However, I’ve read a lot of articles in recent months that, to me, suggest that Boeheim may not be as personally involved with Orange recruits as other head coaches are.

If that is the case, it’s a problem. And it could be why Syracuse basketball has been awful, to date, in the 2023 and 2024 cycles. The ‘Cuse really needs to publicly announce its head-coach succession plan if it hopes to improve in the recruiting arena moving forward.

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