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Syracuse basketball is trending for CNY native J.J. Starling, analysts say

Syracuse basketball, J.J. Starling (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball, J.J. Starling (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

J.J. Starling, the Central New York native and Notre Dame freshman guard who entered the NCAA’s transfer portal on Monday, may be headed to Syracuse basketball, if several predictions from analysts and other recruiting experts ring true.

Of course, you never know how recruitments will ultimately pan out until a commitment announcement is made, but it sure does seem like the Orange could potentially be in a position to land the 6-foot-4 Starling, who had a solid first season for the Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame, though, finished at a disappointing 11-21 during the 2022-23 stanza, and long-time head coach Mike Brey is moving on from the Fighting Irish.

I wasn’t surprised at all that Starling entered the portal, given that Brey has culminated his head-coaching career with Notre Dame. And it also wouldn’t surprise me if Syracuse basketball is, in fact, a serious contender for J.J. Starling.

Syracuse basketball is receiving analyst buzz for guard J.J. Starling.

During the 2022-23 campaign, Starling made the Atlantic Coast Conference’s All-Freshman team, along with Orange point guard Judah Mintz and several others.

Per ESPN, in 2022-23, Starling appeared in 28 games. He averaged 29.6 minutes, 11.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game, while connecting on 42.1 percent from the field, 29.9 percent from 3-point land, and 63.8 percent from the charity stripe.

Starling was a standout for Baker High School in Baldwinsville, N.Y., before playing his final two seasons at the powerhouse La Lumiere School in La Porte, Ind.

Syracuse basketball coaches offered him a scholarship in August of 2019. The ‘Cuse appeared to prioritize him in the 2022 cycle. Starling took two official visits to the Hill.

A member of the Albany City Rocks in Nike’s EYBL league on the AAU circuit, J.J. Starling continually climbed up the national rankings for his class, ultimately emerging as a consensus five-star, top-25 overall player in the 2022 cycle.

He picked up a range of high-major offers but came down to a top five of Syracuse basketball, Notre Dame, Duke, Northwestern and Stanford.

In October of 2021, Starling revealed his verbal commitment to the Fighting Irish. In interviews then, he cited his strong relationship with Brey and other Fighting Irish coaches as a big reason why he picked Notre Dame.

It’s worth noting here that Starling has also spoken in the past of his close relationship with Adrian Autry, who a few days ago was named by SU Athletics as the Orange’s head coach, replacing the legendary Jim Boeheim.

When I penned this column on Monday evening, at least two projections went in the direction of the ‘Cuse for Starling on the 247Sports Web site, including a prediction from 247Sports national basketball director Eric Bossi, who is one of the top recruiting experts out there.

There was also a projection in the Orange’s direction for Starling on the On3 Web site.

The Syracuse basketball 2022-23 roster has included five guards, although two of them are seniors in Joe Girard III and Symir Torrence.

Mintz, a star freshman for the ‘Cuse, may head to the professional ranks, but that isn’t for certain at this juncture. Additionally, freshmen Justin Taylor and Quadir Copeland can suit up at the guard and wing positions.

I absolutely can understand why Syracuse basketball coaches may have interest in J.J. Starling, even if Mintz did return for his sophomore term.

We’ll certainly continue to monitor Starling’s recruitment moving forward. I’d love to see him don an Orange uniform in the 2023-24 campaign.

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