Syracuse Basketball: Former 4-star big-man target will reopen recruitment

Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports) /

Four-star senior center Papa Kante, a former Syracuse basketball recruiting target, said on Twitter that he is requesting a release from his national letter of intent to Big Ten Conference member Michigan and plans to reopen his recruitment back up.

The 6-foot-10 Kante is rated as a top-100 national prospect and a top-10 center within the 2023 class, according to multiple recruiting services.

Kante received a scholarship offer from the Orange coaching staff in late August of 2021, when he took an unofficial visit to the Hill to compete in the team’s annual Elite Camp.

Per his bio on the 247Sports Web site, Kante has landed nearly 20 scholarship offers from a range of high-major programs. According to 247Sports, he verbally committed to the Wolverines in October of last year and signed his NLI to play at Michigan the following month.

Syracuse basketball, though, does have a commitment from a center in the 2023 cycle.

As soon as word broke on Tuesday that Kante was requesting a release from his NLI to Michigan, I saw a variety of comments on social media that spoke to whether the ‘Cuse may reach out to him. For what it’s worth, Kante has said in the past that as it pertains to the Orange, head coach Adrian Autry was the lead recruiter for him.

I’ve asked around to several sources but haven’t been able to pin down one way or another whether Syracuse basketball coaches will end up pursuing Kante this time around. He is a senior at the South Kent School in South Kent, Conn.

Besides Michigan and the ‘Cuse, Kante’s offer sheet has included Maryland, DePaul, Georgetown, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Miami, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, Providence, Rutgers, Seton Hall, TCU, Tennessee and Mike Hopkins-led Washington, among others.

With senior Jesse Edwards having committed to West Virginia a few days ago, Autry and his assistants do appear intent on landing an experienced center out the NCAA’s transfer portal.

Kante is ranked as high as No. 57 nationally by On3 within the 2023 class, and that recruiting service also rates him as the No. 6 center in the senior cycle. But he’s also a high-school prospect, so it’s certainly possible that Orange coaches are more focused on picking up a veteran center, rather than an incoming freshman.

As it presently stands, the three centers on the ‘Cuse 2023-24 roster are sophomore Mounir Hima, freshman Peter Carey and 2023 three-star commit William Patterson out of The Patrick School in Hillside, N.J.

In 2022-23, Hima didn’t play a ton. Last season, Carey only competed in a few games and is expected to take a medical redshirt. And Patterson, similar to Kante, is a high-school senior.

Next. Syracuse Basketball: Even if Judah Mintz goes pro, backcourt looking good. dark