Syracuse Basketball: Chance Westry believes in what Autry is building

Syracuse basketball, Adrian Autry (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball, Adrian Autry (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) /

New Syracuse basketball commit Chance Westry is ready to get to work, help turn the Orange around, get the JMA Wireless Dome rocking, and play a key role in the ‘Cuse making deep runs in March Madness once again.

Over the past two seasons, the Orange has gone a combined 33-32 overall and missed the NCAA Tournament in both stanzas. Legendary head coach Jim Boeheim has retired, and long-time assistant Adrian Autry is hitting the ground running since replacing Boeheim last month.

Westry, who was heavily recruited by the ‘Cuse coaching staff for a while in high school, committed to the Orange on Monday after entering the NCAA’s transfer portal following his freshman season at Auburn, which was cut short due to injury.

The 6-foot-6 guard, a four-star, top-50 national prospect in the 2022 class coming out of the powerhouse AZ Compass Prep School in Chandler, Ariz., had the ‘Cuse in his initial top 10 but committed to the Tigers.

In several interviews after he pledged to the Orange, Chance Westry cited his strong relationship with Syracuse basketball associate head coach Gerry McNamara, as well as his confidence in what Autry is building in Central New York.

Syracuse basketball coaches have always kept it real with Chance Westry, he says.

Westry, who is from Harrisburg, Pa., received a scholarship offer from the ‘Cuse in the summer of 2019. In fact, it was his first college offer. He took an official visit to Syracuse basketball, and even though he committed to Auburn out of high school, Westry appears to have felt highly of the Orange coaching staff for a long time.

In an interview with SyracuseOnSI publisher Mike McAllister, Chance Westry said of McNamara, “He was always real and always transparent. I appreciated that because the bond only got stronger from both parties keeping it real with each other.”

Westry, who will have four years of eligibility remaining, was pursued by several teams after hitting the transfer portal, including Syracuse basketball, St. John’s, Penn State, Creighton and Seton Hall.

Last month, Syracuse basketball coaches landed a commitment from Central New York native J.J. Starling, a freshman guard who is transferring to the Hill from Notre Dame. It remains to be seen whether ‘Cuse freshman point guard Judah Mintz will return, as he is testing the 2023 NBA Draft waters while maintaining his college eligibility.

Per media reports, Syracuse basketball coaches have told Chance Westry that he can have a big role in the squad’s backcourt whether Mintz comes back or heads to the pro ranks.

“We’re all unselfish, that plays a big part of it,” Westry told McAllister, referring to Starling and Mintz. Chance Westry added, “Let’s get the Dome rocking. Let’s turn up. It’s about that time.”

"In an interview with ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, Westry said he was not recruited by the Orange to replace Mintz. “Coach (Autry) is respecting Judah’s process, and I’m doing the same. I know that Judah will do what’s best for him, but I welcome the opportunity to play with such a dynamic talent. And I’m super excited to share a backcourt with JJ. I think that our games complement each other in ways that could lead to a lot of success for our team.”"

Give a lot of credit to Autry and his assistants for securing commitments from Westry and Starling, to help stabilize the team’s 2023-24 backcourt, because it’s unclear if Mintz will return. Plus, senior guards Symir Torrence and Joe Girard III are in the transfer portal.

Chance Westry said to Givony, “I believe in what Coach Autry is building.” That is such an awesome, awesome statement about Adrian Autry, who is only in his second month as the new head coach of the ‘Cuse.

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