Syracuse Basketball: New assistant Brenden Straughn pivotal in recruiting

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

Syracuse basketball coaches, lately, have hit the recruiting trail hard as it relates to prospects in the talent-rich Washington, D.C., market and elsewhere, and new assistant coach Brenden Straughn is proving big-time in those efforts.

Straughn, much like head coach Adrian Autry, has strong recruiting ties to the D.C. area, and as I noted in another recent column, those two Orange coaches and the rest of the ‘Cuse staff are putting in encouraging work fewer than two months into Autry’s tenure as the replacement for Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim on the Hill.

Now, as Orange fans like to remind me, there’s a huge difference between recruiting high-school players and landing commitments from them. I totally agree, so it remains to be seen how Syracuse basketball coaches will end up faring with various 2024 and 2025 prospects who they are aggressively pursuing.

But to me, Brenden Straughn is a fabulous hire by SU Athletics to round out the new ‘Cuse coaching staff, and I’m excited by what he has done since being officially hired by the Orange athletics department in late March.

Syracuse basketball assistant coach Brenden Straughn is quite busy in the recruiting arena.

Since joining Autry’s staff, Straughn has doled out scholarship offers to new targets, joined other coaches in meeting with recruits in person, and checked out prospects on the AAU circuit amid live periods last month.

Straughn and the entire coaching staff recently traveled to our nation’s capital to meet with 2024 four-star power forward Donnie Freeman from D.C. Straughn also watched the top-40 national prospect during last month’s live periods.

Straughn was also among those Syracuse basketball coaches who recently met with 2024 four-star prospect Patrick Ngongba II, a top-10 center who like Freeman resides in the Washington market. Ngongba and Freeman suit up in grassroots basketball for the D.C.-based Team Takeover in Nike’s EYBL league.

Both Straughn and Autry previously served as assistants with the Team Takeover program. The ‘Cuse recently offered scholarships to Ngongba and 2024 four-star wing Caleb Williams, who is also a member of Team Takeover.

Per his Twitter page, 2025 four-star wing Cam Ward recently landed an Orange scholarship offer from Straughn. Ward, a top-50 national prospect, also hails from the D.C. metropolitan region, suiting up for the Oxon Hill, Md.-based Team Durant in Nike’s EYBL league.

Current Syracuse basketball freshman point guard Judah Mintz, by the way, played for both Team Durant and Team Takeover while in high school. Mintz is weighing whether to return to the ‘Cuse for his sophomore year or stay in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Syracuse basketball recently offered 2025 five-star point guard Tyler Jackson out of Baltimore, and media reports say that Straughn is the lead recruiter for Jackson, who is a top-10 national player and No. 1 at his position across the country, according to ESPN.

Straughn, though, isn’t by any means limiting his recruiting wings to the Baltimore and Washington areas.

He recently offered 2024 four-star point guard Mikey Lewis, who runs on the AAU circuit with the Oakland, Calif.-based Oakland Soldiers in Nike’s EYBL league and plays high-school ball at Accelerated Prep in Lakewood, Colo.

Per recent reports, targets such as Lewis, Jackson and Ngongba have said in interviews that they would like to visit Syracuse basketball.

Straughn, most recently, was an assistant at George Washington in D.C. He’s also coached on the collegiate level at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore and Saint Joseph’s in Philadelphia.

Those experiences, along with his coaching gigs at Team Takeover and his alma mater, Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Md., undeniably have afforded him deep recruiting connections.

Before I and other Orange hoops fanatics make too many grand proclamations, we’ll have to see how Autry, Brenden Straughn and the rest of the coaching staff do in actual games during the upcoming 2023-24 campaign and beyond.

That being said, Straughn’s activity on the recruiting trail has me pumped up for what I’m hoping Syracuse basketball can achieve in securing future commitments from top-flight targets. The recent buzz in Central New York, at least as far as I can tell, is one filled with optimism.

Next. Syracuse Basketball: Big offers flowing in for 4-star recruit Kiyan Anthony. dark