Syracuse Basketball: 4-star Philly target chats with Melo, could visit again

Syracuse basketball (Syndication: Bucks County Courier Times)
Syracuse basketball (Syndication: Bucks County Courier Times) /

Syracuse basketball coaches continue to prioritize 2024 four-star guard Jalil Bethea from the Philadelphia area, and he said in a recent interview that he could make a college decision by the “end of September.”

The 6-foot-4 Bethea has proven one of the best all-around performers on the AAU circuit this spring, and his offer sheet continues to grow. Bethea and the loaded 17U roster of the Philadelphia-based Team Final, which includes two former Orange targets, recently won the Nike EYBL regular-season championship, sporting an impressive 16-1 overall mark.

Now Bethea and Team Final will prepare for this summer’s annual Peach Jam tournament, which will take place from July 3 to July 9 in North Augusta, S.C. Team Final is likely considered by high-school hoops experts as the favorite to cut down the nets at Peach Jam.

The Orange coaching staff offered a scholarship to Bethea in September of last year, and he took an official visit to the Hill the following month. He has also officially visited Temple, and numerous media reports of late have stated that Bethea plans to make an official visit to Miami this summer as well.

Syracuse basketball has recruited 2024 four-star guard Jalil Bethea hard for a while now.

Besides his official visit to Central New York last fall, Bethea received an in-person visit from ‘Cuse coaches not too long ago. Syracuse basketball was in attendance for him during April live periods in grassroots basketball, and Orange coaches also watched him twice when Bethea competed in post-season play for his high school in March, according to reports.

In his junior season for Archbishop Wood Catholic High School in Warminster, Pa., Bethea helped lead the Vikings to the semifinals of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (“PIAA”) 6A tournament.

In that 2022-23 term, Bethea was impressive, earning a slew of awards. He was named an All-American by MaxPreps. He was the MVP of the Philadelphia Catholic League.

At the end of May, the fabulous Web site City of Basketball Love selected him to its PIAA All-Area first team. City of Basketball Love named former ‘Cuse recruit Justin Edwards as its player of the year. Edwards is a 2023 five-star small forward committed to Kentucky.

Also on this PIAA All-Area first squad are 2024 four-star point guard Robert Wright III and 2024 four-star center Thomas Sorber. Wright and Sorber, who play alongside Bethea for Team Final, are former Syracuse basketball targets verbally committed to Baylor and Georgetown, respectively.

Per his Twitter page, Bethea just picked up an offer from Alabama, whose head coach is former Buffalo boss Nate Oats. Alabama was the No. 1 overall seed in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, falling to eventual Final Four participant San Diego State in the Sweet 16.

Bethea’s extensive offer sheet also includes 2023 national champion UConn, Georgia Tech, LSU, Xavier, 2022 national champ Kansas, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Georgetown, Miami, Notre Dame, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Temple, UCLA, Villanova, VCU, Mississippi State and West Virginia, among others.

While several of the main recruiting services rate him within the top 40 overall in his class, Bethea recently vaulted into the top five across the country in the 2024 cycle, per MADE Hoops. I’ve said it multiple times now; Bethea is trending toward a five-star, top-25 national prospect in the junior class.

SyracuseOnSI publisher Mike McAllister, who recently conducted an interview with Bethea, writes that this Orange priority recruit plans to visit Miami this summer and could also visit other schools, but “Bethea has no visits scheduled currently.”

Bethea told McAllister that he speaks on a regular basis with ‘Cuse associate head coach Gerry McNamara. And not too long ago, Bethea spoke with Syracuse basketball legend Carmelo Anthony, who last month officially announced his retirement from the NBA.

“I was actually talking to Melo the other day,” Bethea said to McAllister. “Carmelo was basically saying that they need you and whatever I need he’s there for me. Even if I go there or not, he’s still in my circle and all that. It just means that they really care. They want to go above and beyond for me.” I love that, by the way.

McAllister writes that Bethea may return to the ‘Cuse campus at some point to watch a team practice, given the new Orange coaching staff led by first-year head coach Adrian Autry. Bethea could announce his commitment decision by the end of September, according to McAllister’s piece.

At this juncture, Syracuse basketball has two verbal commitments in its top-10 2024 class, from four-star power forward Donnie Freeman out of Washington, D.C., and four-star shooting guard Elijah Moore from New York City.

Freeman has said that he is trying to recruit several Orange targets to join him and Moore in the team’s 2024 cycle, including Bethea.

With point guard Judah Mintz announcing several days ago that he will return to Syracuse basketball for his sophomore year, the squad’s 2023-24 roster is set with 13 scholarship players, none of whom are seniors.

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