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Syracuse Basketball: Analyst sizes up contenders for 5-star Jalil Bethea

Syracuse basketball, Jalil Bethea (Syndication: Bucks County Courier Times)
Syracuse basketball, Jalil Bethea (Syndication: Bucks County Courier Times) /

Jalil Bethea, a five-star guard in the 2024 class from the Philadelphia area, has Syracuse basketball in his final five, along with Alabama, Kansas, Miami and Villanova, which is a hometown team for the consensus top-20 national prospect.

The 6-foot-4 Bethea received a scholarship offer from the Orange in September of 2022 and took an official visit to the Hill the following month, when Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim was still at the helm of the ‘Cuse.

In the coming weeks and months, according to various media reports, Jalil Bethea plans to officially visit Kansas, Miami and Alabama.

He’s also reportedly going to officially visit the Orange for a second time in mid-September, which will allow the fast-rising Bethea to check out team practices under first-year head coach Adrian Autry and his assistants.

Throughout his recruitment, Jalil Bethea has spoken highly of Syracuse basketball, and he has said of late that his strong relationship with the Orange coaching staff has only further grown since Autry took over this past March.

So is Syracuse basketball the favorite for 2024 five-star guard Jalil Bethea?

At this juncture, I’ve yet to come across any predictions from national analysts or other recruiting insiders on the 247Sports Web site, or the On3 Web site.

Recently, I asked national analyst Rob Cassidy in one of his mailbags if he thought there was a front-runner or front-runners for Bethea at this point in time.

Cassidy was kind enough to respond, so I thank him for that. He says he doesn’t necessarily think there is one front-runner for Jalil Bethea, but Cassidy did add that the finalists he sees “as actually having a chance to land Jalil Bethea are Miami, Syracuse and Villanova.”

The expert says he doesn’t think Alabama is a “real player.” Regarding 2022 national champion Kansas, according to Cassidy, “I wouldn’t classify the Jayhawks as one of the leaders as things stand but I had somebody in the know tell me that the Jayhawks should be treated as a ‘dark horse.’”

Cassidy summed things up by saying that, at least for now, the most optimistic suitors should be the Hurricanes, Wildcats and the Orange.

Jalil Bethea has said in recent interviews that it could be several months before he makes a decision, so ‘Cuse fans will have to sweat this one out, likely.

I do understand where Cassidy is coming from when he discusses which schools he thinks are the most realistic contenders for Bethea.

Miami, Syracuse basketball and Villanova have all been in pursuit of him for a while now, dating back to the summer/fall of 2022, whereas both Kansas and Alabama offered Bethea this spring.

If I had to venture a guess, and I don’t have any sort of inside information here, I would rank the contenders as the Orange at No. 1, Miami at No. 2, Kansas at No. 3, Villanova at No. 4 and Alabama at No. 5.

Jalil Bethea is a standout rising senior at Archbishop Wood Catholic High School in Warminster, Pa., where he was an All-American as a junior, as well as with the Philadelphia-based Team Final in Nike’s EYBL league.

Next. Syracuse Basketball: Donnie Freeman wants 5-star Jalil Bethea at ‘Cuse. dark