Syracuse Basketball: 4-star targets to significantly vie for coveted NIBC title

Syracuse basketball (Syndication: South Bend Tribune)
Syracuse basketball (Syndication: South Bend Tribune) /

Multiple Syracuse basketball four-star and five-star recruits will suit up this coming season in the country’s top high-school hoops league, the loaded National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (“NIBC”).

In the 2023-24 campaign, the NIBC will feature 10 of the top prep-school programs and independent basketball academies from around the country. This off-season, the powerhouse Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H., which has sent numerous of its alumni to the Orange over the years, joined the NIBC.

On the flip side, the Bishop Walsh School in Cumberland, Md., left this league, leaving the NIBC with 10 members.

To give you a sense of how dominant this conference is, at the prestigious 2023 GEICO Nationals held this past spring, five of the eight groups invited were NIBC members.

Not too long ago, a high-school hoops expert disclosed his preseason 2023-24 power rankings for the NIBC, and we’re going to delve into how this relates to several ‘Cuse recruiting targets.

Syracuse basketball targets will contend for a NIBC championship.

For some context, a season ago in 2022-23, the juggernaut Montverde Academy in Montverde, Fla., won the NIBC regular-season grand prize, sporting an 11-1 record.

Long Island Lutheran High School in Brookville, N.Y., another titan in high-school hoops, came in at No. 2 in the NIBC, with a mark of 10-2.

At this year’s GEICO Nationals, Montverde and Long Island Lutheran were the No. 1 seed and the No. 2 seed, respectively, although both were upset in their opening-round encounter.

Top high-school hoops expert Jordan Divens, the national basketball editor at MaxPreps, recently published his super early power ratings for the NIBC ahead of 2023-24. Divens has Montverde at No. 1 and Long Island Lutheran at No. 3.

Sandwiched in between those two powerhouses, per Divens, is the La Lumiere School in La Porte, Ind., at No. 2. In 2022-23, La Lumiere struggled in the ultra-competitive NIBC, going 5-7 in league play and 18-10 overall.

However, this off-season, the Lakers have absolutely stacked their roster for 2023-24, adding a slew of highly rated prospects, including two players who hold Syracuse basketball offers.

Those Orange recruits joining La Lumiere are 2025 five-star point guard Jerry Easter II and 2025 four-star combo guard Darius Adams. Easter and Adams, both offered by the ‘Cuse in the summer of 2022, will form a lethal backcourt for the Lakers.

Montverde is arguably the top high-school basketball program in the United States. Per Divens, the Eagles have captured the GEICO Nationals on six different occasions. Syracuse basketball recruiting enthusiasts will recognize a couple of names on the Montverde 2023-24 roster.

They include 2024 five-star big man Derik Queen, 2024 four-star point guard Robert Wright III and 2024 four-star point guard Curtis Givens III, all of whom were offered scholarships from the Orange. Queen isn’t considering the ‘Cuse, Wright is verbally committed to Baylor, and Givens in May announced a top seven that didn’t include Syracuse basketball.

That brings us to Long Island Lutheran, which finished second in the NIBC a stanza ago, the team’s first year in the conference. In 2022-23, the Crusaders participated in the GEICO Nationals and were a top-five national squad. Similar patterns are expected for Long Island Lutheran in 2023-24.

The Crusaders’ deep roster will feature 2025 four-star shooting guard Kiyan Anthony, 2025 four-star wing Jacob Ross, 2025 four-star point guard Nigel James and 2024 five-star shooting guard/small forward V.J. Edgecombe, who is up to No. 4 nationally in his class, per On3.

Anthony is a priority recruit for Syracuse basketball, and he has said he will officially visit the ‘Cuse at some point. Media reports have stated that the Orange has shown an interest in Ross. James is a fast-rising 2025 prospect who has said he would like to hear from Syracuse basketball.

Given that the NIBC is expected to have some of its 2023-24 games on national broadcasts, ‘Cuse fans will have opportunities to check out various Orange recruiting targets as they vie for a coveted NIBC regular-season championship.

Oh, and one more thing to note here. After I wrote this article, but before it was published on Inside The Loud House, Syracuse basketball 2024 four-star commit Donnie Freeman, a 6-foot-9 power forward, said he would transfer from St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., which is also a NIBC member and played in the 2023 GEICO Nationals.

Divens, in his preseason NIBC power rankings, had IMG at No. 4, although that was before Freeman announced his transfer to the Ascenders. IMG finished in a tie for third place within the NIBC regular-season standings a year ago, with the Ascenders going 18-8 overall, according to Divens.

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