Syracuse Basketball: 4-star big joins 4-star targets on preseason top team

Syracuse basketball (Syndication: Beaver County Times)
Syracuse basketball (Syndication: Beaver County Times) /

Long Island Lutheran High School in Brookville, N.Y., whose 2023-24 roster includes two Syracuse basketball four-star recruiting targets, has stacked its line-up even further.

In recent days, word came out that 2025 four-star center Alier Maluk would transfer to Long Island Lutheran from the Imani Christian Academy in Pittsburgh for his junior season, per a post on his X page.

The 6-foot-10 Maluk is a consensus top-50 national prospect in the 2025 class. He is rated as high as No. 21 overall in this cycle, according to

Maluk holds more than a dozen scholarship offers from a range of high-major programs, per recruiting Web sites. When I wrote this article, the industry-generated 247Sports Composite placed him as the No. 2 center across the country in the junior recruiting class.

Two Long Island Lutheran players hold offers from Syracuse basketball.

Long Island Lutheran is a member of the loaded 10-team National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (“NIBC”), which is arguably the top high-school league nationwide. A season ago, in 2022-23, the Crusaders finished second in the NIBC regular-season standings and earned a berth in this spring’s GEICO Nationals, while finishing with a record of 23-3.

Looking ahead to 2023-24, Long Island Lutheran is viewed as a preseason top-five national team, one of the top squads in the NIBC, and a significant contender to again return to the GEICO Nationals, according to high-school hoops experts.

In fact, a couple of days ago, noted high-school basketball analyst and scout Samad Hines published his updated preseason top 25 for the 2023-24 campaign, and he had the Crusaders at No. 3 overall.

"Hines, in his preseason top 25, wrote in part, “The Crusaders plan on staying as one of the better programs in the country. Year after year recently, Long Island Lutheran has become a powerhouse program out of New York and finished 23-3 overall after making their debut in the NIBC last season. The Crusaders are back and will be loaded with talent once again for the 2023-2024 high school season.”"

Besides new transfer Maluk, Long Island Lutheran’s 2023-24 roster includes top-flight prospects such as 2024 five-star shooting guard/small forward V.J. Edgecombe, who is rated No. 4 nationally in his class per On3, 2025 four-star shooting guard Kiyan Anthony, 2025 four-star point guard Nigel James and 2025 four-star wing Jacob Ross, among others.

The 6-foot James, this past weekend, took an unofficial visit to Central New York to compete in the Orange’s annual Elite Camp. Around the time of the camp, he received a scholarship offer from the ‘Cuse.

In early August, James said on X that he would transfer for his junior term to the Crusaders from the Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Mass. His offer sheet also includes Seton Hall, George Mason, Iowa, Marquette, UMass, Minnesota, Providence, Rutgers, St. John’s, Southern California, Wake Forest, Xavier, Manhattan, Saint Joseph’s and UAB, among others.

The 6-foot-5 Anthony, meanwhile, said last February that he would transfer to Long Island Lutheran from Christ the King Regional High School in Middle Village, N.Y., for the 2023-24 stanza.

Anthony, who has vaulted into the top 40 nationally per several recruiting Web sites, was offered by Syracuse basketball in November of 2022. He plans to take upcoming official visits to the Orange, Florida State, Indiana and Michigan, according to media reports.

While preseason prognostications have to be taken with the proverbial grain of salt, on paper, Long Island Lutheran appears to be every bit a national championship contender in high-school hoops this coming season.

What’s more, the NIBC has some of its games broadcast on national television, which means Syracuse basketball fans will get to check out the Crusaders and other squads in this ultra-competitive conference.

Another NIBC member and preseason top-five team, per Hines, is the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Orange 2024 commit Donnie Freeman, a four-star power forward, said not too long ago that he would spend his senior year at IMG, transferring there from St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C.

IMG and Long Island Lutheran are among a bunch of high-quality schools that will do battle this December at the 2023 City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Fla.

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