Syracuse Basketball: 4-star PG on west coast, elite scorer, is one to watch

Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) /

For those Syracuse basketball recruiting enthusiasts out there, I recommend that you keep an eye on Kaiden Bailey, a 2026 point guard on the west coast who is primed to be either a high four-star or a five-star prospect.

The 6-foot-2 Bailey, a natural, prolific scorer according to some experts, is a sophomore at Crean Lutheran High School in Irvine, Calif., an excellent program in that state.

In grassroots basketball, he has competed for his dad’s AAU program, K.O.B in California. Bailey also recently started playing for the Los Angeles-based Elev8 Elite, an Adidas-sponsored program.

Cory DeSanti, the head coach of Elev8 Elite, told me that since Bailey began playing for his AAU program, college teams that have reached out include the Orange, Oregon, West Virginia, Southern California, Seton Hall and St John’s, among others.

DeSanti says that he and Syracuse basketball assistant coach Allen Griffin are discussing Bailey. DeSanti adds that he’s hopeful the Orange will eventually offer a scholarship to Bailey. Stay tuned.

Kaiden Bailey, who scores in droves, is a prospect for Syracuse basketball fans to monitor.

According to recruiting services and DeSanti, Bailey’s offer sheet includes Washington State, Mississippi State, California State University (Northridge), UC Santa Barbara, High Point, University of Missouri-Kansas City, UT Arlington, Seattle and UC San Diego.

College coaches can’t initiate direct communication with 2026 players until June 15 of next year. Bailey’s list of offers should grow in the near future, but I’d imagine it will balloon once that contact period opens up.

In late June, Tony McNiff, a scouting analyst with MADE Hoops, included Bailey in a write-up on various 2026 prospects. McNiff noted that Bailey, at least at that time, was in the top 100 nationally in his class.

"McNiff added that Bailey “is a skilled backcourt prospect with a smooth offensive game. Shifty space-creator who tends to have little issues creating advantages with his blend of dribble moves & burst. Fluid pull-up scorer whose range extends out to the three-point line, plus he is a willing playmaker. Possesses strong floor-mapping instincts which allows him to stay a step ahead of opposing defenses.”"

In late May, The Basketball Tribune had Bailey ranked as the No. 21 national prospect in the 2026 cycle. More of the primary recruiting services should be publishing their first sets of national rankings for this class in the coming months, and I expect Bailey to be highly placed.

Dinos Trigonis, who runs the prestigious Pangos All-American Camp and other high-school showcase events, in mid-July wrote on X that Bailey is “one the most natural scorers with one of the wettest jump shots” in the 2026 cycle.

DeSanti said of Bailey, “I have never seen a more polished (rising sophomore). He can shoot it, can defend, great mid range and ball skill, elite passer and playmaker, fantastic kid who plays with effort and attitude but a leader amongst his teammates. Absolute killer and he is athletic and has good size.”

Another west-coast prospect who plays for DeSanti in some AAU events is 2025 four-star combo guard DeMarco Johnson, who received a scholarship offer from the ‘Cuse in late July. A junior at the Southern California Academy in Northridge, Calif., Johnson also suits up for the Oakland, Calif.-based Oakland Soldiers in Nike’s EYBL league.

As I noted in another recent article, DeSanti says that Johnson is highly interested in visiting the Hill in the coming months, and that trip could end up being an official visit to Syracuse basketball.

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