Syracuse basketball hot on fall recruiting trail pursuing 4-stars and 5-stars

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

The fall recruiting period got underway earlier this month, which means that Syracuse basketball coaches and their peers around the country are hitting the recruiting trail hard in their pursuit of prospects in various classes.

During this fall period, so far, the Orange has welcomed several targets to the SU campus on visits, and as I noted in a recent article, we could see more high-school players on the Hill in the coming months as well.

Additionally, the ‘Cuse coaching staff has hit the road of late to check out numerous recruits during open gyms at their respective high schools or prep schools.

I have to say, and I’m not alone in this sentiment among Syracuse basketball fanatics. It’s highly encouraging how active first-year head coach Adrian Autry and his assistants have proven on the recruiting trail in recent weeks (and in recent months).

We’re all eager to see how Autry & Co. fare in the 2023-24 season, and replacing the Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim is no easy task. But from a recruiting standpoint, and that includes what Autry and his staff did via the NCAA’s transfer portal this spring, there is a palpable buzz within the fan base.

Let’s see what Syracuse basketball coaches have been up to lately in the recruiting arena.

Based on social media posts from recruiting analysts and scouts, media reports, and information I’ve gathered myself, here are some nuggets on what has gone on this month as it relates to Orange recruiting efforts.

Full disclosure – this is likely not an exhaustive list, but it does reflect the ‘Cuse being assertive on the recruiting trail. I’m focused here on the 2025 and 2026 cycles. To date, Syracuse basketball has offered scholarships to at least 16 players in 2025 and at least six prospects in 2026.

•Around September 15, the Orange hosted 2025 four-star point guard Nigel James on an official visit. The 6-foot, top-100 national prospect, offered by the ‘Cuse in late August, attends Long Island Lutheran High School in Brookville, N.Y., and runs with the Boston-based Expressions Elite in Nike’s EYBL league.

•That same weekend, 2025 four-star forward Sadiq White took an unofficial visit to Central New York. The 6-foot-8 White, who picked up an Orange offer in late April, is a standout junior at Myers Park High School in Charlotte, N.C., and suits up for the Charlotte-based Team United in the EYBL.

•Also in recent days, Syracuse basketball assistant coach Brenden Straughn, a terrific recruiter, checked out White during an open gym at Myers Park. White is a consensus top-40 national prospect.

•As I first reported, ‘Cuse assistant coach Allen Griffin was recently at an open gym watching 2026 four-star point guard Deron Rippey Jr., who landed an Orange offer in late August. The 6-foot-2 Rippey is out of the Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J., and competes for the New York City-based New Heights Lightning in the EYBL. Rippey is a top-25 overall player in his class.

•A couple of days ago, the Atlanta-based professional league Overtime Elite held its Pro Day, and the Syracuse basketball coaching staff was in attendance for 2025 five-star point guard Tyler Jackson, a top-20 national prospect who earned high marks for his performance at this combine. The 6-foot-3 Jackson, offered by the Orange in late April, helped lead the Baltimore-based Team Thrill to the 16U championship in the Under Armour Association league (“UAA”) earlier this summer.

•Also recently, the ‘Cuse coaching staff hit the Washington, D.C., market, heading to open gyms to watch 2025 four-star combo guard Derek Dixon and 2025 four-star forward Cam Ward. The 6-foot-4 Dixon, offered by the Orange on June 15, is with Gonzaga College High School in D.C. as well as the Washington-based Team Takeover in the EYBL. The 6-foot-7 Ward, who secured a ‘Cuse offer in late April, is a star for Largo High School in Upper Marlboro, Md., and he runs with the Oxon Hill, Md.-based Team Durant in the EYBL. Both Dixon and Ward are top-75 overall players in their cycle.

•Turning to the Philadelphia area, Syracuse basketball associate head coach Gerry McNamara hit an open gym at William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia to see 2025 four-star power forward/center Matthew Gilhool. The 6-foot-11 Gilhool, offered by the ‘Cuse in late August, plays on the AAU circuit with the Philadelphia-based Philly Pride in the UAA league. He recently vaulted into the top 70 nationally, per 247Sports.

•To reiterate, I’m sure more reports will come out about the Orange coaching staff watching other 2025 or 2026 targets at upcoming open gyms. One recruit to monitor is 2025 four-star shooting guard Kiyan Anthony. I’ve seen some chatter that the ‘Cuse is likely to be at an open gym for the 6-foot-5 Anthony in the near future. Offered by Syracuse basketball last November, the top-40 national prospect is a junior at Long Island Lutheran and suits up for the Baltimore-based Team Melo in the EYBL.

Next. Syracuse Basketball: 4-star Elijah Moore not in top 100, and I don’t get that. dark