Syracuse basketball currently in top 5 of 5-star forward from west coast

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

While his recruiting process likely has a way to go, 2026 five-star small forward Maximo Adams at present has a high interest in Syracuse basketball, according to his AAU coach.

The 6-foot-6 Adams, a top-flight prospect from the west coast, is rated as a top-20 overall player in the sophomore cycle by multiple recruiting services.

Adams picked up a scholarship offer from the Orange coaching staff this past February, and he’s one of numerous 2026 prospects to have been offered by the ‘Cuse to date. In the 2023-24 season, Adams attends Junipero Serra High School in Gardena, Calif., after previously playing at Narbonne High School in Los Angeles.

On the AAU circuit, he has played for the Los Angeles-based Team Why Not in Nike’s EYBL league. In non-EYBL events, Adams has competed for the Los Angeles-based Elev8 Elite, an Adidas-sponsored program.

Cory DeSanti, the head coach of Elev8 Elite, handles Adams’ recruiting process and is the point person for his recruitment with the Orange.

Syracuse basketball is, at present, a big contender for 2026 five-star small forward Maximo Adams.

Besides the ‘Cuse, Adams’ full offer list includes schools such as Southern California, West Virginia, Missouri, Kansas, BYU, Kansas State, St. John’s, Texas, Xavier, Oregon, TCU and Mississippi State, among many others.

DeSanti tells me that Adams’ current top five consist of Syracuse basketball, Oregon, USC, Kansas and Texas. The contact period opens up for 2026 players in mid-June of next year, at which time college coaches can begin initiating direct communication with these prospects.

Additionally, 2026 players will be able to start taking official visits to college campuses in the summer of 2024. DeSanti says that, assuming the Orange coaching staff stays involved with Adams, he will take an official visit to the Hill “next season.”

Separately, DeSanti says that he’s trying to set up an unofficial visit for 2025 four-star combo guard DeMarco Johnson to Syracuse basketball in the near future.

DeSanti adds that 6-foot-3 Johnson may take some unofficial visits “mid-season,” and other candidates for these trips beyond the ‘Cuse could include schools such as Mississippi State, Texas and Oregon State.

Johnson, offered a scholarship by the Orange in late July, is ranked as a top-100 national prospect and a top-20 point guard/combo guard in the junior class by several recruiting Web sites.

In grassroots basketball, he’s played for Elev8 Elite as well as the Oakland, Calif.-based Oakland Soldiers on the EYBL circuit.

Johnson is a standout for the Southern California Academy in Northridge, Calif., which in 2023-24 is competing in the Atlanta-based professional league Overtime Elite this season under the name Rolling Loud.

Others that have offered Johnson include Illinois, Virginia Tech, Saint Louis, California State University, Northridge, High Point, California, TCU, Mississippi State, St. John’s, Georgia, Arizona State, New Mexico State, Southern Utah and Duquesne.

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