4-star DMV guard, contacted by Syracuse basketball, scores top-20 national ranking

Qayden Samuels, a 4-star guard in the 2026 class, has heard from Syracuse basketball and scored a top-20 national ranking.
Qayden Samuels, a 4-star guard in the 2026 class, has heard from Syracuse basketball and scored a top-20 national ranking. / Isaiah Vazquez/GettyImages

Qayden Samuels, one of the top 2026 prospects in the talent-rich Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, is seeing his recruitment blow up, with Syracuse basketball showing an interest in the consensus four-star, top-60 national prospect.

The 6-foot-5 Samuels, listed as either a shooting guard or a small forward on recruiting Web sites, had an impressive sophomore season in high school and has followed that up with stellar performances on the AAU circuit and at other showcase events in recent months.

Samuels, who recently scored a top-20 overall rating in the rising junior cycle via 247Sports, plays alongside one Orange 2026 target at Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, Md., and with two 'Cuse 2026 recruits for the 16U squad of the Washington, D.C.-based Team Takeover in Nike’s EYBL league, an AAU program to which the SU staff has deep ties.

On June 15, the 2026 contact period opened, enabling college coaches to initiate direct communication with rising juniors. Before June 15, I had opined that I hoped Syracuse basketball coaches would reach out to Samuels as the contact period opened.

And as my friend and top analyst/scout Colby Giacubeno first reported, on June 15, the Orange was one of numerous college programs to contact Samuels. When I wrote this article on Tuesday evening, I had yet to see the 'Cuse offer a scholarship to him, but my fingers are crossed that this ultimately transpires - Qayden is a fast-rising, elite prospect in the 2026 class.

Should it offer him, Syracuse basketball will face steep competition for Qayden Samuels.

Per his X page, since June 15, schools that have offered Samuels include Alabama, Michigan, Georgetown, Kansas, Georgia, Villanova and Louisville.

According to recruiting services, Samuels' full offer sheet also features teams such as Virginia Tech, West Virginia, George Mason, Rutgers, Florida State, Maryland, Providence, VCU and Illinois.

One of Samuels' teammates at Bishop McNamara is 2026 four-star guard Prince-Alexander Moody. For Team Takeover in the EYBL's 16U division this spring and summer, the squad's roster includes Samuels, Moody and 2026 four-star point guard Anthony Brown, who will spend his junior season at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C.

Both Moody and Brown took unofficial visits to Central New York in late August of last year to play in the Orange's annual Elite Camp, around which time they each picked up a scholarship offer from the 'Cuse.

As I noted on Monday via X, Brown and Samuels are among several Syracuse basketball 2026 four-star targets who are competing this week at the annual Nike Elite 100 Camp in St. Louis.

During the 2023-24 campaign, as a sophomore for Bishop McNamara in the loaded Washington Catholic Athletic Conference ("WCAC"), Samuels was excellent. He earned a spot on the All-WCAC first team.

The EYBL held a couple of regular-season sessions in April and May, and Samuels earned a ton of high marks from national analysts and scouts for his performances. In fact, per this league's Web site, Samuels has proven a top-five scorer in the 16U division, averaging 22.5 points along with 5.6 rebounds per contest.

Next month, from July 13 to July 21 in North Augusta, S.C., the EYBL will hold its yearly Peach Jam tournament. Team Takeover is in the 16U field at Peach Jam, and I look forward to seeing how Samuels, Brown and Moody fare.

Within the 2026 class, at the time of this writing, both the industry-generated 247Sports Composite and the industry-generated On3 Industry Ranking had Samuels at No. 31 around the country.

However, when 247Sports refreshed its ratings for this cycle in recent days, he arrived at No. 19 overall, No. 5 at shooting guard and No. 1 in Maryland. Additionally, as Rivals.com unveiled its updated 2026 rankings not too long ago, Samuels moved up 11 spots to No. 29 nationwide.

Next. 4-stars, 5-stars who have heard from Syracuse basketball since contact period opened. 4-stars, 5-stars who have heard from Syracuse basketball since contact period opened. dark