Syracuse Basketball: 4-star PG has ‘great’ unofficial, ‘Cuse in mix for official visit

Four-star PG Deron Rippey Jr. enjoyed his SU unofficial and is interested in taking an official visit to Syracuse basketball.
Four-star PG Deron Rippey Jr. enjoyed his SU unofficial and is interested in taking an official visit to Syracuse basketball. / Rich Barnes/GettyImages

Deron Rippey Jr., a 2026 four-star point guard, played lights out late last week in helping lead his New Jersey program to a state title, and he followed that up by heading to Syracuse basketball for an unofficial visit this past Saturday on Jim Boeheim Day.

The 6-foot-2 Rippey, who hails from Brooklyn, N.Y., is a top-25 national prospect and a top-five point guard in his class, according to several recruiting services.

During the 2023-24 season, he put forth a fabulous sophomore year for the Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J. The Bucs went 22-4 in the latest campaign, winning both the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association ("NJSIAA") Prep A state championship as well as the Mid-Atlantic Prep League ("MAPL") tournament crown.

This past Saturday, as the Orange squeaked past Notre Dame and SU Athletics honored the storied career of Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim, Rippey was one of three ‘Cuse targets on the Hill for unofficial visits, along with 2025 four-star power forward/center Matthew Gilhool from the Philadelphia area and 2025 four-star forward Sadiq White Jr. from Charlotte, N.C.

Four-star PG Deron Rippey Jr. is impressed by Syracuse basketball.

On Monday, I caught up with Rippey’s dad, Deron Rippey Sr., by phone to discuss the 2026 prospect’s unofficial visit to the ‘Cuse.

The trip to Central New York was “great, real good,” the elder Rippey said. “Ron Ron had a great time.”

During his unofficial visit on Saturday, Deron Rippey Jr. had an opportunity to meet with the entire Orange coaching staff, players on the 2023-24 roster, and training, conditioning and medical staff members for the program.

I should note that ‘Cuse redshirt sophomore guard Kyle Cuffe Jr. also went to Blair. Additionally, Syracuse basketball freshman center William Patterson ran on the AAU circuit with the New York City-based New Heights Lightning in Nike’s EYBL league, and that’s the same grassroots program where Rippey plays.

Rippey had a chance to get together with Gilhool and White, Rippey’s dad says. Rippey, who has a 4.0 grade point average, and his dad toured the Melo Center.

Following the Orange’s win on Saturday afternoon against the Fighting Irish, SU Athletics had a ceremony for Boeheim that was emceed by Syracuse University alum and famed NBC Sports announcer Mike Tirico.

After that ceremony, Boeheim said hello to Rippey and his dad, and the legendary head coach knew that Rippey was a 2026 point-guard target of Syracuse basketball.

More than 25,000 fans packed the JMA Wireless Dome for this Atlantic Coast Conference encounter, the largest crowd to date in 2023-24 for an on-campus game.

Rippey’s dad says that the fans, the Dome’s energy, “it was electric. He (Deron Rippey Jr.) was impressed with the whole thing.”

Rippey had previously taken an unofficial visit to St. John’s, and he’s scheduled to unofficially visit Rutgers this Thursday. Later this year, 2026 high school players will be able to start taking official visits in their recruitments.

To that end, Rippey’s dad says, “We definitely have Syracuse as a priority as far as an official visit. … We definitely want to come back.”

So far in the sophomore cycle, the Orange coaching staff has offered scholarships to eight 2026 prospects that I’m aware of, while showing interest in several others.

Assistant coach Allen Griffin is the lead 'Cuse recruiter for Rippey, who received a scholarship offer from Syracuse basketball in late August of last year.

Griffin has been in attendance at both a Blair game and one of the team's open gyms in recent months. Rippey is a priority recruit for the Orange in the sophomore class.

But the competition for him will prove intense. His recruiting process has a way to go, and already his offer sheet includes schools such as Illinois, Old Dominion, Oklahoma State, St. John’s, Fordham, Hofstra, TCU, Long Island University, Binghamton, Mike Hopkins-led Washington, Texas A&M and George Washington.

College squads showing interest in Rippey include Notre Dame, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, UConn, Kansas, Arkansas, LSU, Villanova, Seton Hall and Rutgers.

The contact period for the 2026 cycle will open up on June 15, at which time college coaches can begin initiating direct communication with prospects in this class. Rippey has lot of offers and interest, and that’s only going to grow once college coaches can directly contact him.

Rippey is looking forward to the upcoming EYBL circuit with the New Heights Lightning as well as future USA Basketball junior national team efforts, as Rippey has participated in several minicamps to date.

Last Thursday night, when Blair defeated the St. Benedict’s Preparatory School from Newark, N.J., by a final count of 53-51 to capture the NJSIAA Prep A state championship, Rippey was tremendous, scoring a career-high 22 points, according to media reports.

Following that victory, named Rippey to its All-Tournament team. Not too long ago, he also received an honorable-mention nod for the 2023-24 MAPL All-League squad.

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