Syracuse Basketball: 5-star Chris Cenac explodes in rankings, transfers to 2023 champs

Syracuse basketball target Chris Cenac Jr., a 5-star big man, has transferred to a powerhouse team as his rankings skyrocket.
Syracuse basketball target Chris Cenac Jr., a 5-star big man, has transferred to a powerhouse team as his rankings skyrocket. / ALTAN GOCHER/GettyImages

Chris Cenac Jr., a 2025 five-star big man who is currently competing for a USA Basketball junior national team at an international event in Turkey and holds a scholarship offer from Syracuse basketball, is perhaps the hottest prospect around the country in the rising high school senior class.

The 6-foot-10 power forward/center, who in early June disclosed an offer from the Orange staff, has of late seen his national rankings absolutely skyrocket while his offer sheet balloons, inclusive of some heavyweight programs in college basketball.

Without question, the 'Cuse faces immense competition in trying to prevail for Cenac, although I give a lot of credit to Syracuse basketball coaches for making a run at him.

When both 247Sports and recently updated their 2025 rankings, Cenac made some of the biggest moves nationwide. He also recently announced that he would spend his senior year at one of the top high school programs.

Syracuse basketball faces a crowded field for 2025 five-star big man Chris Cenac Jr.

Per 247Sports, Cenac's offer list has expanded to at least 30 suitors. Since his 'Cuse offer was noted, others who have offered him a scholarship, per Cenac's X page, include two-time defending national champion UConn, Oregon, Southern California, Arkansas, Georgia, Georgetown, Michigan State, UCLA, Michigan and Kentucky.

His offer sheet also includes college squads such as Oklahoma State, Indiana, Alabama, Baylor, Kansas, Creighton, Texas, Ole Miss, Illinois, Oklahoma, Rutgers, Louisville, Auburn, California, Houston, LSU, Memphis, Mississippi State, SMU, Tennessee and Texas A&M.

On the AAU circuit in recent months, Cenac has shined for the Dallas-based YoungGameChangers in the PUMA-sponsored PRO16/NXT league. In the 2023-24 season, as a junior, he was a standout for the Isidore Newman School in New Orleans.

However, in mid-June, Cenac revealed on X that he would transfer for his senior year to the powerhouse Link Academy in Branson, Mo., which is part of the country's top high school hoops conference, the 14-member Nike Elite Youth Basketball League Scholastic (“EYBL Scholastic").

There are numerous recruiting ties between the Syracuse basketball program and the EYBL Scholastic. In the 2023-24 season, Orange 2024 commit Donnie Freeman, a five-star power forward, was excellent for an EYBL Scholastic school, the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

'Cuse 2025 priority target Kiyan Anthony, a four-star shooting guard, is a rising senior at Long Island Lutheran High School in Brookville, N.Y., another member of this juggernaut league.

In late May, 2025 four-star shooting guard Dante Allen said he would transfer to the Montverde Academy in Montverde, Fla., which was the top EYBL Scholastic group in 2023-24 and claimed this spring's high school national championship by winning the 2024 Chipotle Nationals, held in early April in Brownsburg, Ind.

Allen received a scholarship offer from the Syracuse basketball staff in late April of this year. Link, by the way, won the high school national title in 2023. This past term, the Lions went 26-7 overall, were a top-five national team, and reached the semifinals of the 2024 Chipotle Nationals.

One of Cenac's teammates on the Link roster in 2024-25 will be Jerry Easter II, who also recently moved to the Lions for his senior year. Easter, a 2025 four-star combo guard, has a Syracuse basketball offer, and I was recently told that he remains interested in visiting the Orange program.

Cenac is in the midst of suiting up for the USA Basketball U17 national team at the 2024 FIBA World Cup, which is scheduled to take place through July 7 in Istanbul. Also on this roster is Jordan Smith Jr., a 2026 five-star shooting guard who picked up a 'Cuse offer in May of 2023 and has heard from the Syracuse basketball staff since the contact period opened for his class on June 15.

Shortly after the Orange offered Cenac, top 247Sports analyst Mike McAllister had a piece that noted there have been discussions about Cenac potentially taking a visit to the Hill at some point. That would be critical to the team's chances to possibly win out in his recruitment.

Following the latest 2025 rankings update from 247Sports, he jumped more than 30 spots to No. 15 overall., after its refresh for this cycle, moved up Cenac 21 spots to No. 16 nationwide. He is rated as high as No. 6 nationally by On3.

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