This won’t come as much of a surprise given the extremely fluid nature of Tyus Battle’s recruitment, but Syracuse University basketball target Alterique Gilbert announced this morning that he’ll play his college ball for Kevin Ollie and UConn. Gilbert was one of a few point guard prospects Syracuse was targeting after Battle initially committed to Michigan.
Five-star point guard Alterique Gilbert told ESPN he has committed to Connecticut.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) July 4, 2015
The 6-foot-1 Georgia native has been rapidly ascending the top 100 rankings, cracking the top 25 in ESPN’s list. For awhile, it looked like Syracuse was the favorite for the talented guard who has said he models himself at least in part after Jonny Flynn. But when Battle decommitted from the Wolverines and immediately took a visit to Central New York, all of the coaching staff’s eggs went firmly into Kid Mamba’s basket.
So where does this leave guard recruiting for 2016? At this point, it looks like it’s either Battle or Kevin Huerter, and the coaching staff would prefer a way to land both. Kobi Simmons is another option but speculation is that he’s not going to be deciding until sometime in early 2016, and the Orange almost certainly won’t wait that long to make a move and round out the 2016 class.
Battle is still taking his time in making his decision, with Gilbert’s selection of UConn potentially helping out the Orange. The Huskies were one of the last schools on Battle’s list that he hadn’t visited, and with Ollie picking up his 2016 point guard it should effectively eliminated UConn from the Battle sweepstakes. Louisville, Duke, and yes, even Michigan are probably the biggest threats to land Battle, outside of the Orange.
Ideally, Syracuse would be able to land Battle in 2016 and still find space for Kevin Huerter, the 6-foot-5 sharpshooter from Upstate New York. However, there almost certainly won’t be a place for him in 2016 unless Battle spurns the Orange for a second time. That means Syracuse will still be pushing for Huerter to go to prep school for a year and join the class of 2017. Huerter has already mentioned being open to that idea, but like Gilbert, he’s seen his profile skyrocket this spring and summer. If Battle does choose to go elsewhere, it’s a near certainty that Huerter would be the guard Syracuse goes hardest after for the class of 2016. If Battle commits to the Orange, however, they’ll go back to the original plan of trying to squeeze him into the class of 2017.
But enough about that. It’s the Fourth of July! Happy Birthday, America! I got you this: