In under a week, the early signing period for college basketball recruiting will be underway. Finally, we should start to get a real sense of what the 2017 class for the Syracuse Orange will look like, with several of Jim Boeheim and company’s targets looking to make an early decision.
Chief among those is Quade Green, who has said all along that he plans on deciding early. Of course, yesterday Green tweeted that he would be making his commitment on November 19, which gave more than a few people a bit of pause.
See, the 19th is three days after the signing period – which runs from the 9th to the 16th – ends. The gut reaction for a lot of folks is that this means Green won’t be signing early, though that’s not necessarily the case. It’s hard to fathom in this day and age, but it’s possible that he’s hoping to sign by the 16th and then keep his decision a secret until he gets the chance to announce it publicly at his school’s Midnight Madness event.
Syracuse and Kentucky remain the frontrunners for Green’s services, and the continued hope is that Trae Young will just end the suspense already and pick the Wildcats. That would all but seal up Green to the Orange.
Another factor in Green’s recruitment is the potential snowball effect his commitment could have on whichever school he chooses. The prevailing thought all along has been that a lot of top prospects are intrigued by the idea of playing alongside the gifted playmaker, who you may recall averaged more than 10 assists-per-game during the EYBL season. That’s a pretty spectacular statistic considering the format.
But while Green’s announcement coming after the signing period has already concluded may seem like it could hinder Syracuse’s chances at landing other top prospects, that’s not really the case. Look at who Syracuse is going after, for instance, and the ties some of them have to Green.
First, there’s Hami Diallo, who recently tweeted out a top six that included Syracuse. I still think the explosive 6-foot-6 wing winds up going to the NBA this spring, but for now he’s been pretty insistent that he’d like to give college ball a try before turning pro. Word also came out from ESPN that Green could potentially play a big role in Diallo’s decision…
Not a "package deal" by any stretch but continuing to hear lot of buzz that Hamidou Diallo would love to play with Quade Green at next level— Adam Finkelstein (@AdamFinkelstein) November 2, 2016
That tweet came not too long after this one…
Source close to Hamidou Diallo told me to keep an eye on Syracuse and Arizona.— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) November 1, 2016
Now, Arizona is basically out as a destination for Green. Syracuse and Kentucky are by far the two biggest frontrunners, and it’s really not even close. If Diallo truly wants to play with Green at the next level, that bodes well for the Orange. And Green’s announcement coming after the early signing period won’t impact Diallo’s decision, since he’s waiting until the spring anyway.
Next, we’ve got Mo Bamba, arguably the top player in the class. I’m just going to spare you: Mo Bamba isn’t coming to Syracuse. But the bright side is, he’s not making a decision until the spring, either. So even if he does decide to take a harder look at the Orange moving forward, Green’s late-ish early decision won’t hinder that particular recruitment.
The only other players Syracuse is really actively pursuing who will likely make early decisions are Oshae Brissett, Bourama Sidibe, Nick Richards, and Lonnie Walker.
Brissett is probably going to pick Syracuse. I’m more confident that he wears orange than any other player in this class right now. So Quade’s decision timetable won’t impact him. Sidibe is in the same boat, and will be taking his official visit to Syracuse next weekend. Right now, I’m kind of expecting him to leave campus signed, sealed, and delivered as the second member of Syracuse’s class.
Richards, meanwhile, has Syracuse among his top few choices but at the moment, Kentucky seems like the leader in the clubhouse. Right now, I’d be pretty stunned if Richards winds up anywhere but in Lexington.
Finally, that brings us to Lonnie Walker. The 6-foot-5 guard from Philadelphia has indicated he wants to sign early, with his top choices including Syracuse, Arizona, Villanova, and Kentucky. A friend with some strong connections has been saying that Villanova is out. Syracuse remains heavily involved, but all indications are that this is Arizona’s battle to lose.
Which is odd, obviously. Arizona already has a couple of wings committed, including former SU target Brandon Randolph. They’re also still actively involved with Hami Diallo, because apparently Sean Miller wants every guard in the country this year. But here’s the thing: if Walker picks Arizona, that helps Syracuse tremendously. If Zach Braziller’s tweet up there is to be believed, the Orange and the Wildcats are running out front for Diallo.
If the Wildcats add Walker, you would have to believe they’d be done at the guard position. They’ve already got four commitments overall, so Walker would be the fifth. They’re already in a position where they’re going to need players to leave to open up spots for the guys they’ve already got committed. They’re also still actively pursuing players like Nick Richards, and another wing, Brian Bowen.
In any event, in about two weeks we’re going to have a much clearer picture of where Syracuse’s recruiting class is headed. I haven’t even gotten to someone like Jordan Tucker, who remains on Syracuse’s radar but has also indicated he’ll decide in the spring, which works out best for both parties since the Orange have backed off a bit but are still keeping an eye on the 6-foot-7 shooter.
I also haven’t mentioned Billy Preston, either, who’s sent some mixed signals about when he’ll decide but, at this point, will probably wait until the spring (and USC appears to be the frontrunner by a pretty wide margin here). He’s focusing on four schools, though, and one of those schools is Syracuse, so the Orange will remain vigilant in
Brissett, Sidibe, Green. That’s my prediction for the Syracuse recruiting class by the time November 20 rolls around.