It had been awhile since Syracuse basketball has landed a class of 2019 commitment, with Brycen Goodine picking the Orange more than a year ago on September 13, 2017. Today, however, Syracuse picked up its second 2019 commit in John Bol Ajak.
The 6-foot-10 center, originally from the Sudan, picked Syracuse over offers from Pittsburgh, VCU, UConn, Georgetown, Wake Forest, Villanova, and Seton Hall, among others. With his length and slender frame, he’s extremely reminiscent of a lot of Syracuse’s more recent centers, including Baye Keita and Bourama Sidibe – at least from a physical standpoint.
I got a chance to watch Ajak play against James Wiseman, arguably the top player in 2019, back in April. I wrote about that here, but a quick summation…
Ajak isn’t going to be ready to contribute on day one without a huge jump in either skill or muscle, but he’s a kid who I like as a long-term prospect. He’s long, he can block shots, and he’s got the makings of a capable face-up scorer on the offensive end. His shot is far from perfect, but it also looks decent enough that you don’t cringe when he hoists up a three pointer (I saw him take one three in the game I watched, and while it didn’t go in, his release was good enough to make me believe he can become a capable midrange scorer).
With Goodine and Ajak both on board, the Orange have locked in a high quality combo guard and the type of shot-blocking center Jim Boeheim likes to put in the middle of his zone. Next up, we should be hearing decisions from Joseph Girard and Quincy Guerrier in the near future, and right now, push comes to shove, I’d be willing to bet Syracuse lands both. This is shaping up to be a really nice class, assuming the rest of the dominos fall into place.