Over the course of the summer, Jim Boeheim and his staff have begun looking ahead to 2019, with offers going out to a number of talented prospects. While there have been some offers extended to post players, like Aidan Igiehon, Kofi Cockburn, and most recently Jon Bol Ajak, it’s also become pretty clear that the main focus for the class could wind up being the wing positions.
Syracuse is hoping to lock up an elite point guard in the 2018 cycle, preferably Jalen Carey, who would then join Frank Howard and Howard Washington on next year’s roster. After that, with Washington and Carey (or another point guard) in the mix, there’s no pressing need at that position in 2019, despite the fact that Syracuse will no doubt continue to pursue combo guard Jalen Lecque. It’s important to note, as well, that Lecque was originally a member of the class of 2018 and could become the primary point guard target for this year’s class if the Orange miss out on Carey… assuming he’d be willing to reclassify back into his original class.
Meanwhile, on the interior the Orange have a plethora of young talent, with both Marek Dolezaj (who arrived in Syracuse this weekend) and Oshae Brissett, along with Matt Moyer, giving Boeheim the ability to be pretty flexible at the two forward positions. Bourama Sidibe provides a big, athletic body down low, though right now things appear to be a bit up in the air with Taurean Thompson’s future at Syracuse.
Tyus Battle will almost certainly go pro this year, and even if he doesn’t, it’s highly unlikely he’ll come back for a junior season. That would leave Syracuse with one true shooting guard on the roster in Elijah Hughes. Now, shooting guard hasn’t been much of a priority in the 2018 cycle, in large part because it seems inevitable that Buddy Boeheim will be added to this year’s class. Louis King could also be in the mix if there’s room in the class, and the talented New Jersey native is certainly capable of playing shooting guard at the next level, in addition to small forward.
But given the number of offers that have already gone out to wings in 2019, that appears to be a real concern area, in terms of depth, for the staff moving forward.
Among those who have received offers from Syracuse are 6-foot-4 Khalif Battle, 6-foot-7 Quincy Guerrier, 6-foot-6 Kahlil Whitney, and 6-foot-4 Brycen Goodine, not to mention the fact that the 6-foot-4 Lecque could just as easily come in as a scoring guard as a point guard. That’s not to mention strong early interest from Syracuse in players like Ismael Massoud, Isaiah Wong, and Kamari Williams, among others. And while it hasn’t happened yet, it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see the Orange attempt to get in the mix for top 25 wing forward Precious Achiuwa, who plays at the same high school that sent Sidibe to CNY.
For the most part, one of the things that links the players mentioned, who have received offers at the wing position, is a combination of athleticism and their ability to stretch the floor. Battle and Guerrier, in particular, are two high volume outside shooters, and Goodine is an explosive athlete who has become internet-famous for his rim-rocking dunks (and so too, for that matter, has Lecque).
Of course, with Guerrier measuring in at 6-foot-7 while Battle is 6-foot-4 (for now), it’s easy to imagine both players stepping out onto the court at the same time, alongside Carey. That’d give the Orange one heck of an athletic and offensively talented group at the guard/wing positions.
It’s too early to tell which players will emerge as the favorites to wind up in Syracuse’s class of 2019, though obviously Battle seems most likely to be a high priority given the fact that his big brother is currently set to be the team’s star player this season. But make no mistake, the Orange are clearly looking to build up depth on the perimeter in next year’s recruiting class.