Oh hello there! Did you miss us? No? You mean you didn’t even realize we were gone? Well fine, just pretend like nothing special was happening between us, if that’s how you want to play it. Anyway, let’s just pretend this thing never happened and get on with the important stuff: Syracuse sports. Specifically, let’s talk a little bit about the peculiar situation playing out in the hoops recruiting class of 2016.
Jim Boeheim already has one commit in the class of 2016 with Matt Moyer, a 6-8 swingman from Ohio, and the Orange are in the running for some heavy hitters including Harry Giles – thought by many to be the best big man in the class – but the most intriguing situation involves a couple of guards. Namely, Jamal Murray and Tyus Battle.
Battle is a 6-foot-6, 195 pound wing player from New Jersey who calls himself Kid Mamba, so you can probably guess the player he models himself after. He’s a big, physically gifted kid who basically every major program in the country is chasing, and Syracuse has been in the mix pretty much from the start.
Murray, on the other hand, is a 6-foot-4, 193 pound combo guard from Canada who is a volume scorer and can be a strong passer when he wants, though the book on Murray is that he looks for his own shot first and foremost. He’s been a big fan of Syracuse for awhile, but he is still awaiting an offer from the Orange. So what’s the hold up? After all, Syracuse has had some pretty good success with kids from Canada of late, and clearly Canadian basketball is on the rise.
The issue, by all accounts, is Battle. Specifically, Battle’s dad. Several different people have told us that Battle’s father doesn’t want any competition at the same spot his son will be playing, wherever he goes, so right now the Orange appear to be in a bit of a holding pattern with Murray as they await Battle’s decision. Remember that this is all speculation, but we’ve heard it from multiple people so we’re inclined to believe it.
The peculiar thing is that, really, there’s no reason that Battle and Murray couldn’t join forces to form one of the most athletic and talented back courts in America. Mike Hopkins has a strong bond with Battle and his dad, however, hence why the Orange are so willing to wait to see what Kid Mamba does before they make an official offer to Murray. It’s a little bit frustrating since there are some people who think that Murray has nearly as high an upside as Battle, and if you wait too long to pull the trigger on an offer to Murray he could land elsewhere, meaning if Battle doesn’t choose the Orange the coaching staff will be scrambling for a plan C.
It’s a little strange saying plan C as well, considering that implies Murray is a plan B option. For most schools, Murray would be a high end plan A, but then again most schools are not Syracuse University, which has gotten back to the point of more or less being able to pick and choose its top targets.
Right now we will have to wait and see what happens with both Battle and Murray, but for now how about you take a little look at what a Syracuse plan B looks like while also finally admitting that damnit, you missed us and you’re just too embarrassed to say it:
QUICK UPDATE: We forgot to mention one very crucial thing in Murray’s recruitment, and that’s the fact that he plays his AAU ball for CIA Bounce. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because that’s the same AAU program that produced the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and yes, Tyler Ennis. Oh, and it’s coached by Tyler’s dad, Tony McIntyre. So there’s definitely an “IN” with Murray…if we ever decide to go ahead and put the full court press on the kid.
QUICK UPDATE PART II, UPDATE HARDER: It’s come to our attention that in the last couple days, rumors have begun swirling around the notion of Murray reclassifying to the class of 2015, which would be bad news for Syracuse since, assuming Thomas Bryant winds up at SU, there would simply be no room at the inn in this year’s recruiting class, meaning it’s all or nothing with Battle. Again, this is just an “IF” at this point, and Murray may stay in the class of 2016.