Syracuse University’s 2014-2015 season may have taken a major hit following the self-imposed postseason ban, but that certainly doesn’t mean that Jim Boeheim and the Orange are slowing down on the recruiting trail anytime soon. We caught up with SU hoops recruiting guru Dean Francis to talk about some current Orange targets, and some additional names to keep an eye out for as we head into the summer AAU and camp circuits.
OG: The top target in 2016 has always seemed to be Tyus Battle, but the chances of landing Kid Mamba seem to be fading lately. What’s your take on the situation?
DF: From what I understand we were in the top tier of his choices heading into the new year. Obviously with the NCAA drama hanging over the program head, that could lead to a lot of questions and uncertainty. Recently Battle’s father didn’t mention SU in an interview, which got a lot of fans nervous, but I wouldn’t read much into that because not every prospect, parent, or coach is going to get into full details about every school on the list. Plus, JB calling Gary Battle ASAP right after the announcement of the postseason ban to let him know that it won’t effect them, is a good indicator that we’re still one of the main schools in consideration.
OG: If Battle isn’t an option after all, who does Syracuse shift its focus to? Is Jamal Murray still an option at all, if he doesn’t reclassify to 2015?
DF: Other options in 2016 at the guard position that the staff has shown interest in include top ten guard Kobi Simmons from Georgia, Howard Washington, originally from Buffalo but now at Montverde Academy in Florida, and Tony Carr, a sleeper from Philly is another option and it’s worth noting that he plays on the Team Final AAU team that has produced Dion Waiters, Rak Christmas, Trevor Cooney, and Malachi Richardson for SU.
Unfortunately Jamal Murray, a personal favorite of mine, is not really an option at this point. He’s being recruited as a 2015 player by all schools seriously involved now. At the moment schools like Oregon, Mizzou, and Michigan State look to have the advantage for his services.
OG: What’s your overall feel for the McDonald’s picks? Were there any big snubs? How do you think our boy Malachi is going to do in that sort of a setting?
DF: I thought the selection committee for the McDonald’s game did a good job on their picks. No real major snubs but a player that I really like name Donovan Mitchell, who will be a huge problem for us over the next few years heading to Louisville, was worthy of a selection in my opinion. Our boy Malachi should do well in that setting since the game is all about two things: jacking up as many threes as you can and throwing down multiple rim rocking dunks. Malachi most definitely can do the first option well and showcase his unlimited range.
OG: Looking ahead a little bit more, what are you hearing about the recruitment of guys like Harry Giles in 2016 and in 2017, Jordan Tucker?
DF: Harry Giles recently listed SU among the main five schools recruiting him the hardest along with UK, KU, Duke, and UNC. My percentage of landing him is still at 10% and maybe even less with the potential of a few scholarship losses over the next few years.
Jordan Tucker’s recruitment is still in the early stages but assistant Gerry McNamara was in attendance at one of his games last week. He’ll definitely be on the staffs high priority list over the next few years.
OG: Speaking of 2017, apart from Tucker, who’s the prospect you’re most excited about potentially wearing Orange? What do you like about him?
DF: The 2017 prospect that I’m really hoping wears Orange is Trevon Duval. Duval is that highly talented and explosive guard that ‘Cuse fans have loved, along the lines with Jonny Flynn, Dion Waiters, and MCW over recent years. He can play either guard position and score from all three levels. He was recently offered by the staff right before the new year.
Check out this highlight mix of Duval to get a feel for his game:
OG: Any other news and notes you want to get into?
DF: Look for 2016 commit Matt Moyer to put in a lot of work during the spring and summer circuit and to continue developing his game and filling his body out to get stronger. Same goes for our 2017 Nottingham buddy Malik Zachery, as big things are expected from him during the circuit as well. Hopefully we can get some closure soon on this NCAA drama, so we can figure out the scholarship numbers situation moving forward and to get a better read on how many players we can fill out a class with.