Hey gang. It’s Monday morning, and we’re coming off a wacky week here in the US of A. With that in mind, it’s time to slip on your tinfoil hats and join me in reading way too much into some things that took place during Syracuse’s season opener against Colgate.
Let’s back up for a moment.
Syracuse’s top priority in the 2017 recruiting class is, and has been for quite some time, Quade Green. The 6-foot floor general from Neumann-Goretti is the prize of this recruiting cycle for Jim Boeheim and his staff, and the Orange are in good position to land him. But there’s been one element of concern of late, and that’s the fact that right now, chances are pretty good that the only other guard who looks likely to return for 2017-2018 is… a point guard.
Quade Green is often referred to as “Plan A” on social media, and I’m not just talking about Syracuse’s recruiting strategy – although he’s clearly Syracuse’s Plan A as well. But that’s more of a nickname for him, and it reflects his desire to be “the guy” with the ball in his hands.
Enter Frank Howard.
There’s been some concern among Syracuse fans that Green and Frank Howard may not be able to coexist, particularly since Howard has never shot the ball well enough to be able to play off the ball. Never mind the fact that Green is an elite shooter in his class; again, he wants to be a distributor and facilitator first. Remember, this is a kid who averaged double-digits in assists during this past EYBL season.
So what’s this hidden subplot I was referring to? Well, you may have noticed that on Friday night, Howard shared the backcourt with John Gillon. It wasn’t a lot of playing time, but it’s noteworthy because Gillon, like Green, is a smaller point guard who can stretch the floor and create for both himself and his teammates. Green was in attendance for the game, as well, and on hand to see that not only is Jim Boeheim willing to play two point guards together, but he’s willing to play Howard alongside a guy whose game is, in general, pretty similar to Green’s.
Is this “subplot” maybe a little bit of a stretch? Sure, it very well may be. But I still think it’s interesting that, a week before making his college decision, Green got a preview of how he and Frank Howard could complement each other in Syracuse’s system, up close and personal.
As far as the public knows, nothing is set in stone when it comes to Quade Green’s college decision. But the 5-star point guard from Philadelphia, who is set to announce his decision this Saturday at his school’s Midnight Madness event, sure seems like he’s going to choose the Orange.
Now, this hasn’t exactly been a mystery, at least in terms of Syracuse being the heavy favorites to land him throughout this cycle. Green is going to announce on November 19, but chances are high that he’ll have already signed his letter of intent by the November 16 early signing deadline, and the announcement of that signing will simply be delayed so that he can have his moment in front of friends and family and fans.
Adding more fuel to the fire that Green is likely headed to Syracuse is the fact that Shai Alexander pledged to Kentucky this morning, giving the Wildcats – who have been by far the biggest threat to snag Green – a point guard in the class of 2017. John Calipari is still in hot pursuit of Trae Young, as well. With one point guard already in the bag and another a very real possibility in the spring, it would seemingly eliminate Kentucky for a guy who wants the ball in his hands from day one.
We’ll find out for sure on Saturday, of course. The fact that Green made his surprise trip to Syracuse on Friday night is certainly one hell of a good sign, particularly with fellow former Neumann-Goretti and Syracuse point guard Scoop Jardine (who you’ll remember often shared the court with Brandon Triche, in another scenario where two point guards played side by side) sitting alongside him at the game. And it sure didn’t hurt that Green was able to see how two point guards can easily coexist in Boeheim’s offense, particularly as Howard’s offensive game expands and he shows some ability to play off the ball.
Like I said, until the announcement is actually made, we won’t know for sure… but it sure as hell seems like a foregone conclusion at this point that Quade Green will wear orange.