The Peach Jam is nearly upon us, and with it some of the best young basketball players in America will descend upon Georgia from July 12-16 to compete in the biggest tournament of the summer. Plenty of Syracuse targets are going to be competing, so I figured I’d go ahead and let you know some of the games and teams to keep an eye on…
You can follow along with the action at D1Circuit.com, but for now let’s go pool-by-pool to get a feel for which SU targets are competing against which in the opening rounds of action.
Teams to Watch: Team Melo, E1T1 United, NY Lightning
Each of these squads has a player or two that has some Syracuse interest either in 2018 or 2019. Let’s start with Team Melo, which features 6-foot-11 post player Nate Roberts. At this point, if Syracuse is going to take a power forward or center-type as part of the 2018 class, Roberts appears to be the best bet to fill that spot.
He’s got great size and length, and has sprouted up a few inches over the past year or two, according to the folks at Brewster Academy (where he’ll be a teammate of Buddy Boeheim’s this year).
For E1T1 United, the Syracuse focus will be on swingman Antwann Jones. Jones is a 6-foot-6 shooting guard with the ability to play some small forward, and has a reputation as a shooter (despite some struggles on the EYBL circuit this spring and summer). It’s a pretty strong belief that, should Syracuse offer, Jones will likely jump at said offer and commit pretty closely thereafter.
New York Lightning is a team that’s got Syracuse paying attention for 2019, as it features 6-foot-10 post player Aidan Igiehon. Ingiehon is a guy who’s been blowing up a bit during this EYBL season, and now holds offers from the likes of Illinois, Oklahoma, Xavier, Texas A&M, and St. John’s in addition to Syracuse.
Roberts is currently sitting outside the top 100 on Scout and ESPN but comes in at No. 98 on the 247Sports list, Jones is No. 72 in Scout’s class of 2018, and Igiehon is rated by Scout as the No. 61 player in the class of 2019.
Teams to Watch: Mean Streets, BABC
Most of the reason to watch these two teams relates to players who have already committed. For Mean Streets, that’s Darius Bazley, the dynamic forward who pledged to the Orange recently. For BABC, it’s Cole Swider, who picked Villanova over the Orange, but who also has a teammate you may want to keep an eye on.
That’d be Dimon Carrigan, a 6-foot-9 center who’s unranked by ESPN, Scout, and 247 but whose profile has been soaring this summer as a top notch shot blocker and rebounder. Syracuse hasn’t offered Carrigan yet, but he does hold offers from teams like Georgia Tech, Houston, and South Florida, and will certainly be bringing in more attention as the year goes on.
Teams to Watch: Albany City Rocks, Playaz Club, Team Final
This is the big one for Syracuse fans to pay attention to, since it includes the “local team” in addition to teams featuring two of Syracuse’s biggest targets.
That local team is, of course, the Albany City Rocks – which features Buddy Boeheim, Mika Adams-Woods, Jeenathan Williams, and Isaiah Stewart, among a few other names you’ve probably heard if you pay much attention to upstate New York high school basketball.
The 6-foot-6 Williams is, at this point, likely more of a fallback option for Syracuse, but is a player to watch in 2018. He just recently picked up an offer from Virginia, in addition to already holding one from the Orange.
He also has offers from Minnesota, Marquette, NC State, Providence, Seton Hall, and Pittsburgh, among others. He’s a fierce competitor who can attack the rim and clean the glass, but right now his lack of a consistent perimeter game is likely what’s keeping him from being a higher priority for the Orange.
Stewart is the big name to watch for the class of 2019 for Syracuse. The 6-foot-8 bruising power forward is the best big man prospect from upstate New York since Thomas Bryant, and is ranked by Scout as the No. 37 player in the nation. He’s an absolute machine on the glass, and holds offers from Syracuse, Indiana, Tennessee, Wake Forest, and Georgia Tech, among others. He’s definitely the player to watch for Syracuse as it eventually turns its focus on the 2019 recruiting cycle. He’s coveted by the Orange, and losing him would be a big blow.
Speaking of important players, Playaz Club features perhaps the most important recruit of the 2018 cycle for the Orange: point guard Jalen Carey. The 6-foot-3 New Jersey native is the clear top priority at either guard position for Syracuse this cycle, and it’s easy to see why. He’s a long, athletic guard who can fill it up from deep and get to the rim and finish seemingly at will.
Syracuse faces stiff competition for Carey’s services, with UConn, Kansas, Florida, Indiana, Pitt, and Miami among those pursuing Scout’s No. 70 player in the class of 2018.
Finally, Team Final features a couple of the top players in the nation – most notably Cam Reddish, who I’m still sad to say is not an option for the Orange (if he winds up anywhere but Duke or Kentucky, it’ll be a monumental upset), but also Louis King, who I’ve written a little about before. Scout ranks King as the No. 12 player in the class of 2018, and he would be a massive recruiting victory for the Orange at the small forward position.
King will have just wrapped up playing with Team USA at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup, so it’ll be interesting to see how he fares – or even if he competes at all – given the rigorous schedule he’s currently facing abroad. The FIBA Gold Medal game is this Sunday (in Cairo, Egypt), with Peach Jam beginning just a couple days later.
Teams to Watch: CIA Bounce
Finally, we’ll wrap it up with just a couple more targets from 2019, along with a potential legacy walk-on for the Orange. Let’s start with the walk-on: Sam Rautins of CIA Bounce. Rautins is, like his brother Andy, a sharpshooter, though he’s not as big as Andy and his recruiting profile is smaller. Still, it wouldn’t be remotely surprising to see another Rautins on the roster in 2018, even as a walk-on.
One of his teammates with CIA Bounce, Quincy Guerrier, is a different story. The 6-foot-7 swingman is a long range threat who also has plenty of athleticism, and the Orange recently hosted him for an unofficial visit. Syracuse is probably the favorite for the 2019 prospect at the moment, though plenty can happen between now and when he ultimately gets to college in a couple years. Still, he’s an intriguing prospect with his combination of size, athleticism, and shooting.
Obviously, that’s not the extent of the high profile players competing at Peach Jam, and it’s likely not even all of the players Syracuse is, or will become involved with over the next year or two. But it’s a good starting point to direct your attention, should you feel inclined to check in on the box scores as the event unfolds next week.