This morning, Bud Poliquin’s column about Jim Boeheim mentioning that the 2015 recruiting class may be Boeheim’s “best ever” hit the web, and brought with it some tremendous optimism about the prospects who have committed to play for Syracuse beginning in the 2015-16 season. However, one little nugget that seemed to slip through the cracks may confirm that the class of four is actually a class of five, and the Orange will have to figure out a way to free up a scholarship to bring in that fifth player. So who is the apparent silent verbal? Well, we’ve got a pretty solid guess.
But before we get into that, let’s take a look at the quote that sparked this whole thing.
I will tell you that next year’s recruiting class will be the best that we’ve ever had here at Syracuse University. That’s next year’s class — 2015. We’ve got four guys (who’ve committed) and we’re getting another, but I can’t talk about that. It’s going to be a great recruiting class, and I think you’ll be excited about the future.
Hold on, Jimmy. Back up the truck for a second. Did you just casually reference a silent verbal and act like nothing happened? That’s all we can infer from “we’re getting another, but I can’t talk about that.” Is this a mere slip up by JB, or further evidence that the number of fucks he has to give is dwindling by the day?
Anyway, with that in mind let’s move on to who the fifth commit could possibly be. At this point, it comes down to either Derrick Jones or Thomas Bryant. Jones is an athletic but raw wing player, currently ranked as the No. 27 prospect in America by ESPN, while Bryant is a 6-foot-10 post guy who ESPN rates as the 10th best prospect in the country. Both guys pretty much have their pick of schools anywhere in the country.
And at this point, the evidence seems to be pointing to the probable silent verbal being Bryant. The stud forward from Rochester, who plays at Huntington Prep in West Virginia, was the subject of an article in the Post-Standard just two days ago, in which it was confirmed that Syracuse has been, and continues to be, his top choice. Not only that, but his own mother doesn’t even know who else is on the list for her son. No, seriously:
Linda Bryant said her son wants to take the NCAA’s five allotted official campus visits.
“Syracuse is one,” she said. “He hasn’t told me the other four.”
That’s about as strong an indication that he’s pretty much Syracuse’s to lose as possible. Of course, it all depends on the scholarship situation. As it stands right now, there’s no room at the inn for Bryant, with Malachi Richardson, Franklin Howard, Tyler Lydon, and Moustapha Diagne already committed. So how the hell do we squeeze in Bryant, a top 10 recruit right in our backyard at a position that’s always in need?
Either someone is going to be transferring, or someone is going pro early. We can probably cross upperclassmen like Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije off the list of possible early entrants, and barring something incredibly unforeseen, you can go ahead and add Buss Patterson, Tyler Roberson, and BJ Johnson to that list. Of those five, Gbinije and Roberson seem like the most likely, but neither one seems remotely ready to make that jump just yet. And unless DaJuan Coleman and his magic shoes come back healthier than ever, we just can’t see him being near ready to even think about going pro. Chino Obokoh can also be taken out of the equation.
So that basically leaves Kaleb Joseph and Chris McCullough as the only real, legitimate early entry prospects at this stage. The obvious choice would be McCullough, and that would be the easiest to take since we’ve got Diagne and, probably, Bryant coming in to fill that 4/5 spot. But don’t sleep on Joseph earning some long, hard looks from NBA scouts this season.
We don’t want to get into possible transfers, because openly speculating about which kids may leave is kind of a douchebag move, but it would not be a stretch to see a member of that sophomore class decide to take their talents elsewhere. Hopefully that’s not the case, and the scholarship will open up naturally because it turns out that either McCullough or Joseph, or hell, even Roberson or Gbinije, are just that damn good this season.
At the end of the day, Syracuse just continues to reload, and based on his comments to Poliquin, Jim Boeheim wants everyone to know that. The cheeky monkey.