With Joe Girard potentially out the door at the end of the season as well as the uncertainty of both the transfer portal AND someone getting drafted, it’s imperative that Syracuse is active in recruiting guards. The good news is that there is an incredibly deep group of guards for the Orange to choose from. The bad news is that the competition for these guards is going to be fierce. With that in mind, it’s pertinent to narrow the targets down. Here are a few guards SU would be crazy to not make a serious pursuit after.
Why not? The top overall player in the class is from New Jersey. Not a horribly long trip, is it? Yes, it’s far-fetched. Yes, Wagner will be the toughest player to land in the entire class. But this is the first time a point guard has topped ESPN’s rankings since Brandon Jennings back in 2008. 15 years. It’s gonna be tough, but don’t think there’s hope. Syracuse is one of the five schools 24/7 has listed on Wagner’s recruiting profile. The others are Kentucky, Louisville, Memphis, and Temple, with the two schools in the Bluegrass State listed as frontrunners. Just imagine if Wagner picks Louisville. Going up against him once, maybe even twice a year would be absolutely brutal. So go after him! Pluck Wagner away from the Cardinals, making a conference foe weaker and making your team MUCH stronger.
Aden Holloway/Jaylen Curry
The reason Holloway and Curry are paired together is that Syracuse can kill two birds with one stone in recruiting these two. Both are from the Charlotte area AND they played on the same AAU team (the team also featured #5 overall recruit Robert Dillingham). By the way, that AAU team was Chris Paul’s. Reckon you’ve heard of him. Jim Boeheim’s brass has already offered Holloway. ESPN lists the competition as Arizona State, Creighton, LSU, Notre Dame, and Virginia Tech. Sure, the Blue Jays, Hokies, and Fighting Irish have all had recent success, but none of those programs carry the same name that Syracuse does. If SU wants to increase its odds of landing Holloway, why not make a run at Curry? One of them, let alone both would make the Orange’s backcourt much more dynamic. By the way, the only Power Five schools that have offered Curry are Florida State, Pitt, and Ole Miss. None of them scream basketball school like Syracuse does.
Johnson is another New Jersey kid, coming at #95 in ESPN’s rankings. If you can’t get any of the above three players, Johnson isn’t too shabby either. Right now, Creighton, DePaul, St. John’s, Memphis, and VCU are the schools listed on 24/7. There isn’t exactly a favorite among them right now, so there is an opening for the Orange to take. Go take it. Wagner, Holloway, and Curry are going to be a lot tougher to pull off, so why not have a backup plan? And backup plan certainly does not have a negative connotation in this case, considering how talented Johnson is. And even if SU can nab one of those three, imagine Johnson pairing with him in the backcourt? The competition isn’t exactly elite. Go get it done.
It’s no secret that SU’s Class of ’22 is held in very high regard. A lackluster Class of ’23 would not help get this program back on the map and back to the state it was in during the Big East Glory Days. Another strong recruiting season would get this program on the right track, and any of the above guards would bolster it tremendously. These are the guys to focus on.