By Dean Francis
With the 2011-2012 season being complete, it's now time for the SU basketball staff to turn their attention to recruiting. Starting with the 2013 class all the way to 2015, we will fill you in on who the staff is targeting and where everything currently stands in their recruitment.
Starting with the guards in 2013, leading the way is point guard Tyler Ennis. Ennis is listed at 6-2 175lb, and is currently one of the main players that the staff hopes to land in this class. Ennis has already visited SU for their midnight madness and against UConn back in February. Outside of SU, Ennis has strong interest from Kansas, Arizona, Louisville, and Georgia Tech among others. Next on the list is point guard Jaylen Brantley. Brantley was offered by SU last summer and mentioned that they were one of his favorites. He was only 5'9 at the time and didn't seem to resemble a prototypical SU guard, but Brantley has grown 3 inches since and is currently 6'0. The other offers that he currently holds are from Georgetown, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Virginia. Shooting guard Stanford Robinson has been on the radar for SU assistant Red Autry for over the past year. Robinson currently attends Paul VI and is a member of the AAU powerhouse Team Takeover. Both are former programs that Autry used to coach for. Robinson has interest from the majority of the ACC but it will be interesting to see if Syracuse turns up the heat for him this spring and summer. Hakim Saintil, Anthony "Cat" Barber, and Dayshon Smith are other quality guards to keep an eye on moving forward as well. Saintil has been watched by the staff recently, Barber listed SU in his recent top 5, and Smith is supposed to be watched by SU and a host of others in the weeks coming up.
Moving on now to the forwards and centers that SU has shown interest in for 2013. Leading the way is the multi-skilled 6'6 wing Rondae Jefferson. Jefferson has impressive ball handling skills for his size and certain schools are recruiting him as a point guard. Most of the schools in the PA area such as Villanova, Pitt, and Temple have made Jefferson a big priority on their list along with SU. Next up is big man BeeJay Anya, who is currently listed at 6'8 250lb with an amazing 7'9 wingspan. He's a teammate and close friend of 2012 SU commit Jerami Grant. Anya has offers from a bunch of schools but the word is that both SU and Indiana stands out. Power forward Goodluck Okonoboh has been on the SU radar for some time now. He was offered late last spring and has visited the campus several times already. Okonoboh also holds offers from Pitt, Providence, and Minnesota. It will be interesting to see how he plays moving forward without long time teammate Nerlens Noel by his side. Tyler Roberson, an inside-out combo forward has been watched by the staff for over the past year. SU joins the long list with Kansas, Louisville, Pitt, and South Carolina who have all expressed major interest in landing the talented forward. Chinonso Obokoh, Malik Price-Martin, Antravious Simmons, and Ishmail Wainwright are some of the other notable names that the staff has on their radar as well. Keep an eye on Wainwright, as SU has been showing a lot of interest in him as of late.
We now move on to the 2014 class which is looking to be very deep in high quality talent. Leading things off is power forward Noah Vonleh. The SU staff has been very high on Vonleh and were one of the first high-majors to recruit him. Vonleh was originally part of the 2013 class and with how high his stock is currently, it won't be a surprise if he ends up reclassifying back to his original year. Next on the list is the skilled big man Dakari Johnson. Johnson is listed at 6'11 263lb, enough size already to be a good anchor for the zone. He stated last summer that SU was recruiting him the hardest. SU currently has competition from Kentucky, Florida, and Georgetown for his services. Power forward Chris McCullough presents the athleticism, length, and size that SU craves. SU and St. John's were the first two schools to offer him early. Since then UConn, Florida, Rutgers, Providence, and more have done the same. Shooting guard Isaiah Whitehead from Lincoln high in Brooklyn, has mentioned that SU is a favorite of his very often. Landing high profile players from Lincoln has never worked out in SU's favor, which makes it very interesting to see how things play out in this department. Combo guard JaQuan Newton is another skilled talent from Philly that the staff has kept their eye on. Newton currently attends Neumann-Goretti, the former high school of Scoop Jardine and Rick Jackson. He currently holds offers from Villanova, Temple, Georgetown, and Miami (FL) among others. Small forward Dwayne Morgan from Baltimore, is a high level prospect that the staff has kept tabs on since the end of last summer. High interest in Morgan is also coming from Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Clemson. PG Johnnie Vassar, PG Wade Baldwin, SG Phil Booth, SF Andrew Wiggins, SF Shaqquan Aaron, and SF Theo Pinson are some of the other notable names that are on the SU radar as well.
Last but not least we move towards a preview of the prospects who have caught the eye of the staff in the early goings for 2015. At top of the list is combo guard Isaiah Briscoe. Briscoe is the younger Brother of SU Woman's basketball player Iasia Hemingway. He has visited the campus a few times already and at one point was ready to make a commitment to the Orange, but his family thought it was best for him to hold off and take his time before making a decision. Besides SU, Briscoe already has an impressive list of offers which include Arizona, Baylor, Cincinnati, Rutgers, and Seton Hall among others. Rochester's own Bishop Kearney Freshman Thomas Bryant has a very bright future ahead of him. Jim Boeheim has personally gone to see him and his teammate Chinonso Obokoh several times this past season. Bryant's stock will continue to be on the rise with the more exposure he gets on the AAU/Summer camp circuit. Karl Towns is a center with plenty of impressive skills at this point. Towns has already drawn interest from most of the Big East and National Champions Kentucky have also joined the club as well. A trio of teammates from the Team Takeover program have already sparked an interest from the SU staff. Power forward Marcus Derrickson, point guard Bryant Crawford, and shooting guard Franklin Howard are some of the young talent to look out for in the years to come.