When I made some predictions about the Syracuse basketball season, I didn't think one of them would be proven wrong in the first game. But there was Jerami Grant, occupying the bench in street clothes against Cornell on Friday night. Grant was serving a one-game suspension for violating an NCAA rule about summer league play.
Grant's situation is another recent example of Syracuse players being deemed ineligible for some reason or another. We already know about the issues James Southerland and Fab Melo had in the past.
Who would have thought this issue could extend to players who aren't even enrolled at Syracuse University yet?
McCullough (6'10", 220 lbs) is ranked as the No. 1 player in New York state and 16th overall by ESPN. He was booted from Brewster Academy in New Hampshire for what was deemed a "violation of school rules." McCullough was set to sign his letter of intent for Syracuse this week.
But now what?
One could make the case that McCullough is the best recruit Syracuse has landed since Carmelo Anthony. But if he is set back academically as he scrambles to find a new school, he may end up ineligible for next year's squad. That would be a big blow to a team that will lose C.J. Fair, Baye Keita and (possibly) Grant after this season.
Of course, McCullough has more than enough time to get his studies sorted out. Even if he misses, say, the last half of this semester and re-enrolls somewhere else next spring, he could use the summer to make up anything he missed. McCullough did seem confident he would land on his feet.
With so little information on the matter, it is hard to gauge how concerning this news is. If it turns out that McCullough committed a serious infraction and is having trouble getting into another school, 'Cuse Nation might start to sweat a bit. Syracuse has only one other 2014 commit: Kaleb Joseph, a 4-star point guard out of New Hampshire. If there is continued trouble with McCullough, it could all but ruin a promising recruiting class.
For now, we'll set the worryometer (patent pending) at a 2 and take a wait-and-see approach as more information becomes available. Besides, THIS season has only just begun.