Syracuse Basketball: Updates on Orange's Top 2014 Recruits

Justin NeumanContributor IIJanuary 15, 2014

Jul 13, 2013; North Augusta, SC, USA; Team Scan player Chris McCullough (5) dunks the ball against the Mac Irvin Fire during the Nike Peach Jam at the Riverview Park Activities Center. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

With the improvement of Jerami Grant and Tyler Ennis on almost a daily basis, Syracuse basketball fans are beginning to wonder what life will be like after those players are gone. Based on how they have played so far, that day could come sooner rather than later.

Add that to the fact that C.J. Fair and Baye Keita are both seniors, and this team could have a vastly different look come August.

Ennis didn't have much draft hype coming into the season, but by leading the Orange to a 17-0 record and a No. 2 national ranking, his stock has been "shooting up the charts," according to Brent Axe of

One NBA scout Axe talked to said he would "prefer (Ennis) stay in school until next year."

As would Syracuse fans.

If he continues his stellar play and projects as a lottery pick, though, Ennis might make the leap.

We all know what Grant is capable of. All of Axe's cited projections have the sophomore as a sure first-round pick.

With two—possibly even three or fourbig-time contributors leaving at the end of the season, who is going to step in and take their places? Here's an update on the recruits Jim Boeheim has on deck in the class of 2014.


Kaleb Joseph

Boeheim must have known what he had in Ennis far earlier than everyone else did because he wasted no time trying to lock up Ennis' eventual successor.

Joseph, a 6'3" point guard out of New Hampshire, is the 47th-ranked prospect, according to ESPN.

After signing his letter of intent in November, Joseph is officially committed to the Orange.

Joseph displays good handling skills and plenty of athleticism to drive the lane and finish strong at the rim. He has also shown a smooth mid-range shooting touch.

Joseph told Donna Ditota of that the pull-up jumper is his "bread and butter" and that he has to hit threes more consistently "to be the most impactful."

Ditota wrote that Syracuse assistant coach Mike Hopkins said Joseph is a "fast, explosive athlete who approximates Kemba Walker's speed at the point guard spot."

That would be the same Kemba Walker that just about single-handedly carried UConn to a national title in 2011.

The point guard position looks to be in capable hands if and when Ennis decides to move on to the next level.


Chris McCullough

At 6'10" and 220 pounds, Chris McCullough is the biggest Syracuse recruit—in more ways than one. He is ranked 16th in the ESPN 100, and he signed his letter of intent on the same day as Joseph.

Syracuse fans may already know a little bit about McCullough, as he made news for being kicked out of his former prep school, Brewster Academy, for a violation of school rules.

McCullough has since found a new school and appears to be on track to be eligible when he arrives on Syracuse's campus. Ditota reported in December that McCullough's new home is IMG Academy in Florida. McCullough told Ditota he was "not worried at all" about being able to complete all of the necessary coursework required by the NCAA.

His change of scenery hasn't affected his play on the court.

According to ZagsBlog, McCullough is averaging 22 points and nine rebounds per game since his transfer. In a recent game against Elev8 Sports Academy, McCullough put up 29 points, nine rebounds, four assists and four blocks.

Talk about stuffing the stat sheet.

McCullough told ZagsBlog he is "working on every little piece" of his game and "getting better every day, playing more aggressive and harder."

His long, athletic frame fits the bill of a prototypical player in the Syracuse zone. He is a bit lean right now, but he will surely add bulk when he gets some weight training with Syracuse.

That appears to be the complete 2014 recruiting class for the Orange. With four other freshmen—including one redshirton the roster besides Ennis, there wasn't a lot of room for many players in next year's class. All of the other players that Syracuse offered scholarships to have signed elsewhere.

Regardless of whether or not Ennis and Grant stick around, the future looks bright for the Orange. And if Ennis gives it one more season, this team will be a mainstay in the talk of the best teams in the nation.


Justin Neuman is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @JustinNeuman10