The Syracuse basketball team may only have two recruits in the 2014 class, but head coach Jim Boeheim is building a powerful 2015 group.
Syracuse already has four commits in the 2015 class. Boeheim has, per ESPN's ratings, one 5-star recruit and three 4-star prospects. Malachi Richardson is the prize of the class, and he is joined by Moustapha Diagne, Tyler Lydon and Franklin Howard.
Even though those four players plus the underclassmen currently on the roster would make for a full squad, Boeheim hasn't stopped trying to lure more players. Syracuse is still in the mix for Thomas Bryant, a 5-star center out of Rochester, and Derrick Jones, a 5-star forward from Philadelphia.
So how is Boeheim going to attract these players when there is currently no room for them on the team? It will be a tough sell, but Boeheim and his crew can still coax a commitment out of one or both of these players. Let's look at how Boeheim can sell them on Syracuse.
Thomas Bryant: Playing Time Early and Often
Since the hometown connection is obvious, there is no need to try to sell Bryant on that. But there is another way Boeheim could lure Bryant home. Syracuse is already at the top of Bryant's list anyway.
By 2015, there could be very few big men in the Syracuse rotation. Rakeem Christmas is a senior. Chris McCullough could turn into a one-and-doner. And there's still no telling when, or even if, DaJuan Coleman will recover from his injuries.
All that would have to happen would be for McCullough to make the jump to open a spot for Bryant. Unless Coleman is back near full health, Bryant would only be competing with former teammate Chinonso Obokoh for time at center. That will give Bryant plenty of opportunity to get on the floor and show what he can do.
Derrick Jones: He Can Be the Centerpiece of Explosive Transition Attack
A high-powered offense? In Syracuse? That seems like a fantasy right now, but there are players coming in who can make that fantasy a reality.
Kaleb Joseph is an athletic attacking point guard, and his skill set lends itself perfectly to pushing the ball up the floor. Trevor Cooney will be a senior in 2015, and assuming he keeps improving and is a Gerry McNamara-esque sharpshooter by then, he will lure defenders to the wing in transition. Toss in Richardson's potential shooting ability, and the paint can be wide open.
Enter Jones, who could use his tremendous athletic ability to fill the lane and get baskets close to (and above) the rim.
Jones would probably be competing with Tyler Roberson, Michael Gbinije and others for forward minutes. But his elite athletic ability could help him earn at least a share of the minutes. It would be hard to keep him off the floor if he is jumping over people.
Syracuse already has an impressive recruiting class lined up for 2015. If the chips fall the right way and Boeheim puts on the full-court press with these players, he could easily bring either of them into the fold.
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