Item: Has the consistency of top flight recruiting classes ever been greater in the Boeheim era?
The terrific website Verbal Commits lays out the complete roster timeline of major college basketball programs. There’s a graph listing current four year eligibility cycles by academic class for scholarship players and walk-ons by position, along with a three year recruiting tracker of players who have either signed letters of intent, given verbal commitments, have been offered a scholarship, or remain among the players a school is pursuing.
With the SU coach now settling into his eight man rotation which loses two scholarship players (C.J. Fair and Baye Moussa Keita) and perhaps one to two others (Jerami Grant) after the season, there’s the three talented freshmen (B.J. Johnson, Ron Patterson and Tyler Roberson) who’s minutes have come almost exclusively in non-spotlighted games so far, and a fourth, big man Chinonso Obokoh, who’s likely to officially redshirt this season.
Add next year’s two highly rated recruits F Chris McCullough and PG Kaleb Joseph who’ve signed letters of intent, along with last week’s verbal commitment from N.J. junior elite SG prospect Malachi Richardson who joins Hudson Valley native PF Tyler Lydon in the 2015 class, and the current recruitment of HS sophomores, it’s clear that the influx of talent is not going to dissipate in the eventual Boeheim-to-Mike Hopkins transition which is likely to occur somewhere during the period that these last two classes of scholarship players are on campus.
Sure, there have been some pretty talented rosters and consecutive year periods of success when you review the Boeheim years, the 1990 team that lost in the Sweet 16 to Minnesota had six future NBA players, and the 1987 national runners-up had four that played in the NBA. The 2003 national championship team might have had just two future NBAers, but obviously had enough collective talent to win it all, while the 2010 team had five future NBA players, yet will always be known for the “what if” question surrounding the availability of center Arinze Onuaku who missed the NCAA Tournament with a severe knee injury.
Off back-to-back seasons of making the Elite Eight and Final Four while sending five players to the NBA in the process, currently (as of Dec. 18) one of 14 unbeaten Div. I teams and ranked second for a second straight week, and with the future of the program filled with the prospect of the highest level of scholastic talent, the last chapters of Boeheim’s coaching tenure might just incredibly be the most victorious of all.Brad Bierman