Orange Watch: Syracuse basketball begins compiling talent for Jim Boeheim’s successor

Jim Boeheim
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim reacts to a play in the first half. MANDATORY CREDIT: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports.

Item: Syracuse landed its most telephonic of the trio of recruits it has committed so far to the 2019 recruiting class, with Sunday evening’s announcement down the Thruway in Glens Falls from 6-2 combo guard Joe Girard III that he will continue his prolific basketball career (New York State’s all-time points leader) wearing orange for the Orange. Girard is the latest top talent that Jim Boeheim and his various staffs has landed over 43 years, and players in the ’19 class, if they use four years of eligibility, will likely be the first cross-over class playing for a head coach other than SU’s Hall of Famer during their ‘Cuse career.

From Roosevelt Bouie, Hal Cohen, Louis Orr, and the long forgotten Cliff Warwell, Boheim’s first class of newcomers and now up to the present, Joe Girard joins fellow ’19 class member, 6-4 guard Brycen Goodine (Barrington, R.I.), to form the future Orange backcourt.

» Related: Girard commits to Syracuse; Stewart takes official visit

The class also includes 6-11 center prospect John Bol Ajak (West Chester, Pa.), with prime frontcourt target 6-9 forward Isaiah Stewart (Rochester, N.Y.) having just completed his official visit while finishing his senior season playing scholastically in northern Indiana. There will be other additions to the roster depending on exactly how many scholarships are open next spring.

Boeheim’s successor will come from a small, select circle of candidates, all of whom will have a close connection to the program; making it interesting to see exactly how the recruiting classes to follow in 2020-21 will be constructed.

With the current zone defense and preferred balanced scoring inside and out, there will likely be few tweaks to the model of recruiting tall and rangy players that make the zone difficult for opponents to replicate in practice, especially with short preparation time, and a player or two each year that blossoms from the Syracuse experience and expands his playing time exponentially by his final season of eligibility.

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Brad Bierman
About Brad Bierman 537 Articles
Now in his fifth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.