Syracuse basketball split the weekend recruiting doubleheader.
On the one hand, the Orange landed a huge commitment from a position of need, getting Illinois wing Alan Griffin. Griffin, who announced his commitment via Twitter on Sunday, is a 6-foot-5 wing, and will certainly help make up for the departure of Elijah Hughes to the NBA.
On the other, Syracuse also lost out on a recruit to Duke for a second time, with Columbia transfer Patrick Tape recommitting to Duke on Sunday (more on that below).
In just 18.4 minutes per game in his sophomore season, Griffin averaged 8.9 points and 4.5 rebounds on 48.3 percent shooting from the field and 41.9 percent from beyond the arc. Watch Stadium’s Jeff Goodman ranks Griffin as the No. 7 transfer that was in the portal.
The NCAA is taking up legislation to make players immediately eligible upon their first transfer rather than needing to sit out the mandatory year as in the past. But CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reports that the rule, if approved later this month, will not go into effect until the 2021-22 season, which means that Griffin would need to apply for a waiver to play in the next season.
As for the recruitment itself, Griffin picked Syracuse over interest from other schools like Dayton, Miami, Arizona, Texas and Iowa State. Griffin is familiar with the Orange, having played high school ball at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, NY.
“The main reason was that their plan matched mine,” Griffin said to the Post-Standard’s Mike Waters. “They were straight-forward (with) what needed to be done.”
But Syracuse also lost out on Tape to Duke for a second time, with reports on Sunday evening that Tape had rejoined the Blue Devils.
Originally, Tape committed to Duke over interest from Syracuse, USC and Maryland, among others, on March 24.
But on Friday, Tape had decommitted from the Blue Devils, and was back on the open market.
Syracuse was considered one of the favorites to land Tape after his decommitment, because he had only visited Syracuse and Maryland prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. But after thinking it over on Saturday, Tape called the Duke coaching staff and asked to recommit.
“I actually spoke with the Duke coaches again and they’ve agreed to let me join the team again,” Tape said to 247 Sports’ Evan Daniels.
Tape was considering Georgetown and Syracuse during his brief decommitment from the Blue Devils. Goodman ranked Tape as one of the best available big men on the market, and the No. 19 overall grad transfer.
Tape averaged 11.9 points and 5.9 rebounds on 66.7 percent shooting in the 2018-19 season. He sat out last year, and will become immediately eligible to play.
While Tape certainly would’ve bolstered Syracuse’s depth at center, the Orange already have three centers on the roster. Senior Bourama Sidibe averaged double-figure rebounds over the last six games of the season, playing his best basketball of his career.
John Bol Ajak is coming off his redshirt year, and will be eligible to play in the fall, and Jessie Edwards is also returning for his sophomore season after a promising freshman campaign.
Syracuse had much more of a need at wing with Hughes likely leaving for the NBA Draft, and they addressed that. In the end, Tape was a luxury, not a necessity.
The Orange finished 18-14 in the 2019-20 season, and won four of its last six games, including an 81-53 win over North Carolina in what turned out to be the final game of the ACC Tournament.