The recruiting process of rapidly rising 2023 four-star big man Joseph Estrella perfectly illustrates how Syracuse basketball coaches are terrific at identifying talented high-school players early on before their offer sheets and national rankings blow up.
Unfortunately for the Orange, though, at least in recent years, the bevy of these top-flight prospects offered by the ‘Cuse early on end up picking other schools.
It’s the nature of recruiting, particularly for the Orange in recent seasons, when the team has seen its recruiting efforts dip on a national scale.
In the case of the 6-foot-11 Estrella, his first scholarship offer came from Syracuse basketball last August the squad’s annual Elite Camp. Ever since, it seems that the ‘Cuse has recruited him hard, and Estrella always speaks positively about the Orange program in interviews.
It’s critical for Syracuse basketball to get Joseph Estrella on an official visit to the Hill.
Last summer, around the time of his offer from the ‘Cuse, Estrella was flying totally under the radar. He was set to suit up in his junior term for South Portland High School in South Portland, Maine, and Estrella wasn’t nationally ranked in 2023 by the primary recruiting services.
But during the 2021-22 campaign, Estrella was absolutely sensational for South Portland High School. He’ll spend his senior year at the powerhouse Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, NH
This spring and summer in grassroots basketball, as well as during other recent events such as the prestigious NBPA Top 100 camp in Orlando, Fla., Estrella has put forth magnificent performance after magnificent performance.
To that end, many of his tremendous outputs for the New England-based Middlesex Magic in the Under Armor Association league have occurred amid NCAA live periods where a ton of college coaches, including those at Syracuse basketball, have watched him play in person.
As a result, his offer list has grown to more than two dozen, with recent offers from blue-blood programs Duke and Kansas among them.
The majority of main recruiting services have installed Estrella as a four-star, top-65 prospect in the 2023 class, with On3 currently placing him at No. 20 across the country. He could be on his way to five stars when all is said and done.
Estrella has officially visited Marquette and Tennessee. He plans to take official visits to Iowa and Duke in the near future, according to media reports.
He still has a few official visits available as part of his senior year, and he’s said a couple of times lately in interviews that he’s discussing a possible official visit to the Hill with the Orange coaching staff.
Estrella is eyeing a commitment announcement before her senior season at the Brewster Academy gets underway. Duke has some analyst buzz in Estrella’s recruitment on the 247Sports Web site, but that doesn’t mean the Blue Devils are guaranteed to prevail.
I’ve interacted with a lot of fellow ‘Cuse fans of late in chat rooms, where they express frustration that Syracuse basketball identifies underrated players, such as Estrella, before they blow up, and then these prospects head elsewhere.
I totally can relate to that frustration. For me, I credit Orange coaches for identifying talented players early on in their recruitments.
In the case of a young man such as Estrella, you have to consider the teams recruiting him, what their rosters presently look like and what they could look like down the road, implications of the transfer portal and NIL, his relationships with coaches at the schools pursuing him – the list goes on and on.
Let’s face it. Since Syracuse basketball moved from the Big East Conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013-14, the ‘Cuse has experienced a dip in its national recruiting rankings.
The Orange’s 2022 class, at six members deep, is a step in the right direction. But who knows how long head coach Jim Boeheim will roam the sidelines, and I have no idea how that might impact the team’s recruiting efforts over the next few cycles.
Plus, can you really blame Estrella if he picks, say, Duke? Incoming first-year head coach Jon Scheyer has some huge shoes to fill in trying to “replace” Coach K, but already Scheyer has crushed things on the recruiting trail with his 2022 and 2023 classes.
in to recent interview with On3 national analyst Jamie Shaw, Estrella had this to say about the ‘Cuse. “They were my first offer; they’ve been in this thing for a long time. I have a great relationship with their staff, and it is just one of the legacy basketball schools.”
I’m hopeful that the Orange’s long-time relationship with Estrella counts for something. My heart says it does. If Syracuse basketball coaches can get him on campus in Central New York for an official visit, that would be huge.
Some ‘Cuse fans have already declared that Syracuse basketball is a no-go for Joseph Estrella. I’m not in that camp. Until he trims his list and doesn’t include the Orange, or picks a collegiate destination other than the ‘Cuse, to me, Syracuse basketball has a chance.
Whether that chance is small, medium or large remains to be seen. But by all accounts, at least from my perspective, the Orange coaching staff has prioritized Estrella since offering him nearly a year ago. You can’t ask for much more than that.