Syracuse Recruiting Dakari Johnson Without Open Scholarship

Syracuse is out of available scholarships for next season after signing five recruits in the Class of 2013 and bringing in Duke transfer Mike Gbinije, but that hasn’t stopped the school from recruiting the top unsigned senior pivot.

Jim Boeheim recently watched Montverde star Dakari Johnson in action, SNY.tv is reporting. The Orange, however, do not have an open scholly for Johnson at the moment, with all five of its 2013 commits penning letters of intent last month.

For Syracuse to accomodate Johnson, one of its current underclassmen would have to leave the program at the end of the season, either through transfer or early graduation to the NBA. Sophomore point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who leads the nation in assists (10.4) and ranks third in steals (3.8), would be the most likely candidate. The 6-foot-6 floor general has been SU’s top attraction for league scouts so far this season.

Junior forward C.J. Fair could leave school one year early, but sources tell Busting Brackets the smooth southpaw plans to stay on the hill for his senior season, barring a major surge in stock. Rakeem Christmas has the projectable tools to make the jump as well, but the sophomore big man is still raw and would benefit from returning for his junior season (again, barring a major spike in play over the second half of the year).

Boeheim’s presence at Johnson’s most recent game could suggest the longtime Syracuse head coach senses one of his underclassmen won’t be back next season. Otherwise, why waste the time and energy stringing along a recruit for whom the program has no room? Boeheim doesn’t ordinarily check out recruits midseason—that gig is reserved for heralded SU assistant and Boeheim’s future successor, Mike Hopkins—so the Hall of Fame coach’s scouting of Johnson intimates the Orange could be without more than just Brandon Triche and James Southerland (both seniors) next season.

Johnson, who had been Syracuse’s top target in the 2014 class, reclassified into the 2013 class last month. The 6-foot-10 center is also drawing heavy interest from Florida, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky and Ohio State.

Busting Brackets reported in early November that Florida and Syracuse sat atop Johnson’s list, but Kentucky has since made in-roads with the coveted recruit as well, joining the fray as a third viable destination.

Topics: Basketball, Syracuse Orange

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