Is Syracuse’s recent recruiting success a credit to Autry or an indictment of Boeheim? (Mike’s mailbox)

Is Syracuse’s recent recruiting success a credit to Autry or an indictment of Boeheim? (Mike’s mailbox)

Syracuse, N.Y. – There has been a lot happening on the Syracuse basketball front these days.

In the last week, Syracuse has received commitments from Florida State transfer Naheem McLeod and high school recruit Donnie Freeman. In addition, Syracuse guard Judah Mintz has spent this week at the NBA combine in Chicago.

We’ve got lots of questions about Syracuse’s recruiting, the status of the team’s roster and the draft. As always, if you have any college basketball-related questions, please email to

Q: Adrian Autry has had immediate success in the portal and shown early signs of once again making Syracuse a player in landing high-rated recruits. Is this more of a reflection on Autry or indictment of Jim Boeheim?


Mike: I see this as a reflection on Autry without any indictment of Jim Boeheim.

Syracuse’s recent portal success is based on two things – the possibility of playing time with the departures of two and maybe three starters and the one trait that led to recruitment of previous transfers, which was a prior relationship.

Florida State center Naheem McLeod saw a clear path to a starting role with the departure of Jesse Edwards. Syracuse had previously recruited both JJ Starling and Chance Westry and could point to Joe Girard’s transfer to Clemson along with Judah Mintz’s potential departure to the NBA.

Immediate playing time and a previous relationship are the same two factors that led Cole Swider to come to Syracuse as he looked to transfer out of Villanova two years ago.

In regards to the recent commitment that Syracuse got from Class of ‘24 recruit Donnie Freeman, I think it’s more appropriate to give credit to Autry and his staff rather than try to impugn Boeheim.

Autry and new assistant Brenden Straughn both made a concerted effort to recruit Freeman and both used their considerable contacts in the Washington D.C. area during the process. But it just a year ago that Syracuse, with Boeheim still the head coach, got a commitment from Judah Mintz of Fort Washington, Maryland, who had attended high school in D.C.

Q: Has Judah Mintz been attending classes at Syracuse to maintain his eligibility?

Mike F.

Syracuse Orange guard Judah Mintz (3) moves downcourt as the Virginia Tech Hokies basketball team invaded the Syracuse Orange Dome Wednesday, January 11, 2023. N. Scott Trimble |

Mike: Judah Mintz left the SU campus shortly after the season ended to prepare for the NBA combine as well as any potential workouts with NBA teams. But while he has not been in class, I’ve been told that he has been doing everything necessary to remain academically eligible to play next season if he did decide to return for his sophomore year.

Q: After bringing in three transfers in JJ Starling, Chance Westry and Naheem McLeod, how many scholarships does Syracuse have left for next year?

Pete D.

Mike: This offseason Syracuse has added three transfers — all mentioned above — as well as incoming freshman William Patterson. Meanwhile, four players have left the program via the transfer portal – Jesse Edwards, Joe Girard, Symir Torrence and John Bol Ajak.

That leaves Syracuse with 11 scholarship players on the roster for next season, not including Judah Mintz. If Mintz decided to return, Syracuse would be at 12 players on scholarship, which is still one under the NCAA’s limit of 13 scholarships.

Q: Has a Syracuse player ever transferred to a conference rival? Has a player on a conference rival ever transferred to SU?

Bill N.

Mike: As far as I can tell, Joe Girard became the first Syracuse player to transfer to a conference rival when he left the Orange after four years and transferred to Clemson for his fifth and final season.

Syracuse has never brought in a transfer from a conference rival prior to this year when JJ Starling transferred to SU from Notre Dame.

The closest thing to that was when Michael Gbinije left Duke and transferred to Syracuse. Syracuse was still in the Big East when Gbinije arrived in the fall of 2012 after transferring from Duke. He sat out the 2012-13 season. When he became eligible again for the 2013-14 season, Syracuse was now a member of the ACC. He played against his former team in each of the next three seasons.

Contact Mike Waters anytime: Email | Twitter


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Class of ‘24 power forward Donnie Freeman commits to Syracuse

Why are there 2 dates for Syracuse’s Judah Mintz to withdraw from NBA draft? (Mike’s Mailbox)

Former Syracuse guard Joe Girard announces that he will transfer to Clemson

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