Syracuse fans received some troubling news on Monday when it was reported that Jim Boeheim‘s top recruit in the class of 2014, Chris McCullough, has been dismissed from school at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. McCullough, a 6-foot-10 power forward, is generally regarded as one of the top 15 players in the nation and the best prospect the Orange have landed since Carmelo Anthony.
McCullough’s dismissal from Brewster, where he played with current Syracuse freshman Ron Patterson last season, comes at a terrible time in the year with the fall semester beginning to wind down and basketball season just now gearing up. Because it is so late in the semester, even if McCullough is able to quickly land elsewhere he may wind up losing an entire semester’s worth of credits which could possibly leave him short when it’s time to enroll at Syracuse next year. And because the reasons for his dismissal are still murky — the only thing being expressed by the school and his now former coach are that he violated a school policy — it just puts Syracuse fans and, presumably, the coaching staff even more on edge.
McCullough is one of the top big men in the class of 2014 and an exceptional athlete from the Bronx who enrolled at Brewster in order to get his academics together. Initially, he had considered reclassifying to the class of 2013 which could bode well for Syracuse in this situation. While he will likely lose all of his credits from this semester, the fact that he was considering trying to reclassify to graduate a year earlier might mean he’s ahead of schedule and this loss of credits will prove to be a minor speed bump. Of course, that’s just hopeful speculation at this point.
The early signing period begins on Wednesday, making this an even more complicated time for McCullough to find himself without a high school. The athletic post player has an above average skill set for his size in addition to his explosiveness in the paint on both ends of the floor, which has made many experts peg him as a probable one and done player for the Orange. Should this become more of a hurdle for Syracuse, it could derail a recruiting class that many thought would help the Orange challenge for a national championship in the 2014-15 season.
Right now only two players are in the Syracuse recruiting class of 2014 with point guard Kaleb Joseph also planning on joining the Orange next year. McCullough is expected to be an immediate starter, so obviously if this becomes a more major obstacle to his becoming enrolled at Syracuse it could potentially throw a major wrench into the plan for next season.
McCullough has already tweeted in response to his dismissal, stating: “As a man you have to take responsibility for your actions I am accountable for mine. Minor set back I’ll be good!”
Orange fans and coaches alike are certainly hoping that will be the case.