Co 2020-21 Iggy Award Winner MPG (special again)
- Aug 15, 2011
Star Wars Day celebrates the film series Star Wars, which was created by George Lucas. The eponymously-titled first film of the series was released on May 25, 1977. Later gaining the title Episode IV: A New Hope, the film became a worldwide cultural phenomenon and helped usher in the concept of the blockbuster movie. It was followed by The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983); these three films made up the original trilogy. A prequel trilogy was released between 1999 and 2005, and a sequel trilogy began being released in 2015. All of the films were commercially successful, and there have been spin-off films to the series as well. Star Wars became a franchise, and books, games, television series, and more have been produced under its name. Star Wars merchandise has also been very successful.
May fourth was chosen as the date of Star Wars Day because of the phrase "May the fourth be with you," which is a pun of the phrase "May the Force be with you"—a phrase used multiple times in Star Wars films. An early record of the pun dates to May 4, 1979, just shy of two years before the release of the original film. Well wishes were printed in The London Evening News that said May The Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations.. These wishes were directed to Margaret Thatcher, who became Britain's first female prime minister on the day.
Syracuse in the Mix For Intriguing 6-10 Forward Tafara Gapare (SI; McAllister)
One of the most intriguing prospects on the recruiting trail is 6-10 forward Tafara Gapare. Gapare, originally from New Zealand, plays for South Kent High School in Connecticut. He has tremendous length, athleticism, handles the ball well, and is a three level scorer. With a strong live period this spring, Gapare is jumping onto the radar of high major programs across the country. South Kent head coach Raphael Chillious says he could be part of either the 2022 class or 2023.
"He's a 22, but because of the split transfer thing, he could come back and be a 23," Chillious said. "I assume (Syracuse's offer) is for whenever, but I'd guess from what I've seen in their recruiting, it's for 23."
Gapare arrived at South Kent just a few months ago and his game has improved even in that short time. The combination of size and athleticism, along with perimeter skills, is why schools such as Missouri, Arizona State, Xavier, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and Syracuse have extended offers.
"He didn't get here until mid-January," Chillious. "Our program is not like a regular high school program. No matter how talented you are, it's hard to come in and make a big splash. There's a lot of stuff he had to learn and he hasn't played against this level of competition consistently. But the thing that gets people is he's 6-10, he's legitimate. He's a wing/forward, not a center. He's not a five. He's a perimeter player and extremely athletic. That's the thing that gets people to say 'wow.' He jumps like he's 6-2, he can really jump."
Syracuse men’s basketball: Who’s been offered for 2023? (TNIAAM; Ostrowski)
We haven’t heard much about the Syracuse Orange and their plans for the Class of 2023. While they have offered scholarships to over a dozen players, none have committed just yet. Here are those potential recruits and how serious their interest level in SU seems to currently be (all data via 247 Sports unless otherwise noted):
Guards:D.J. Wagner - The Orange are one of five programs to offer the Number 1 prospect in the class of 2023. It’s a longshot to land him though; the 6’3” combo guard seemed dead set between Kentucky and Memphis, both of which he officially visited in October. Louisville recently entered the mix as well.
Elijah Fisher - Another Top 25 prospect, the Toronto native is likely to head farther south. The shooting guard visited Texas Tech and also has Kansas, Kentucky, and Oklahoma State on his radar.
Aden Holloway - The first guy SU has a serious chance at, Holloway does not seem close to making a decision. His only official visit was at Tennessee just a few weeks ago. The 6-foot point guard from Indiana has 13 total offers, so I don’t blame him for taking his time.
Blue Cain - Syracuse is one of six to offer this Top 100 recruit. Cain does not have any official visits under his belt, but I have to imagine playing for his hometown Vols would be the shooting guard’s preference.
Reid Ducharme - This shooting guard clocks in as a borderline 3/4-star talent. On paper, Iowa and Providence are the main challengers, though, like Cain, he has not made any official visits.
Forwards:GG Jackson - The top South Carolina prospect is only moving up one state, as he hard committed to North Carolina last Wednesday. He’s the only offered player that is now officially off the table for Boeheim’s bunch.
Matas Buzelis - Duke and Kentucky seem to be the top players for New Hampshire’s prize recruit. SU looks well out of the race for the 5-star, behind even other ACC programs Wake Forest and Florida State.
Gavin Griffiths - Yet another face of a state, it’s anybody’s guess where the Connecticut kid ends up. His only visit so far was to Iowa.
Kaden Cooper - The Orange are the latest in a flurry of people to offer Cooper, who has shown significant improvement during his junior year of high school. The running total of schools interested is 20 and counting.
Centers:Isaiah Miranda - Stop me if you’ve heard this: the number one prospect from a state (Massachusetts) has lots of interest outside of Syracuse. I wouldn’t bet on bringing him in.
Papa Kante - Kante is another guy at the edge of the 3-star/4-star ranking, and someone who is far from making his choice. However... he did make an unofficial visit to Syracuse in August. Interpret that how you will.
2023 South Kent (CT) School and @ExpressionsBall PF Papa Kante will take an unofficial visit to Syracuse on Aug. 28 | ZAGSBLOG
“Coach (Adrian) Autry has been the point in my recruitment,” Kante said.
Story: Class of 2023 forward Papa Kante sets Syracuse visit, talks recruitment | Zagsblog pic.twitter.com/kEf7uTSvsq
— Jacob Polacheck (@JacobPolacheck) August 1, 2021
Finally, there are several unranked big men. JP Estrella has been one of Syracuse’s primary targets since last August (Editor note- Estrella is up to 18 offers, 13 from P5 schools). Ugonna Kingsley was offered just over a week ago. So was Tafara Gapare after he decommitted from George Washington and reclassified to the Class of 2023.
So... that was either a comprehensive report or a whole lot of nothing. You can be the ones to tell me below. Are you concerned with the supposed lack of interest in SU? Think Jim Boeheim’s year-to-year Head Coaching status has anything to do with it? Feel free to sound off.
Syracuse Basketball: SU may have interest in 3-star forward from Buffalo (itlh; Adler)
According to the 247Sports Web site, Syracuse basketball may have some level of interest in a 2023 three-star forward who is from Buffalo, N.Y., and plays prep-school ball in Minneapolis.
Antonio Chol, listed as either a small forward or a power forward on several recruiting Web sites, is a 6-foot-8 prospect who suits up for the Minnesota Preparatory Academy.
On the AAU circuit, he competes for the Raleigh, N.C.-based Garner Road Basketball Club, which plays in the Adidas league. I came across several comments on social media from national analysts and scouts that speak to the three-star Chol playing quite well last month for Garner Road in AAU contests during NCAA live periods.
2023 6’8 Antonio Chol for Garner Road is a player that captured my attention at the Adidas 3SSB session. He has length, can handle the ball, shoots from the perimeter, and is a versatile defender.@GroadBballClub@iamtonio22#3SSB pic.twitter.com/jTLFgXoULf
— HOOP DAWGS (@dawg_hoop) April 13, 2022
Per his bio on the 247Sports Web site and the Verbal Commits Web site, Chol holds scholarship offers from Rutgers, Loyola Marymount and New Mexico.
Syracuse basketball recently offered several other 2023 players.
On 247Sports, Chol is listed as having interest from the Orange, Texas A&M and Western Kentucky. Naturally, we’ll continue to track his recruitment moving forward to see if the ‘Cuse ends up offering Chol.
Both 247Sports and Verbal Commits also note that Chol’s hometown is in Buffalo.
At this juncture, I’m not seeing Chol in the national rankings from the primary recruiting services for the 2023 class. The 247Sports recruiting service, though, does rate him as a three-star player, the No. 30 power forward and the No. 3 prospect in New York within this cycle.
Last month, in a tweet, national analyst Travis Graf had some positive things to say about Chol’s performances during one of the April live periods.
For 4-star priority recruit, Syracuse basketball is one of his dream schools (itlh; Adler)
Syracuse basketball coaches only offered a scholarship to 2023 four-star guard Elmarko Jackson a few weeks ago, and already it seems that he has emerged as a priority recruit for the Orange coaching staff in this cycle.
The 6-foot-4 Jackson, one of the top point guards/shooting guards in his class, has said more than once of late in interviews that he is planning to take an official visit to the Hill in the near future, which is highly encouraging news.
And in a recent chat with the terrific Mike McAllister, the publisher of SyracuseOnSI, Jackson had a bunch of positive things to say about the Syracuse basketball program.
His offer list continues to grow, and his recruitment could have a way to go, but my own personal sense is that the ‘Cuse is potentially in good shape with Jackson.
Let’s see what four-star Elmarko Jackson had to say about Syracuse basketball.
Jackson, who is rated in the top-80 overall in the 2023 cycle according to numerous recruiting services, told McAllister that the ‘Cuse is one of his “dream schools.”
...“Every little boy that plays basketball they dream about playing for the ‘Cuse, for the Orange. I was ecstatic. I felt like it was kind of similar to getting my first offer. Just in awe, kind of. I felt like all my hard work was paying off. For a school of that caliber to offer me felt great. I can’t even put it into words, really.”
Syracuse basketball 4-star commit Chris Bunch lit it up from deep in Vegas (itlh; Adler)
Over the weekend, Ball Dawgs held its third-annual senior showcase, and Syracuse basketball 2022 four-star commit Chris Bunch was among the stars at this event, according to media reports.
This all-star event, held on Sunday, May 1, at Spring Valley High School in Las Vegas, included several games, as well as a dunk contest and a 3-point shoot-out.
According to several tweets, including from Ball Dawgs, Hoop Hospitality owner Valerie Brown and scouting service Pro Insight, the 6-foot-7 Bunch proved on fire from beyond the arc, as he captured the 3-point shooting contest.
Additionally, per Brown, in a national team game, Bunch tallied 17 points as his squad emerged victorious. I’m super excited to see how well Bunch fared at this prestigious event that featured some of the best high-school prospects in the senior class.
Let’s review new national rankings for Syracuse basketball signee Chris Bunch.
From what I can tell, Bunch had a solid senior season for the Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant, Utah. He transferred there from De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif.
In 2021-22, the Wasatch Academy was one of eight teams in the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (“NIBC”), a super league of sorts that includes independent basketball academies and other prep schools.
Syracuse Basketball: 4-star Judah Mintz ‘will be one of toughest freshmen’ (itlh; Adler)
Ever since 2022 four-star combo guard Judah Mintz announced his verbal commitment to Syracuse basketball at the end of March, I’ve read an abundance of comments from national analysts and scouts that speak to his expected big-time impact for the Orange in his freshman year and beyond on the Hill.
The 6-foot-3 Mintz, who put forth a stellar recent senior season for the powerhouse Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., is one of six signees for the ‘Cuse in 2022, and this class is deemed a top-10 to a top-15 cycle nationally, according to multiple recruiting services.
By and large, Mintz is the highest-rated commit for Syracuse basketball in its 2022 class, and he has said in interviews that Orange coaches anticipate him being a major contributor on the 2022-23 roster as a freshman in Central New York.
As we’ve detailed in other recent columns on Judah Mintz, he is praised by experts for his three-level scoring prowess, his athleticism and quickness, his high energy, and his strong defensive instincts, among other positive attributes.
Syracuse basketball coaches expect big things out of four-star guard Judah Mintz.
One tweet that I recently came across really registered with me. It’s from Samad Hines, a high-school hoops analyst and scout who I believe is one of the best in the business.
...What Hines recently said via Twitter about Mintz is tremendous. The expert wrote that the Orange 2022 commit “will bring next level toughness and competitiveness to Syracuse next season. Mintz will make his impact in all phases on the court. Will be one of toughest freshmen in college basketball no doubt.”
Syracuse Basketball: In one ranking, 2022 class outside the top 25 – huh? (itlh; Adler)
On Monday, the recruiting service On3 released its final 2022 player rankings, so I took a glance to see where the six signees for Syracuse basketball ended up (more on that in other future articles).
But I then also happened to check out where, at present, the entire six-member 2022 cycle for the Orange is rated on a national basis. I have to admit, I was a tad bit surprised at what I found out.
When I penned this column, the ‘Cuse 2022 class as a whole was rated No. 26 nationally and No. 5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, according to the On3 Consensus.
I always like to say that recruiting rankings are helpful context in my stories on Orange commits and targets, but I will often add that these sorts of ratings are subjective and have to sometimes get taken with the proverbial grain of salt. I think this is the case here, at least to some extent.
Syracuse basketball, though, does have a higher-ranked 2022 class elsewhere.
In full disclosure, I don’t know the specific formula used to calculate team and player rankings via the two industry-generated ratings that I often utilize, the On3 Consensus and the 247Sports Composite.
And I’m not throwing shade at On3 here, as I use its ratings frequently, and the national analysts who work for this recruiting service are fabulous.
However, I do find it interesting that the Orange’s six-member 2022 class isn’t even inside the top-25 overall, according to the On3 Consensus.
I say this, because currently has the team’s 2022 cycle at No. 7 across the country. Sports Illustrated recently put the ‘Cuse 2022 class at No. 14 around the country and No. 3 in the ACC.
Locked On Syracuse - Daily Podcast On Syracuse Orange Football & Basketball on Apple Podcasts (apple.com; podcast; Locked on Syracuse)
Syracuse basketball lost Frank Anselem to Georgia. That shouldn't come as a surprise with his limited role last season, but Brad Klein explains why he would be surprised if Anselem shines in Athens. Plus, 2023 four-star guard Elmarko Jackson is "in awe" by the Jim Boeheim offer. What is an SU offer worth nowadays? Finally, which Class of 2022 recruit will be the biggest surprise?
Star Wars Darth Vader Ring
May the 4th with you: Star Wars Day deals from Amazon, Build-A-Bear more (PS; Liwanag)
In a galaxy far, far away... lives no deals, offers, or exclusive merchandise. Our galaxy, however, has retailers from Build-A-Bear Workshop to Amazon ready to lure you with tempting deals this May 4th.
Ranging from jewelry, collectibles, toys, and underwear, fans from all ages can enjoy Star Wars Day with these deals and offers. Though many of these are valid only till May 4, you’ll find some of our favorites listed below.
Amazon: It’s the one-stop-shop everyone needs, and today, it’s the needs for any Star Wars fan. Filled to the brim with Star Wars merchandise, it includes deals ranging from the Citizen Eco-Drive Star Wars Quartz Mens Watch to a Modern Star Wars Grogu Toddler Cup.
Build-A-Bear Workshop: Let’s get one thing straight, stuffed animals are for everyone. Build-A-Bear Workshop is celebrating May 4 with their Star Wars Sale. Score the Grogu Plush for your kid (or keep it to yourself.) If there’s someone graduating, who also happens to be a Star Wars fanatic, here’s Grogu with a graduation robe.
Nintendo: Take 50% off Star wars games like Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Republic Commando. While this deal ends May 5th, purchase other of the seven games on sale to make Star Wars day worth it.