JJ Starling is one of the best backcourt prospects in the 2022 class. He is also Syracuse basketball's top recruiting target. Starling takes an official visit to SU this coming weekend and it will be his second Orange official during his recruitment. He was last on campus in June and trimmed his list to five (Duke, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Stanford were the other four) on Thursday.
The obvious question is why. Why take a second official visit to a school that's so close to home?
"They were on me the hardest to try to get me to do another visit," Starling said.
Indeed Syracuse has been perhaps the school recruiting Starling the hardest. At least one member of the staff, and in my many cases multiple, at every game, practice, scrimmage, etc. they were allowed to attend. How much of a priority Starling is to Syracuse's class is clear by the efforts of the staff.
Part of his second visit will include attending a game. Not for the basketball program, as it first game is months away, but rather for Syracuse football's home opener against Rutgers. Orange fans will have an opportunity impact the Starling visit with a raucous environment. That will be a significant difference between the previous visit and this one.
As Syracuse looks to make another strong impression and convince him that staying home is the right decision, the visit went rather well.
"It was great," Starling said after his June official visit to Syracuse. "Being from Cuse, you kind of take everything for granted. But being on campus and around the players and coaches, it was a different feel that I didn't expect to have. It was a really, really great visit. The facility is nice. All that."
There is no question that Starling is an important recruit for Syracuse basketball. He would instantly become the headliner of the class and landing one of the best local talents in recent years would be a significant boost as well. Local players such as Andy Rautins, Brandon Triche and others have thrived at Syracuse. Could Starling be the next?
His skill set as a 6-3 guard who can play either position in the backcourt, can distribute, is a gifted playmaker in the lane and an electric scorer who can also shoot at a high clip from the outside is a perfect fit for the Orange. Now the coaches have to convince him. A second official visit gives them that opportunity.