Syracuse basketball players are the first class to have its alumni on a recruiting list since the 1980 NBA draft, with the team currently holding the top spot in the Big East standings.
The Orange are currently ranked No.1 in the AP poll, and the Bluejays have the No.2 seed in the NCAA tournament.
But it is the Syracuse basketball program’s alumni that have attracted the most attention in recent years, with three of the past five players to be signed to national-title teams joining the Orange.
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Syracuse’s former head coach, Tom Izzo, has already signed four players to his NBA championship rings, while forward Kadeem Jack and guard Malik Monk were the last two.
Jack, a 6-9 guard, is the only player in school history to have two different national titles in basketball.
Monk was a two-time All-American, and won two titles as a member of the 2008 and 2013 NCAA championship teams.
Syraco also signed four-star forward Marcus Smart to a scholarship in March, and it’s believed that the Orange’s 2017 recruiting class is also expected to be in the mix.
The 2018 recruiting class currently ranks fifth in the nation, and a lot of that could be thanks to a pair of high-profile recruits who signed on as freshmen this season: forward Ben Bentil and forward Tyler Cavanaugh.
Cavanaugh, who is currently the team’s leading scorer at 10.3 points per game, will have his first taste of the NBA draft when the Bluejackets hold their first mock draft on March 31.
Bentil, a 7-0 guard, was the first player in the history of Syracuse to earn a scholarship to the NBA.
“I have been playing basketball since I was 12 years old, so I’m very excited to get to the next level,” Bentil told The Post in a phone interview.
“I just want to continue to work hard and improve every day.”
The Bluejets’ 2018 recruiting classes will likely be the most impressive to date, with Jack and Monk likely heading to the top of the class, while fellow freshman guard Aaron White has also impressed.
White, a former four-year starter for the Blue Jays, will likely go first overall if he is selected.
The 20-year-old guard averaged 14.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game last season.
He also had 20 assists.
White has the chance to compete with fellow Syracuse commit Brandon Jennings, who had a breakout season at the collegiate level last season, for the top position.
Jennings, a four-foot-11 forward, is currently ranked in the top 10 in the country and could potentially land the top pick in the 2019 NBA draft.
The other potential first-round pick is a Syracuse recruit named Ryan Gagnon, a 5-11 guard from the University of Georgia who is ranked No 12 in the ESPN 100 and No. 8 in the 247Sports Composite.
Gagnon is a native of Georgia, and has spent the last three seasons at Georgia, averaging 16.3 and 7.6 points per contest for the Bulldogs.
The 6-7 forward was a three-time team All-Atlantic Sun selection and is rated as the nation’s No. 15 guard.
He’s the No 10 prospect in the class of 2019, and could be a first-rounder in the draft.
Gagnon is ranked the No 1 prospect in his class and could very well be the first overall selection.
Bentill, White, and Cavanaugh are all ranked in some order in the recruiting rankings, with Monk and White expected to jump into the top five of the rankings, while Bentil is expected to go to the first round.