I know a lot of Syracuse basketball recruiting fanatics, myself included, are bummed, disappointed, and sad that longtime 2023 four-star target Joseph Estrella has chosen to play somewhere off the Hill. .
I understand. Not only is the 6ft 11in center forward one of the hottest prospects in the rising senior class, a talented big man who has received around two dozen scholarship offers throughout this recruitment, but He’s also a really, really likeable kid. man.
I’m on the Joseph Estrella fan train. I always have been, since Orange offered him super early in their recruitment process, and I always will be.
Estrella works her butt. He takes nothing for granted. He is humble. He has character. And he cares more about the success of his teammates than all the individual awards he has received – and will get in the future.
In numerous recent interviews, Estrella has said it’s important to him that his future varsity team have a tight-knit family culture. I believe Syracuse basketball has that, but Estrella has committed to Southeastern Conference member Tennessee on the ‘Cuse and others. We are heartbroken. Well, at least I am.
Syracuse basketball failed in the recruiting contest against Joseph Estrella.
I do not claim to have inside information on why the Orange did not prevail for Estrella, who will spend her senior year at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, NH
However, in recent weeks, a slew of analyst predictions have come in Tennessee’s direction for Estrella on the 247Sports website, Rivals.com and the On3 website.
So when this handsome young man revealed that the Volunteers were his pick on September 2 at XL Sports World in Saco, Maine, it didn’t surprise me at all.
Estrella, undeniably, will thrive in Knoxville, Tennessee. He went from a little-known big man from Maine to one of the top prospects in his class.
And the Syracuse basketball coaches were there from the start. Estrella’s first scholarship offer came in August 2021, from the ‘Cuse, during the team’s annual elite camp.
He has repeatedly stated that the Orange offer made it easier for him to recruit and that he ended up blowing up. And the boy blew it.
This spring and summer, while dressing for the New England-based Middlesex Magic in the Under Armor Association league, Estrella competed at an ultra-high level. Praise from domestic analysts and scouts alike has been raining down on him in recent months.
As such, his 2023 national ranking has absolutely taken off, with On3 the most optimistic at this point, putting him in the top 20 and potentially making a run for five-star status.
Naturally, his offer sheet exploded, with blue blood programs like Duke and Kansas entering the mix. Truth be told, when the Blue Devils and Jayhawks proposed it, I kind of thought Syracuse basketball would be a long shot for Estrella.
But the Orange coaches continued to give him priority. They, along with many other college coaches, have seen him play in person at AAU competitions in recent months when there were NCAA-sanctioned live periods.
Estrella would make four official visits this summer, to ‘Cuse, Tennessee, Iowa and Marquette. When he canceled a planned official visit to Duke, I felt better about Orange’s chances.
The chatter swirled about this team being the leader for him, or this team being the leader for him. My guess is his last three unofficial were Tennessee, Iowa, and Syracuse basketball. He finally chose the Volunteers.
Lately, as the ‘Cuse missed several high-priority goals for 2023, I’ve seen some of my fellow Orange fans say that a high school player, even as talented as Estrella, isn’t going to make or break the team’s 2023 cycle. Maybe. Maybe not.
For me, it wasn’t just that Syracuse basketball offered him first, and I had hoped that would be a big factor down the line.
It’s not just that Estrella is one of the best big men in the rising senior class, if not the No. 1 big. It’s not just that the Orange coaches recruited him hard for, what, roughly a year, if not more?
No, to me this is all important context, and it stings to swing and miss Joseph Estrella. But what I dislike the most is that this guy is the real deal, on and off the pitch.
He is the kind of young man I hope my own son will be like, in terms of work ethic, integrity, character, selflessness and humility.
I wish Estrella nothing but success in SEC country, and I’m a fan of his for life. I will support him at every turn, unless of course the Vols end up fighting that other team in Orange.
Oh, and then there’s this: my 6-year-old son, Kethan Reddy Adler, lives in Nashville, Tennessee. I’m there basically every two weeks to be with him.
He likes Syracuse basketball, but his favorite college team is, you guessed it, Tennessee. So from that perspective, I’m more than good with Joseph Estrella picking the Volunteers.
Although, deep down, I’m sad that he’s not wearing the ‘Cuse uniform all the way.