Sports SUmmary: Syracuse vies for four-star basketball recruit after Dior Johnson decommits

Sports SUmmary: SU hoops vies for four-star recruit after other backs out

The Orange may be counting on the New York native to commit to his home state school after only other 2022 commit reopens search.
Published: November 10, 2020
Social media announcement by Roddy Gayle of final schools in consideration for the four-star recruit.
Roddy Gayle's social media announcement of the final schools the four-star recruit is considering.

Syracuse men’s basketball four-star recruit Roddy Gayle announced his final six picks this week leading up to his decision day this Friday. On social media, Gayle shared that Syracuse is a finalist alongside Ohio State, University of Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Marquette and Georgetown.

The 6-foot-5, 185-pound shooting guard narrowed his list down among offers from other schools, such as Kansas. Gayle, a New York native, currently plays for Lewiston Porter Senior High School.

Securing Gayle’s commitment would be huge for the Orange, who lost five-star point guard Dior Johnson who announced on Instagram on Tuesday that he would reopen his college search. Concerns were raised about his sudden departure recently from highly revered basketball prep school Oak Hill Academy.

Gayle ranks as the No. 54 overall recruit in the 2022 class with both Rivals and 247Sports. The latter has Gayle listed as the No. 1 player from New York and the seventh shooting guard recruit.

With the Twitter announcement, Gayle said his official announcement would come this Friday night.

Mangakahia, Lewis nominated for national awards

Described by head coach Quentin Hillsman as the best guard tandem in the country, Tiana Mangakahia and Kiara Lewis have each been nominated for prestigious national awards.

In her first season back since her breast cancer diagnosis, Mangakahia was selected as a candidate for the 2021 Nancy Lieberman Award. The award honors the nation’s top point guard each year and is chosen by a national committee of top college personnel.

Mangakahia is one of 20 athletes around the country nominated for the award in NCAA Division I women’s basketball. This is the third time the Australian native has been up for the award, as she was a top-10 finalist in 2017-18 and a top-5 finalist in 2018-19. The only season she was not in the running was when she sat out for cancer treatment.

During her junior season, Mangakahia was named Syracuse Female Athlete of the Year after becoming the all-time leader in career assists with 591. That same season, she led the Orange in points (573), points per game (16.9), assists (287), assists per game (8.4) and free throw percentage (88.2%).

Tiana Mangakahia drives to the basket while being defended by Miami’s Taylor Mason.
Tiana Mangakahia drives to the basket while being defended by Miami’s Taylor Mason during the 2019 season, prior to her breast cancer diagnosis.

Kiara Lewis is nominated for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, named for Annie Meyers, the first player – male or female – to be selected for an All-America team in four straight college seasons.

Lewis is one of 20 players nationwide nominated for the award which is given to the top shooting guard in NCAA Division I women’s basketball.

Lewis filled in at point guard last season while Mangakahia recovered. In her breakout season, she averaged 17.6 points a game, earning her All-ACC honors. Her points per game average, as well as assists (5) and minutes per game (37.6), led the team.

Syracuse University's guard, Kiara Lewis, 23, pushes past a University of Pittsburgh defender during a college basketball game on February 16, 2020.
Syracuse University's guard, Kiara Lewis, 23, pushes past a University of Pittsburgh defender during a college basketball game on February 16, 2020.

Boeheim sued over 2019 fatal accident

Jim Boeheim, head coach of the men’s basketball team, is facing a lawsuit over a 2019 crash on Interstate 690 that killed Jorge Jimenez.

According to a Syracuse.com article, Jimenez’s family is suing for an unspecified amount on money, claiming that the head coach’s actions were “negligent, reckless and wanton.” The lawsuit also targets Syracuse University, stating that Boeheim’s vehicle was university-owned.

Boeheim was cleared of any wrongdoing in last year’s accident, but New York state law allows for three years following the incident to file a lawsuit.

Neither Boeheim nor the university has commented on the lawsuit.

Avatar for Alyssa Hertel

is the Sports Lead Producer for The NewsHouse.