Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Jordan Tucker Enjoys Syracuse Visit, More Trips Coming (UPDATED)
NEW YORK — Jordan Tucker says he hadn’t heard from Syracuse for almost a year until they recently reached out to once again express interest.
“Yeah, this whole year, from like August to my senior year, I haven’t heard from them at all,” the 6-foot-7 Tucker said after losing a tooth as his Red team beat the Blue team, 170-162, in the Jordan Regional Game at Barclays Center. “They didn’t come down to Atlanta but everyone was like Indiana or Villanova.”
Tucker at one point said he was focusing on those two schools.
But Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim and assistant Gerry McNamara recently visited Tucker at Marietta (GA) Wheeler in hopes of landing him to help offset the losses of Tyler Lydon, John Gillon and Andrew White III.
“Gerry McNamara called me first and we talked for a long time about how it was because I thought they just weren’t interested in me anymore,” Tucker said. “But everything was filled. [Lydon] is a sophomore so he was going to play over me regardless.”
Tucker visited Syracuse last weekend and it went well.
“It was a good visit,” Lou Tucker, Jordan’s father, said by phone. “G-Mac and Boeheim and Adrian [Autry] did a good job, it was good.
“With Tyler Lydon leaving for the draft and hiring an agent, it opens up a lot of playing time and opportunities to score the ball. They’re returning Tyus Battle and Taurean [Thompson] but the minutes are there with Tyler leaving. They need somebody to score.”
After that he plans to trip to Oregon either this Monday-Tuesday (April 17-18) or Thursday-Friday (20-21) and will then visit Georgia Tech unofficially.
“Oregon, I haven’t really spoken to coach Dana [Altman], I will speak to him on my visit,” he said. “He was really focused on the season because they went so far. I was talking to coach Stubbs [Tony Stubblefield] and he really wants me to come there and he thinks I could just fill a void.
“And then Georgia Tech, they just changed the whole thing around [by winning]. They weren’t expecting to have the season they did, so it’s a good way to piggyback on what they did last season.”
Meantime, Tucker’s former NY Rens and fellow Jordan Regional teammate Jose Alvarado is in his ear about joining him under coach Josh Pastner.
“Jose’s calling me every day trying to get me to come with him,” Tucker said. “It makes sense, I played with him on the Rens. So I don’t have to develop a new relationship with a point guard. They just want me to get back to having fun again and just playing in a free system and not having to look over my back.”
Said Alvarado: “Yeah, I’m trying to get J.T. to stay home. He’s in Atlanta, why he can’t stay with me? I just talk to him once in a while. We cool friends off the court, but I be telling him to stay with me. He’s a great teammate, a great player, and I played with him all summer so hopefully he stay with me, you know?”
Villanova assistant Kyle Neptune also checked in on Tucker on Thursday.
“I haven’t heard from them in a little bit,” Tucker said. “I took my visit already. They gave their pitch, they already told me what they want from me. They’re not really pushing anymore. I have a really good relationship with those guys off the court. I talk to coach Neptune.”
As for a timetable, Tucker said, “The latest is the first week of May.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.