JJ Starling says he will join Syracuse to transfer from Notre Dame

Former Notre Dame guard JJ Starling, one of college basketball’s top transfers this spring, told ESPN he has committed to play at Syracuse next season.

“I felt like it was a perfect fit for me,” Starling said. “The coaching staff are people who know I trust to manage and manage my career.”

Starling will be the first recruit committed to playing for newly appointed head coach Adrian Autry, who replaces Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim after 47 years at the helm at Syracuse. Starling had previously been heavily pursued by then-associate head coach Autry as the lead high school recruit.

“I have a very strong relationship with Coach Autry,” Starling said. “This is a guy I know I can trust and he doesn’t hold anything back. He lets his players play freely and gives them confidence when they need it. We push the ball and play in transition. I’ll be the point guard and the shooter as much as possible, but we I am willing to play any role to win the games.

“To be able to play on one of the biggest stages in college basketball is definitely a highlight. Also, having my parents and other relatives come out to the games and cheer me on feels amazing, especially when they rarely do that through my game. Career.”

Starling chose Syracuse over interest from several schools, including Alabama, Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA, Tennessee, Auburn, Indiana and Oregon.

He entered the NCAA transfer portal on the first day it officially opened Monday and wasted no time choosing to commit to Orange, whose campus is 14 miles from his hometown of Baldwinsville, N.Y., less than 24 hours later.

“It was a very quick decision because I knew what Cuse had to offer and I trust him,” Starling said. “I know I will be in the right hands to help me grow as a person on and off the field. I didn’t know for a long time that I wanted to go home; I was going to please the coaches I invited. However, instead of creating stress for my parents and myself, we talked for a long time and realized that Kuze is the place for me.”

Starling was a McDonald’s All American and the No. 19 recruit in the Class of 2022, emerging as a five-star prospect at Indiana’s La Lumiere School and the Nike EYBL circuit with the Albany City Rocks. He averaged 11.2 points and 2.8 rebounds as a freshman at Notre Dame, played his entire season as an 18-year-old and was younger than several five-star recruits in the 2023 high school class.

Starling, a potential first-round pick in the 2024 NBA draft, said he will not enter the 2023 draft.

“I’m not testing the waters,” he said. “I think after a year of growth and experience, it’s good to get back on the college scene and get better and better.”

While Starling didn’t have the year he expected at Notre Dame, he said he still learned a lot from head coach Mike Brey’s decision to step down in January.

“Coach Bray was a great coach and person,” he said. “Even when going through tough times, he went out of his way to make sure he was there for all the players and continued to convey the message, ‘We only have each other.’ I wish him the best in whatever decision he makes.”

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