SHARONVILLE, Ohio -- Princeton senior 6-foot-9 wing Darius Bazley told WCPO.com Monday afternoon he has verbally committed to play basketball at Syracuse.
Bazley, rated the state’s No. 1 player in the 2018 class, is ranked the nation’s No. 32 best player overall by ESPN.com. Bazley, a former Ohio State commit, saw his college recruiting soar this spring.
The Orange offered a scholarship to the four-star player May 15. He took an unofficial visit to Syracuse June 30, according to Scout.com. He felt like Syracuse was the best fit.
“To me it was like no other,” Bazley told Scout.com. “A big part of the commitment was the coaches. I felt really comfortable around them and they felt really comfortable around me. Everything I’ve played for in basketball, I’ve been extremely cool with the coaches.”
Bazley, who is rated the nation's No. 42 player overall by Scout.com and the No. 1 small forward in the Midwest, also had offers from Louisville, Virginia Tech, Purdue, Georgetown, Xavier, Virginia Tech, USC, Maryland and Florida among others.
Bazley and his Princeton teammates participated in the Xavier team camp in June at the Friars Club. During an interview with the WCPO.com Bazley said he didn’t have a timeline on a college decision but was enjoying the process.
“The most important thing to me is just making sure I go to the right place and the right fit for developing me to the NBA because that’s my goal,” Bazley told WCPO. “I don’t want to sell myself short or make any bad moves and then have to transfer because this isn’t working out or that’s not working out. I don’t think (it matters) where I play at or how far it is -- I don’t care if it’s in Alaska -- if it’s a good fit that’s where I am headed.”
Bazley is a versatile wing who can beat an opponent off the dribble or pull up for an effective jumper. His smooth shot and excellent court vision were evident in June at the Xavier team camp in summer league competition.
He is scheduled to play in the Nike Peach Jam AAU event in North Augusta, Georgia, next week.
Bazley de-committed from Ohio State in April after he initially gave a verbal commitment to Thad Matta and the Buckeyes in August 2016.
Bazley is Syracuse's first verbal commitment in the 2018 class, according to Scout.com.
"Syracuse is a great place," he told Scout.com. "Coach (Jim) Boeheim is unbelievable. He's a legend. They're a great coaching staff and I trust their development that they'll be able to get me to the next level."
Bazley, who transferred from Finneytown in late July 2016, sat out the first 11 games of the high school season and made his debut in mid-January in the 15th annual Premier Health Flyin’ to the Hoop Invitational at Fairmont High School.
He helped to lead the Vikings to a Division I sectional runner-up finish in March. Princeton won 15 games this past winter -- the most since the 2011-12 season.
Princeton is scheduled to begin the 2017-18 season against Xenia Friday, Dec. 1 in the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic (9 p.m. tipoff) at Southern State Community College in Hillsboro.
National Signing Day on Nov. 8 is when Bazley can make his commitment to Syracuse official.