Syracuse Basketball: 4-star Donnie Freeman recruiting top targets for 2024

Syracuse basketball, Donnie Freeman (Mandatory Credit: Reggie Hildred-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball, Donnie Freeman (Mandatory Credit: Reggie Hildred-USA TODAY Sports) /

Earlier this month, four-star power forward Donnie Freeman from Washington, D.C., verbally committed to Syracuse basketball, propelling the Orange’s two-member 2024 class to a top-10 national ranking.

The 6-foot-9 Freeman, a consensus top-60 national prospect in the junior cycle, picked the ‘Cuse over other finalists Alabama, Iowa, Texas and Georgia Tech. He joins four-star shooting guard Elijah Moore from New York City in the Orange’s 2024 class to date.

But Donnie Freeman has his sights set on the ‘Cuse landing several other top-flight targets in this cycle, and he discussed his recruiting efforts in a recent podcast interview with SyracuseOnSI publisher Mike McAllister.

The Syracuse basketball targets who Freeman says he would like to have join him in the team’s 2024 class align with the dream scenario that I recently outlined for the Orange in this cycle.

Naturally, we don’t know at this time what the squad’s existing roster make-up will look like for the 2024-25 season, and it may be unrealistic that the ‘Cuse will land five or six high-school recruits in this class, particularly given the evolution of the sport amid the NCAA’s transfer portal and name, image and likeness initiatives.

Syracuse basketball 2024 four-star pledge Donnie Freeman has three Orange targets in mind to join him.

In his interview with McAllister, Freeman mentioned three 2024 guys who he is recruiting. They are four-star wing Caleb Williams, four-star center Patrick Ngongba II and four-star guard Jalil Bethea.

The 6-foot-7 Williams, a top-100 overall player, and the 6-foot-10 Ngongba, a top-70 national prospect, were both offered scholarships by the Orange in late April. The 6-foot-4 Bethea, who is trending toward five-star status in his cycle, was offered by the ‘Cuse last September and took an official visit to the Hill the following month.

Freeman, Williams and Ngongba all hail from the fertile Washington, D.C., market, where Syracuse basketball coaches have deep recruiting ties. Those three players all compete for the same AAU squad, the D.C.-based Team Takeover in Nike’s EYBL league.

Freeman is a standout for St. John’s College High School in D.C. Williams is a star for the Sidwell Friends School, also in Washington. Ngongba competes for the St. Paul VI Catholic High School in Chantilly, Va., where Orange head coach Adrian Autry was an assistant coach a while back.

Additionally, both Autry and ‘Cuse assistant coach Brenden Straughn previously served as assistants with the Team Takeover program.

Ngongba, not long after his scholarship offer from the Orange, said that he would like to take a visit to Syracuse basketball at some point. Ngongba also recently told McAllister that “it would definitely be cool to play with” Donnie Freeman at the collegiate level.

Freeman said in his podcast interview with McAllister that he thinks Williams is eyeing a visit to the Hill in the future, too. It would be highly encouraging if the Orange secured visits from both Williams and Ngongba.

While Ngongba and Williams are newer ‘Cuse recruits, Syracuse basketball coaches have prioritized Bethea in this cycle for a long period of time. This spring, he has proven one of the top performers on the AAU circuit.

In grassroots basketball, Bethea competes for the Philadelphia-based Team Final in Nike’s EYBL league. As a junior during the 2022-23 season, he was an All-American for Archbishop Wood Catholic High School in Warminster, Pa.

Bethea has said that he has forged a strong relationship with the Syracuse basketball coaching staff. Simultaneously, as one of the hottest prospects around the country, his offer sheet continues to grow, with relatively new offers from 2023 national champion UConn and 2022 national champ Kansas, among others.

My sense is that beyond Ngongba, Williams and Bethea, the other top 2024 target for Orange coaches is four-star point guard Mikey Lewis, another top performer this spring on the AAU circuit.

The 6-foot-3 Lewis, offered by Syracuse basketball late last month, recently said that the ‘Cuse is among the teams he’s hearing from the most these days. He runs with the Oakland, Calif.-based Oakland Soldiers in Nike’s EYBL league, and Lewis is a rising senior at Accelerated Prep in Lakewood, Colo.

To reiterate, I think it’s unlikely that Syracuse basketball will have five or six high-school commits in its 2024 class. Freeman and Moore are a stellar start for the team in this cycle. I’ll continue to closely monitor the recruiting processes of Lewis, Bethea, Williams and Ngongba.

And let’s give some love to Donnie Freeman, who only recently committed to the Orange and is intent on helping the ‘Cuse land multiple other highly rated prospects in this class. That’s good stuff.

Next. Syracuse Basketball: Latest rankings for 4-star commit Donnie Freeman. dark