Syracuse Basketball: NBA Draft analyst lauds 4-star commit, 5-star recruit

Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) /

One of the top NBA Draft analysts out there is showering some nice praise in the direction of a Syracuse basketball 2024 four-star commit and an Orange 2024 five-star priority recruit.

The prestigious 2023 Nike Skills Academy has transpired in recent days in Portland, Ore., and some familiar faces are in attendance, according to media reports. On the high-school side, those competing include ‘Cuse 2024 pledge Donnie Freeman from Washington, D.C., and SU 2024 priority target Jalil Bethea out of the Philadelphia area.

Additionally, per social media posts, the college roster at this year’s Nike Skills Academy features Syracuse basketball sophomore point guard Judah Mintz. Jonathan Givony, a well-respected NBA Draft analyst for ESPN, notes that representatives from NBA teams are checking out this showcase event.

In a couple of recent tweets, Givony had positive things to say about the 6-foot-9 Freeman, a four-star power forward, and the 6-foot-4 Bethea, a five-star point guard/shooting guard. Given that NBA reps are watching, this is fabulous news for Donnie and Jalil.

Syracuse basketball commit Donnie Freeman, recruit Jalil Bethea have caught the eye of a top draft analyst.

"In a tweet on August 9, Givony said this about Freeman, who verbally committed to the ‘Cuse in May. “Some eye-opening moments for Syracuse-commit Donnie Freeman at Nike Academy today. 6’9 wing has all kinds of length, defensive versatility and upside. Shot looked good in drills and made some impressive plays as a finisher and rim-protector.”"

Freeman, who earned All-America honors as a junior for the nationally ranked St. John’s College High School in D.C., is hovering around the top 30 within the rising-senior cycle. Personally, I think he can make a push for five-star status with a strong senior season.

Last month, Freeman played a key role in the D.C.-based Team Takeover in Nike’s EYBL league capturing the 17U Peach Jam championship.

Turning to Bethea, on August 8, Givony tweeted out, “Jalil Bethea showed NBA scouts his fluidity, explosiveness and dynamic shooting in the opening session of Nike Academy.”

The videos that Givony put on Twitter regarding Freeman and Bethea are a lot of fun to watch. Syracuse basketball fans are going to love seeing Donnie suit up in a ‘Cuse uniform, and hopefully, Jalil will ultimately join him in the Orange’s 2024 cycle, which also features a verbal commitment from New York City four-star shooting guard Elijah Moore.

Not too long ago, Bethea was also at the 2023 CP3 Elite Guard Camp in Los Angeles, according to reports, along with Mintz and Syracuse basketball sophomore guard J.J. Starling.

"In a tweet from August 5, Givony wrote, “Jalil Bethea showed why he’s a top-ten recruit and one of the fastest rising high school prospects in the country at CP3 elite guard camp. Has elite scoring instincts, a polished pullup game and impressive fluidity as a shot-creator.”"

Bethea is arguably the hottest prospect nationwide in his class. Last fall, when the Orange offered him a scholarship and he took an official visit to the Hill, Bethea was inside the top 100. These days, he is a consensus top-20 overall player, with some recruiting services placing him inside the top 10.

On3 national analyst Jamie Shaw recently told me that Bethea could make a run at the top five across the country in the 2024 cycle. Bethea has a top five of the Orange, Alabama, Kansas, Miami and Villanova; he will reportedly take a second official visit to the SU campus this coming September.

Much like Freeman, Bethea was named an All-American as a junior in the 2022-23 season while starring for Archbishop Wood Catholic High School in Warminster, Pa. In the most recent AAU season, Bethea was one of the leading scorers in the EYBL’s 17U division.

His Nike-sponsored squad, the Philadelphia-based Team Final, won the EYBL regular-season crown and reached the quarterfinals at Peach Jam.

Next. Syracuse Basketball: 4-star commit Elijah Moore scores AAU MVP honors. dark