Syracuse basketball commit, 5-star target vie for McDonald’s All-Americans

Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sport)
Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sport) /

This coming season, 24 of the best high-school players are expected to compete in the prestigious McDonald’s All-America game, and there’s a good chance that this annual event will include some Syracuse basketball recruiting connections.

These two-dozen prospects who will be named McDonad’s All-Americans hail from the 2024 class, where the Orange currently has two four-star verbal commitments and remains in pursuit of a five-star guard.

At present, the ‘Cuse has 2024 verbal pledges from four-star New York City shooting guard Elijah Moore and four-star Washington, D.C., power forward Donnie Freeman.

Additionally, the Orange’s top remaining target in the rising-senior class is five-star guard Jalil Bethea from the Philadelphia area, who has the ‘Cuse in his top five and reportedly plans to take a second official visit to the Hill this coming September.

Syracuse basketball could have some recruiting links to the 2024 McDonald’s All-America game.

In my humble opinion, Bethea is pretty much a lock to be named a McDonald’s All-American. He’s a consensus top-20 overall player in the 2024 cycle, with some recruiting services having him in the top 10.

What’s more, a national recruiting analyst recently told me that Bethea could make a run at top-five status in this class. That being said, Bethea could make his college decision prior to the McDonald’s All-America game taking place, so hopefully he picks the ‘Cuse and represents our beloved program at this prestigious event.

Moore is rated in the top 60 of this cycle by several recruiting services, but he’s not even inside the top 100 at ESPN, which I vehemently disagree with. I am adamant that Moore is vastly underrated in the 2024 cycle, but realistically, I don’t think he’s a significant McDonald’s All-American candidate, at least for the time being.

That brings us to Freeman, who said in recent days that he would transfer for his senior year in the 2023-24 term to the powerhouse IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., which plays numerous games on national broadcasts as a member of the loaded 10-team National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (“NIBC”).

From a 2024 national ratings standpoint, Freeman is a consensus top-45 overall prospect, with several of the primary recruiting services having him around No. 30 nationwide.

MADE Hoops, though, did recently place Freeman inside the top 20 of the rising-senior class. If he shines at IMG, that could boost his national profile (and rankings) and possibly help evolve him into a legit contender for the McDonald’s All-America game.

To that end, I asked 247Sports’ director of scouting Adam Finkelstein about Freeman as it relates to this event, with Finkelstein writing via Twitter, “He should have a chance if he’s very good early (at IMG) I would think.”

So there are a lot of “ifs” here, but here’s a fun scenario. Most importantly, Bethea verbally commits to Syracuse basketball at some point in the future.

Then, both he and Freeman are named McDonald’s All-Americans. That would be a tantalizing development for the Orange’s 2024 recruiting efforts.

Next. Syracuse Basketball: If 5-star commits, 2024 class may be No. 1 nationally. dark