Syracuse basketball staff checks out four-star, top-75 players in D.C. area

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

A couple of days ago, the fall recruiting period opened up, and Syracuse basketball coaches were recently in attendance at open gyms to check in on a pair of 2025 four-star prospects from the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

To date, the Orange has offered scholarships to at least 16 players in the junior class of which I’m aware. Two of them are 2025 four-star combo guard Derek Dixon and 2025 four-star forward Cam Ward, both of whom are top-75 national prospects in this cycle and hail from the talent-rich D.C. market.

According to posts on X, the ‘Cuse coaching staff in recent days was in attendance at open gyms conducted by Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C., as well as Largo High School in Upper Marlboro, Md.

The 6-foot-4 Dixon is a standout for Gonzaga, while the 6-foot-7 Ward is a star for Largo.

Syracuse basketball coaches continue to recruit the D.C. market extremely hard.

Orange coaches offered a scholarship to Ward in late April. Dixon picked up his ‘Cuse scholarship offer on June 15, when the contact period for the 2025 class opened up, enabling college coaches to initiate direct communication with prospects in this cycle.

Ward is a highly athletic, prolific-scoring player who averaged more than 25 points per game as a sophomore at Largo. In the most recent AAU season, he earned high marks from analysts and scouts for his play as a member of the Oxon Hill, Md.-based Team Durant in Nike’s EYBL league.

To date, Ward’s offer sheet includes Saint Louis, Notre Dame, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Penn State, Kansas State, Texas A&M, Old Dominion, Texas, Iowa, Providence, Tennessee, VCU, Georgetown, Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, George Mason, George Washington and Bryant, among others.

In mid-August, On3 national analyst Joe Tipton said on X that Ward plans to officially visit Notre Dame on September 16-17 and Florida State on October 13-14. Ward has taken unofficial visits to Maryland and Georgetown.

Dixon is a fast-rising prospect in the 2025 class. He performed well this spring and summer for the D.C.-based Team Takeover on the EYBL circuit. The Syracuse basketball coaching staff has deep ties to Team Takeover.

Orange junior forward Benny Williams and sophomore wing Justin Taylor suited up for Team Takeover in recent years. In early July, ‘Cuse 2024 commit Donnie Freeman, a four-star power forward, was a key contributor as Team Takeover’s 17U squad won a coveted Peach Jam championship in the Nike league.

Dixon’s offer list includes Miami, Mississippi State, Virginia, Villanova, Xavier, Penn State, Maryland, Providence, Saint Joseph’s, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, Kansas State, Bryant, George Mason, Fordham, East Carolina and Norfolk State.

I’ve seen at least one report, if not more, since he was offered by Syracuse basketball indicating that there was mutual interest among the Orange and Dixon about him possibly visiting the Hill at some point. In late August, recruiting analyst Jake Lieberman said on X that Dixon was eyeing visits to Virginia, Pittsburgh and Villanova.

On Wednesday, 247Sports updated its national rankings for the 2025 class. Dixon arrived at No. 74 overall, No. 9 at combo guard and No. 2 in D.C. Ward checked in at No. 65 nationwide, No. 14 at power forward and No. 1 in Maryland.

Of the primary recruiting services, No. 74 via 247Sports seems to be the highest national rating for Dixon. ESPN, meanwhile, presently has Ward at No. 39 overall in this cycle.

Both of these talented 2025 players have a flood of offers, so unless Syracuse basketball is able to get them to Central New York for visits, I would assume it would prove tough for the Orange to prevail in either prospect’s recruitment.

By the way, credit goes to Gonzaga head coach Steve Turner for noting on X that the ‘Cuse was among the college teams at his open gyms this week. Top recruiting analyst/scout Colby Giacubeno posted on X that Syracuse basketball, and others, were at Largo open gyms in recent days.

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