Syracuse basketball ‘family’ for 4-star commit, who just wants to win at IMG

Syracuse basketball, Donnie Freeman (Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball, Donnie Freeman (Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /

Syracuse basketball 2024 commit Donnie Freeman, a four-star power forward from Washington, D.C., just knows how to win.

The 6-foot-9 Freeman, a top-30 national prospect in the senior class, was a key contributor this summer as the D.C.-based Team Takeover scored a 17U championship at Peach Jam on the Nike EYBL circuit in early July.

As a junior in the 2022-23 season, Donnie Freeman earned a ton of accolades for his play, as he helped lead St. John’s College High School in D.C. to a 32-4 overall record, a national top-25 ranking, and the coveted Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (“WCAC”) tournament title.

Now, Freeman has a different challenge ahead of him as he prepares for his senior year during the 2023-24 campaign, which is set to get underway soon for high-school teams around the country.

Syracuse basketball 2024 four-star commit Donnie Freeman talks about the ‘Cuse and his senior term.

Freeman, for 2023-24, transferred from St. John’s College to the powerhouse IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., which competes in the loaded 10-member National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (“NIBC”).

When he announced his move, I talked to a range of national analysts and scouts, and the vast majority of them told me that they believe Donnie Freeman will prove a great fit at IMG, which every year faces a brutal schedule both in NIBC regular-season play as well as at other showcase events.

In 2022-23, IMG went 18-8 overall, finished in a tie for third place within the NIBC and advanced to the semifinals of the eight-team 2023 GEICO Nationals, which annually crowns a national champion in high-school basketball.

Ahead of 2023-24, high-school hoops experts are forecasting IMG to be a top-10 national group, compete for a top-four placement in the NIBC, and be a significant contender to return to the GEICO Nationals next spring.

In a recent interview with scouting service Pro Insight, Donnie Freeman says he’s excited for his senior year at IMG, and he is focused on taking every game step by step, and going one game at a time.

Ultimately, he wants to do whatever he can to help the Ascenders “win every game” and compete for a national title.

Freeman says that he continues to hone his craft, getting stronger, working on his ball-handling and facilitating for his teammates, becoming a better screener, and evolving into an even more complete all-around player.

While he’s laser-focused on IMG winning, he does have some individual goals for his senior stanza that he shared with Pro Insight. He’d like to land invites to three prestigious events – the McDonald’s All-American Game, the Jordan Brand Classic, and the Nike Hoop Summit.

Assuming he shines at IMG against elite competition, I absolutely think that Donnie Freeman will be in the running for those events. Several national analysts and scouts have echoed that sort of sentiment in recent months, by the way.

Not too long ago, Freeman participated at the Wootten 150, an invite-only evaluation camp that was held in Las Vegas and featured top-flight players in the 2024, 2025 and 2026 cycles. Multiple high-school hoops analysts and scouts named him a top performer at the Wootten 150, noting that Freeman was displaying a much-improved perimeter jumper.

Donnie Freeman, for several years, has been touted as a highly rated prospect who is ultra-athletic and can be dominant on both ends of the floor in the paint. If he continues to round out his game by adding in a consistent 3-point shot, man, he’s going to be special when he gets to the Hill.

Speaking of that, when Pro Insight asked Freeman why he verbally committed to the ‘Cuse in May over Alabama, Iowa, Texas and Georgia Tech, he said that it was “almost like a no-brainer for me.”

He called the Orange program “family,” noting that Syracuse basketball offered him a scholarship when he was in the eighth grade. While Freeman picked up his ‘Cuse offer with Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim at the helm of the team, the current Syracuse basketball coaching staff, earlier this year, made it clear that Donnie Freeman was their priority in the 2024 class.

The Orange’s first-year head coach, Adrian Autry, and assistant coach Brenden Straughn both previously served as assistants with the Team Takeover program, so there are a lot of strong recruiting ties between the ‘Cuse and Freeman.

Some NIBC games are expected to air on national broadcasts in 2023-24, so we should get opportunities to watch Donnie Freeman suit up for IMG. I can’t wait for him to don a Syracuse basketball uniform in the future.

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