Syracuse basketball 5-star commit would love to play with 5-star transfer Malik Mack

Syracuse basketball 2024 5-star commit Donnie Freeman says he'd love to play with Harvard 5-star PG transfer Malik Mack.
Syracuse basketball 2024 5-star commit Donnie Freeman says he'd love to play with Harvard 5-star PG transfer Malik Mack. / Bobby Goddin/Herald-Times / USA TODAY

With sophomore Judah Mintz likely not returning to Syracuse basketball for the 2024-25 season, Orange coaches are on the hunt for a talented point guard for next term, whether securing one through the transfer portal or at the high school level.

Since the transfer portal opened on Monday, March 18, running for 45 days, a lot of 'Cuse fans have expressed that they'd like to see the Orange potentially land one of the top point guards in the portal, five-star transfer prospect Malik Mack.

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Mack had a terrific freshman year at Harvard, scoring Ivy League rookie of the year honors. In the 2023-24 stanza, he averaged 33.3 minutes, 17.2 points, 4.8 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals per affair, while connecting on 41.0 percent from the field, 34.1 percent from beyond the arc, and 81.3 percent from the free-throw line, according to ESPN data.

Mack is from Oxon Hill, Md., in the loaded Washington, D.C., market, and that's a region where Syracuse basketball coaches have deep recruiting ties. He's also a former teammate in D.C. of 'Cuse 2024 commit Donnie Freeman, a five-star power forward who discussed Mack a little bit in a recent podcast interview.

Syracuse 2024 signee Donnie Freeman says he talks with five-star PG transfer Malik Mack.

Freeman has spent his senior year at the powerhouse IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and I noted in another column on Wednesday that he has proven brilliant in 2023-24.

Before transferring to IMG, though, Freeman suited up at St. John’s College High School in D.C. In the 2022-23 campaign, Freeman was a junior at St. John’s, while Mack was a senior. They helped lead St. John’s to a 32-4 overall record, a top-25 national ranking, and the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (“WCAC”) tournament title.

In 2022-23, both Mack and Freeman received inclusion on the WCAC All-League first team. Both of these players have also competed on the AAU circuit for the Washington-based Team Takeover in Nike’s EYBL league, an excellent grassroots basketball program where 'Cuse head coach Adrian Autry and assistant coach Brenden Straughn previously served as assistants.

Recently, Freeman touched on a variety of topics in a podcast interview with the X account Light It Up Sports. I highly recommend carving out some time to check it out.

Freeman says that he does talk to Mack, adding that he would love to play with him at Syracuse basketball in the upcoming stanza. Since the transfer portal opened, Orange coaches have reached out to a variety of college players, including some guards.

However, it's unclear to me if the 'Cuse is showing interest in Mack, but it wouldn't surprise me if Syracuse basketball coaches are in pursuit of him. What's more, multiple national analysts have noted of late that Mack's recruitment has proven close to the vest.

While Mack was a three-star prospect coming out of high school in the 2023 class, his national transfer rankings are impressive. When I wrote this article on Wednesday, had him as five stars and No. 6 nationally.

Over at 247Sports, he arrived as four stars, No. 15 nationally and No. 3 at point guard. On3 rated Mack as four stars, No. 12 nationwide and No. 1 at point guard.

Freeman is one of two high school seniors who are officially signed with the Orange in its 2024 class. The other is four-star shooting guard Elijah Moore from New York City. Freeman says that he's excited to suit up alongside Moore, whose lethal outside shooting will help space the floor for Freeman and other 'Cuse players.

Last week, Colorado senior center Eddie Lampkin Jr., a four-star prospect in the transfer portal, said he was committing to the Orange, an important development given that several 'Cuse big men have hit the portal this off-season. Freeman says that Lampkin will prove key as the team looks to improve in the rebounding arena during the 2024-25 term.

Looking ahead to next season, Freeman says his goals include helping the Orange win an Atlantic Coast Conference title, returning to March Madness after a three-year absence, and going on a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. In short, he wants to do whatever he can to help Syracuse basketball get back to a "winning culture."

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