Syracuse Basketball: 5-star Donnie Freeman, IMG to compete for national championship

Syracuse basketball 2024 five-star signee Donnie Freeman and his IMG teammates will compete for a national title.
Syracuse basketball 2024 five-star signee Donnie Freeman and his IMG teammates will compete for a national title. / Jonah Hinebaugh/Naples Daily News / USA

It’s proven quite a run for Syracuse basketball 2024 signee Donnie Freeman over the past two years.

As a junior during the 2022-23 season, the 6-foot-9 Freeman guided St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., to a 32-4 overall record, a top-25 national ranking, and the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (“WCAC”) tournament title.

Last summer on the AAU circuit, the five-star power forward helped lead the Washington-based Team Takeover to the prestigious Peach Jam crown in the 17U division on Nike’s EYBL circuit.

Now, as a senior in the current 2023-24 campaign, the top-10 national prospect and his teammates at the powerhouse IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., will compete for a high school national championship early next month.

Absolutely, positively tremendous.

Syracuse basketball commit Donnie Freeman will vie for a national title.

This week, the eight-team field of the 2024 Chipotle Nationals was disclosed. The annual spring event crowns a high school national champion.

IMG, which competes in the country’s top high school conference, earned an invite to the upcoming Chipotle Nationals, which will take place from April 4 to April 6 at Brownsburg High School in Brownsburg, Ind., near Indianapolis.

Freeman, who is officially signed with the ‘Cuse, transferred to IMG for his senior term. The Ascenders are part of the loaded 14-member Nike Elite Youth Basketball League Scholastic (“EYBL Scholastic”).

The EYBL Scholastic recently finished its 2023-24 regular season. IMG, in league games, sported a 7-5 mark, which put the Ascenders in a tie for the No. 5 position in the EYBL Scholastic regular-season standings.

Freeman, meanwhile, proved one of the top all-around players in the EYBL Scholastic as a senior. Facing elite competition, he was among the leading scorers and rebounders in this top-flight conference.

Recently, several high school hoops experts shared with me their thoughts about which powerhouse programs may get bids to the Chipotle Nationals.

IMG was by no means a lock to secure a berth, however, the Ascenders came on strong toward the end of the regular season.

In early March, at the Pete Hollis Invitational in Greenville, S.C., IMG notched a couple of key victories, including one over another squad potentially in the hunt for a Chipotle Nationals invite, the La Lumiere School from La Porte, Ind.

When the Ascenders defeated La Lumiere, 72-63, Freeman was at his best, tallying a ridiculous 35 points, 16 rebounds and two assists. He went 16-of-23 from the field.

Based on its late charge in the regular season, IMG moved into the top 10 of ESPN’s top-25 national rankings. And, this week, the Ascenders found out that they would play in early April’s Chipotle Nationals, which is fabulous.

Now, getting selected for this eight-team event is one thing, but cutting down the nets is a whole different story.

In its opening affair of the Chipotle Nationals, during the quarterfinal round, the No. 7 seed IMG will take on the No. 2 seed, St. Paul VI Catholic High School in Chantilly, Va.

This enticing encounter will be on Thursday, April 4, beginning at 2 pm and with television coverage on ESPNU. St. Paul VI, by the way, has a stacked 2023-24 roster that includes two 2026 prospects who hold scholarship offers from Syracuse basketball.

They are five-star shooting guard Jordan Smith Jr., who has said he wants to visit the ‘Cuse at some point, and fast-rising point guard Anthony Brown, who in late August of 2023 took an unofficial visit to the Hill to compete in the Orange’s annual Elite Camp.

Beyond the Chipotle Nationals, Freeman has been selected to play in the upcoming McDonald’s All-America game in Houston, the Jordan Brand Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the Allen Iverson Roundball Classic in Hampton, Va.

A huge congrats from ‘Cuse Nation to Donnie on his spectacular senior season.

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