Syracuse men’s basketball, at least right now, is the de facto story on The Hill. SU football is still a little too far away to get truly excited about, and the men’s lacrosse team has already bombed out of playoff contention. For the foreseeable near future, Jim Boeheim’s team will be the likely subject of conversations both around town and here on the Fizz.
SU men’s hoops’ question of the offseason is how it plans to assemble its roster ahead of early Fall. The Orange have what is now ranked the 17th best incoming recruiting class in the country, but also have a pair of freshman guards vying for a single spot and three freshman forwards – Justin Taylor, Chris Bunch, and Maliq Brown – battling for two wing spots along with sophomore Benny Williams. Jim Boeheim’s usual unwillingness to play freshmen is going to become a factor, but his level of comfort with that notion will become more apparent as SU chooses to tango with the transfer portal or not.
Lost in the shuffle of these questions are the bold moves Syracuse has already taken with some big fish in the Class of ‘24. The 2022-23 season will tell us quite a bit about SU’s immediate future, and the roster plans to be more settled by the time the next incoming class hits campus in the Fall of ‘23. With that in mind, it’s worth taking a look at a few names in the Class of ‘24 that ‘Cuse has kept its eye on.
Elliot Cadeau (5-star, PG)
Cadeau, who stands at 6’1”, doesn’t hail from very far away. The star guard plays his high school ball in Oradell, NJ at Bergan Catholic. Cadeau isn’t just one of the highest-rated recruits in New Jersey – he’s a consensus top player in the Class of ‘24 and is ranked as the No. 1 point guard and No. 9 overall player in the nation by 247Sports.
Cadeau has drawn rave reviews for his ball-handling, defensive prowess, and footwork. His level of talent hasn’t been lost on college basketball’s ranks, either – Cadeau currently owns offers from Providence, Texas Tech, and Tennessee, and he’s only bound to receive more blue-blood interest as the cycle progresses. Syracuse offered Cadeau in early November 2021.
Ian Jackson (5-star, SG)
Jackson is the most recent player on this list to receive an offer from Syracuse. In fact, it hasn’t even been 48 hours since ‘Cuse made its move, and yesterday’s offer serves to mark that SU is doing its due diligence on one of the most sterling gems of the entire class.
The 6’4”, 170-pound Jackson is officially listed as a shooting guard and is ranked as the No. 1 overall guard and player in New York state. The geographical advantages are obviously there for Syracuse, but nabbing the Cardinal Hayes High School star out of the Bronx may prove to be a challenge. The Orange will have to fend off other schools like Kansas, UCLA, and Seton Hall that have already offered Jackson in the cycle. Syracuse may just be kicking the tires on a nearby big name, but netting a player who put up nearly 20 points per game for a nationally-ranked Top 10 high school team would be a massive get.
Donny Freeman (4-star, PF)
Rounding out the list is 4-star power forward Donny Freeman. Freeman, who stands at 6’8” and 190 pounds, would be an obvious candidate to help SU out in the size department – an area that has bedeviled the Orange in their recent past. Unlike Cadeau and Jackson, Freeman doesn’t hail from a nearby state. Instead, Freeman plays his high school ball down at St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C.
Still, 247Sports ranks Freeman No. 28 overall in the nation and as the No. 1 player in D.C. SU offered Freeman way back in August of last year, so Jim Boeheim and company liked what they saw early on. Current center Jesse Edwards’ departure post-2023 would mean a spot at the five would be vacated right in time for Freeman – or perhaps others – to step in and fill the role right away.