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Syracuse Misses Out on Another Four-Star Recruit

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Five games into the season, Judah Mintz and Chris Bell have emerged as the star freshman who took a chance on a Syracuse team that hasn’t won a championship in nearly two decades. This shows that SU is a destination for top recruits who can start right away. The issue with the Orange is outside the 2022 class that includes Mintz, Bell, as well as Justin Taylor, Maliq Brown, Quadir Copeland and Peter Carey. Ever since the six freshman signed, Syracuse has failed to land a high school commit, no matter what their ranking is. That includes a thanksgiving day top five reveal, where four-star power forward Donnie Freeman left out the ‘Cuse.

In this case, earlier interest didn’t lead to a better outcome. Syracuse was one of seven programs to extend an offer to Freeman on December 16th of last year, and only Maryland is still in the race. This is another major defeat for SU taking into account his participation in Syracuse’s annual elite camp back in August of 2021. It’s further proof this unofficial visit ploy of inviting talent to a workout in Central New York is not working. Although it allows the coaching staff to gain a diverse look at the recruiting class, too many players have chose against the Orange for it not to be a noticeable problem.

Let’s dive deeper into what SU lost in Freeman. For a team that has lost so many games due to the rebounding battle, the Orange missed out on a premiere rebounder. Freeman attacks the glass, both on offensive and defensive, without thinking twice. His fight is unteachable. At 6’8, the D.C. native plays above the rim and with intent. Although he isn’t a dangerous threat beyond the arc, his IQ from the midrange and below is unlike many players who star in high school. Freeman is the type of player that doesn’t need to be the hero.

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Syracuse missed out on an athlete who can draw defenders out of position. He is the quintessential power forward in this era of basketball, or in other words, a player who prioritizes rebounding and spacing the floor when the ball is in his hands. Freeman is what Boeheim wants Bell to be from a rebounding perspective, but with a worse shot, which is no knock on the four star’s shooting stroke and more about Bell’s prowess from distance.

A close, recent comparison to Freeman is a more athletic Marek Dolezaj. Now it’s understandable that Dolezaj wasn’t an other-worldly talent, but he played his heart out and averaged five or more rebounds per games in three of his four seasons in Orange. That’s the presence Freeman would bring to the court. The most concerning part is the D.C. native’s stature. But when watching his progression, the class of 2024 recruit is one collegiate program away from adding to his 190-pound frame. Give Freeman one more year of high school averaging a double double per contest and one of the five schools vying for him will have a solid starting power forward for four years.

SU’s future is slowly fading away and if Mintz and Bell are the only key freshman that garner time this year, recruiting becomes an even more important endeavor. Add Mintz’s rising draft stock and a goose egg in the class of 2023 and 2024 looks worse with every passing day.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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