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BB Recruiting

“Syracuse basketball is back. We’re coming.” Why Donnie Freeman’s Commitment to the Orange Means More than Most.

On Thursday, Syracuse secured its second commitment of the class of 2024, forward Donnie Freeman from St. John’s High School in Washington D.C., and Team Takeover of Nike EYBL. Freeman joins Elijah Moore as the second four-star to commit to the Orange and new head coach Adrian Autry, who is using his relationship skills at a new level now that he’s the head coach.

“I chose Syracuse because (head) coach (Adrian) Autry has been recruiting me for a very long time and I’ve had the strongest relationship with him out of any other coach,” Freeman said. “Also, bringing (assistant) coach Brendan (Straughn) from St. Joes was huge. The relationship was already there with them and they have great relationships with past DMV players. I felt it was the best opportunity for me to come in, make an immediate impact and achieve my goals.”

With Freeman’s commitment, Syracuse now has the 7th best recruiting class in the 2024 class with its two commitments in a guard/wing and a forward. The key to keeping that class in the upper echelon of the rankings is what Freeman said, the relationships with coaches made along the way. Autry and Straughn have plenty of targets still on their radar in the class, such as Boogie Fland, Jalil Bethea, and others. Here’s what they’re pitching to recruits like Freeman and others:

“The staff wants to get back to the tradition Syracuse has had in the past,” Freeman said. “They told me they will be dropping out of the zone and we’ll see more man principles. This style of play fits me perfectly because I get to show my athleticism, agility, and things like that. No knock on the zone, but man will help me showcase my game better.”

Going back to the past to embrace the future, is a far cry from the product Syracuse has put on the floor over the past few years. Fans should rejoice to hear Freeman say that, because it means SU is embracing college basketball in 2023, and getting up and down the floor, playing more positionless basketball, and other things will make the Orange better in future years.

“They didn’t give me a role, but they just said I’m a hooper so come in, play basketball and do what I do best,” he added. “Of course they’re going to use me to my strengths in certain areas, but they recruited me to expand my game and help me get to the next level.”

Syracuse still has short-term issues with no center on the current roster of starting caliber, but in the long term, SU might be set up for more future success than it has been in a while with this commitment and the youthful nature of the current roster. It could be a fun couple of years in Central New York when Freeman gets to campus.

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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