In just two and a half months, Adrian Autry has remade Syracuse’s roster for the short term, while also prioritizing long-term sustainability in the process. Autry has added three guards and a center to next year’s roster, reaffirmed the commitment of guard Elijah Moore in the 2024 class, and added Donnie Freeman, a top-40 forward, to that 2024 class. But, the work is far from done to build for the future as Autry and his staff want to add to Moore and Freeman.
Not only is the coaching staff working hard on the recruiting trail, but Freeman is too. He plays for Team Takeover on the AUU circuit, which assistant coach Brendan Straughn has a lot of familiarity with and connections to. Plus, by the time the class of 2024 freshmen get on campus, Syracuse’s roster will have changed because there is always change in college basketball via the transfer portal. That’s why Freeman getting to work is important on several Syracuse targets.
“I’m recruiting two players from my team (Team Takeover) really hard,” Freeman told SI. “I’m recruiting Caleb Williams (2024 forward) really hard. He’s probably going to put it out himself, but he’s eyeing a visit I think. He’s eyeing a visit sometime soon. When he locks that in, I’m assuming he’s going to put it out himself, but I’m recruiting Caleb Williams really hard. Big Pat (Patrick Ngongba, 2024 center), I’m recruiting really hard too. I would love to play with both of those guys. On the guard side, Jalil Bethea. He’s a guard for Team Final, he lit last session up. Averaged like 23 points. I’m trying to get him as well. That’s really how we’re looking right now.”
Williams is ranked 95th in the class according to 247 Sports, Ngongba 66th, and Bethea 50th. All players would be a major boost to a Syracuse class that currently ranks 7th in the nation thanks to the pledges of Freeman and Moore. Recruiting has taken a boost since Autry became the head coach, and especially in the portal, the head coach has relied on previous relationships to land players such as JJ Starling, Chance Westry, and Kyle Cuffe Jr.
NIL is very important in today’s landscape of college basketball and especially in recruiting, but it’s evident that relationships might be just as vital, and that Autry and his staff’s prior relationships with players they recruited in high school have helped them big-time, and that’s something that will assist SU in years to come.
Other 2024 prospects on the Orange’s radar include five-star guard Boogie Fland, who ranks 6th overall in the class according to 247 Sports, Mikey Lewis, a four-star guard who cited Syracuse as one of three schools recruiting him the hardest right now, and a handful of other east coast players. That’s the area of focus for Syracuse right now, and we’ll see how many more players pledge to the Orange in the next few months. But, right now, the momentum is positive for Autry and the reviews are high. We’ll see what happens, but SU seems to be back on the right track.
“Syracuse basketball is back,’’ Freeman said after making his announcement in a live stream on 247Sports.com. “That’s my goal. To bring home a national championship.’’