IMG Academy is one of the top athletic prep schools in the country. It has produced numerous top-tier recruits over the years, including four of the top 43 players in the class of 2022. Among Syracuse players, Justin Taylor, Quadir Copeland, and Benny Williams are all products of the school. Two of those recruits were among Jim Boeheim’s self-proclaimed “best recruiting class ever” in 2022. Well, the class of 2024 isn’t off to a bad start either, and one of the Orange’s new faces just made a move all three of those players can appreciate.
Donnie Freeman has already had an incredibly strong summer with how well he has played on the AAU Circuit and has seen his stock rise because of it. Transferring to such a high-caliber school should keep that rise going.
As can be expected, the opponents IMG Academy plays on a yearly basis are talented. The 2023-24 schedule hasn’t been released yet, but highlights from last season include Cooper Flagg’s school Montverde, JJ Starling’s old home La Lumiere, and Wasatch- Chris Bell’s former team in Utah. It’s more than safe to assume that with Freeman in tow this season, the competition should be just as loaded. No disrespect to St. John’s in DC, which had an awesome season last year, Freeman will get more attention- which he deserves- in Florida.
A big question from this becomes whether Freeman can attract more top-tier recruits playing at IMG? Khani Rooths, the number 32 prospect in the class of 2024, will also be playing his senior season there. Syracuse has not entered its name in the race yet, but the competition isn’t exactly nerve-wracking so far. Maryland, Indiana, Miami, and Xavier are the only four schools that made the NCAA Tournament last year to have offered Rooths, and it certainly isn’t too late for the Orange to get involved. This doesn’t just apply to 2024 either. Might Freeman sway some recruits from future classes to potentially join him in Central New York? The IMG-to-Syracuse pipeline has been a big one in years past, this could lead to it continuing down the line.
Want more? There’s a history of former IMG products developing into impact players at SU. The best example? Jesse Edwards. The Flying Dutchman turned into a key member of the Orange in his final two seasons, even if the first two weren’t as pretty. That’s great news for Freeman, who may not need as much time as Edwards to develop but the track record shows it. That could also foreshadow great play in the futures of Taylor, Copeland, and Williams. Things tend to work out well in the IMG-to-Syracuse pipeline, Freeman could be the next to prove that.
Freeman had an excellent high school season in 2022-23. His team went 32-4 and even knocked off IMG Academy in early January. But this could affect Freeman’s future stock along with that of his teammates and benefit SU’s recruiting hunts in future classes. It’s hard to complain about this move if you’re an Orange fan.