As you probably realized, we took a couple weeks off here at PackInsider. Of course, during that time news was flooding in. One such headline was the addition of grad-transfer Al Freeman from Baylor. Freeman will be eligible to play this coming season, so how will he fit and what with the Pack need him to provide?
Freeman is a big guard who can shoot it. He’s not overly athletic, and he’s not super quick, but he can get buckets with hands in his face. If you want to draw a comparison, think Trevor Lacey. While Lacey had more smooth of a handle and a prettier jumper, both guys play with a similar style. We’d say Lacey was much more polished and seemed to have that killer instinct as a scorer. It’s not yet known if Freeman is that guy you want shooting your final shot, or if he will rise to the occasion of go-to scorer, but if State is going to be successful he’ll likely have to do both to some extent.
Slotting in as a 2 or a 3 in Keatts system, we believe Freeman will pair well with Torin Dorn’s slashing style of play. He can create his own shot, but he can also shoot it off the catch.
Digging into his stats, Freeman was pretty consistent when he got minutes. During his sophomore campaign, he played 30 minutes per game and averaged 11.3pts on 8.7 shots per game. He shot 42% from the field (which is good) and 38% from 3 (think Terry Henderson consistency from beyond the arc).
His junior year he saw his minutes drop off a bit as more talent was added to the Baylor roster. Freeman played 23 minutes per game and averaged 9.4 points per game. He attempted 2 less shots per game and hit on 43% of them. From 3 pt range he shot 40% as a junior which would have been good for best on NC State’s team last season.
At the end of the day, Freeman is going to be a good addition to this ball club. For the first time in a while NC State isn’t going to have a point guard who dominates possession, which honestly is a good thing. They will rely on guys like Freeman, Dorn and their post guys a lot more. Will it take the Pack’s offense up a notch? Maybe, maybe not, but basketball is a heck of a lot more fun to watch when everyone is involved and the team chemistry is good. I think Keatts will be good on both of those fronts for NC State, and Freeman fits well with that type of situation.