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The importance of staying ready throughout the season cannot be understated and luckily for the Pack Lennard Freeman kept himself in great mental shape as he was thrust into the starting lineup in February. When one analyzes Freeman’s game it is easy to see both his strengths and weaknesses. On the one hand he is an above average defender who uses adequate lateral movement and bulk to frustrate other post players, then offensively he can frustrate any fan with an inexplicable missed layup. The one thing that comes to mind when I think of Freeman is growth, this kid is still young as he is only 19 years old heading into his junior campaign. Here is a breakdown of his sophomore season and what will be an important offseason that will hopefully springboard Freeman into a great last two seasons in the Red and White!

Offense: 

There were glimpses of Lennard having potential offensively as he did display a couple of nice post moves and touch from the block but it was just too far few and in-between. Freeman  hit a couple of 12 to 15 foot jump shots but he just wasn’t consistent enough to warrant any attention from other teams. Take for example the Duke game in the ACC tournament as Coach K was content to let Freeman have free rein as he chose to use a defense that pressured relentlessly on the perimeter while letting Freeman’s man play safety in the paint. The main thing with Freeman is that we do not need him to be a double figure scorer consistently.  We need him to be a threat. If State is going to build upon this season’s success they cannot play four on five on the offensive end next season.

Grade: D+ 

Defense: 

As much as a Freeman was a weak link offensively he was an anchor on the defensive end as he played sound post defense and was versatile enough to guard stretch fours on the perimeter. One thing that I love about Freeman is his willingness to compete on the defensive end and get himself into a stance to move his feet. Lennard was also impressive in the way he talked on defense, he was an excellent communicator as he helped our guards and big men navigate ball screens and switches. Another strength that Freeman gave the Pack was a toughness and the ability to rebound. Although he averaged just over 5 rebounds per game this does not tell the whole story. Many times Freeman prevented his man from getting a rebound that allowed one of his teammates to finish the job. Overall NC State rebounded by committee as Freeman lead the charge for the Pack at 5.6 boards per contest.

Grade: A

Intangibles: 

Freeman is a great example of someone who doesn’t do a lot things that create eye popping statistics but if you ask anyone on the team or coaching staff they will be the first to talk about how integral of a part he is to their success. Every team needs a guy with a blue collar work ethic and that is exactly what NC State gets from Freeman. He is always willing to take on the dirty work, think of him as an offensive lineman in football. Everyone knows that football is a game won at the point of attack on the line of scrimmage and basketball isn’t that different as a team must be able to rebound and keep their opponents off of the offensive glass in order to win. Freeman goes about his work quietly and is low maintenance which adds to the team camaraderie. I honestly don’t think our team finishes as strongly without Gottfried’s decision to thrust Freeman into the starting lineup as he opted to go with a more defensive front court.

Grade: A 

Offseason Checklist: 

The biggest thing Freeman needs to improve is his touch around the rim. He should have to make 250 shots everyday inside the paint with both hands. He also needs to have someone pushing him and giving him contact so he can start to use his 250 pound frame to his advantage. Lennard is blessed with a big thick frame that should allow him to be an efficient finisher underneath! He also possesses above average hops, look back at some of his strong dunks and tip-slams. If Freeman can improve his finishing he should be able to use his face up game to attack the rim and bully his way inside to get some easy lay-ins which will open up the offense for our guards and whoever is flanking him in the post. Lennard can easily turn his D+ grade offensively into a solid B if he uses this offseason to fine tune his craft and learns how to use his size to his advantage.

A good player who he should look at to model his game after is DeJuan Blair. Like Freeman, Blair is an undersized power forward who has learned how to use his big frame and backside to neutralize bigger defenders. Throughout his career DeJuan Blair has exceeded expectations with hard work and being crafty which resulted in a heralded college career at Pittsburgh and he has carved out a niche in the NBA off the bench. Freeman has the potential and ability to be one of the most improved players for the Pack next season if he works efficiently this offseason.

 

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wolfpack74
wolfpack74
9 years ago

blow000 He already was a solid 10/10 player in grade school.

blow000
blow000
9 years ago

The 7 point a game scorer gives up 14 points a game on defense. Sure he comes in and blocks a shot or two, but after he misses a couple of ill advised 18 foot shots, he quits on defense, and mopes around. Freeman at least plays hard on the defensive end all the time. With more paintence on offense, I see freeman being a solid 10pt/10reboumd player.

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
9 years ago

wulfpacker wolfpack74 Freeman, 55% missed layups, 50% missed free throws, no threes made or attempted (thank god); more TO’s than assists.  Tyler Harris 74% free throws made; 29% threes made.  I have decided, bring back the transfer.

wulfpacker
wulfpacker
9 years ago

wolfpack74 wulfpacker Ryan Harrow was playing at a lower D1 program, plus Gottfried wasn’t even on campus a month and he chose to leave. I think Washington could of been good but he like all these kids chose to leave instead of taking a challenge. Rodney Purvis scored 11.6 a game and shot 42 % from field, 36% from 3, and 53% from free throw line. Oh and he averaged more turnovers than assists! Freeman was a three star recruit who classified up a grade. He was playing at Oak Hill.  Tyler Harris, 42 % from fg, 28% from 3. Again… Read more »

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
9 years ago

wulfpacker wolfpack74 You say Washington was terrible on defense.  Yet Harrell in the last Louisville game scored 24 points and I don’t remember Washington covering Harrell that night.   But if he did, it was for only nine minutes.  In the LSU game, the bigs for LSU scored 28 points.  Again Washington played 12 minutes.  Let’s blame all their points on Washington while he was sitting on the bench.  Bullshit on the theory he was worse on defense than the other three guys.  The other comparisons came from SBNation not me.  I like Abu.  Anya needs to keep losing weight. Now… Read more »

wulfpacker
wulfpacker
9 years ago

wolfpack74 Washington was terrible on defense. So what if he blocked a couple of shots…how many of those blocks did we retain possession? Also Gottfried has no control of Lacey leaving. Trevor sees that his stock will not get any higher so he might as well go ahead and start making money overseas. As for the high Turnover how many of the guys that have transferred out have been great at other places??? Rodney didn’t look good this season. Tyler Harris never looked great. Jayquan Raymond wasn’t an ACC caliber player. Tyler Lewis remains to be seen. Plus you say… Read more »

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
9 years ago

Let’s see about Freeman.  Can’t shot from the floor therefore we play 4 on 5 on the offensive end.  Duke used that scheme to blow us away in ACC tournament.  Can’t shot free throws, therefore he can’t be on the floor near the end of tight games.  With the loss of Kyle (due to the infinite wisdom of the coaching staff), Freeman will get more time to show that intangibles don’t produce baskets and wins.  When did his defensive skills ever win us a game.  According to SBNation Washington actually was a slightly more efficient scorer than Abu and that was… Read more »

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
9 years ago

Freeman is one of the harder guys to evaluate on this team due to the fact that he was rarely part of the offense. He was the glue guy, the guy that did the dirty work, the guy that never complained. I would give him an overall rating of B.  As stated, he could certainly use more work on the offensive end but I thought he made some progress this season as he added a pump fake and reverse layup to his repertoire. I don’t think that he’ll make any big leaps next season in terms of his offense but… Read more »

NC State Basketball

Bowling Green Transfer Guard Marcus Hill is on a Visit to NC State

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Bowling Green Transfer Guard Marcus Hill (6’4″/185) confirmed with me that he is currently on a visit at NC State.

Hill averaged 20.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game for the Falcons this season. He earned 1st Team All-MAC honors. Even though he was only at Bowling Green one season, he had one of the best seasons in school history, scoring 698 points, which ranks 5th all-time in program history for a single season.

For his first two years of collegiate ball, Hill played for Southern Union State College (JUCO) in Alabama. In 2022-23, Hill earned 3rd Team NJCAA All-American honors, and ranked as the #32 overall Junior College prospect.

247Sports ranks Hill as a 4-Star Transfer Prospect, and the #78 overall player in the Transfer Portal, and the #11 Shooting Guard.

According to a source, the NC State Coaching Staff is extremely high on Hill, and they are recruiting him as a Point Guard.

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NC State Basketball

What did an ACC Title & Final Four Mean to NC State Legend Dennis Smith Jr.?

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What did an ACC Title & Final Four mean to NC State Legend Dennis Smith Jr.? The man who won the ACC Rookie of the Year Award in 2017 gave me a statement.

It means a lot. It means a lot to the university, the state of North Carolina and a lot more to my dad, grandma, and myself. They have been NC State fans since forever, so their excitement level was though the roof when they saw BOTH of our basketball teams shining like that. It was a great feeling!

2017 was Smith Jr.’s only year of College ball, averaging 18.1 points, 6.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.9 steals. He earned 2nd Team All-ACC honors, and obviously, he earned a spot on the ACC All-Freshman Team.

DSJ was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the 9th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Smith Jr. just wrapped up his 7th season in the NBA. This was his 1st season with Brooklyn, playing in 56 games for the Nets. He averaged 6.6 points, 3.6 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game, averaging 18.9 minutes per contest.

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NC State Basketball

NC State’s DJ Horne Named to Portsmouth Invitational All-Tournament Team

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NC State’s DJ Horne played in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament this weekend, and he was named to the All-Tournament Team.

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In 3 games, Horne averaged 14.3 points, shooting 41.5% from the field, and 30% from three.

Horne’s Portsmouth Partnership team made it to the finals, but lost to Jani-King 68-75.

The Portsmouth Invitational is an annual pre-draft camp that has been showcasing College Seniors to professional scouts since 1953.

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NC State Basketball

NC State Has Shown Interest in Utah Guard Transfer Deivon Smith

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NC State has reached out to Utah Transfer Guard Deivon Smith (6’0″/173).

Smith filled up the stat sheet every game this year, averaging 13.3 points, 7.1 assists and 6.3 rebounds, shooting 46.7% from the field and 40.8% from three for Utah. He earned All-Pac 12 Honorable Mention this season. Smith had 8 double-doubles and 1 triple-double this year.

Wherever Smith lands, this will be his 4th college. He started at Mississippi St., starting in 8 of the 33 games he played in, averaging 22.5 minutes per game. Smith went on to spend his next two seasons at Georgia Tech. Year 1 in Atlanta, Smith started in 5 of the 24 games he played in, averaging 19.7 minutes per game. In Year 2, he carved out more of a role, starting in 13 of the 24 games he played in for the Yellow Jackets, averaging a career high 24.8 minutes per game.

At Utah this year, Smith broke out and had a career year in every possible way.

NC State is familiar with Smith, offering him back when he was a 4-Star prospect out of Grayson High School in Loganville, Georgia. Rivals ranked Smith as the #53 overall player nationally in the 2020 recruiting class. ESPN ranked him as the #5 player in the state of Georgia. 247Sports ranked him as the #11 Point Guard in his class.

 

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