The Wolfpacker

May 2013 Wolfpacker

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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2013 basketball recruiting issue Glue Guy NC State Lands Power Forward Lennard Freeman In Spring Signing Period N By Jacey Zembal C State searched this past winter to find one more big man for its collection, and finally found what it was looking for this spring. The Wolfpack added to its 2013 recruiting class, which was ranked No. 15 nationally by as of April 29, with a verbal commitment from senior power forward Lennard Freeman of Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill Academy. The 6-9, 245-pound Freeman officially visited Pittsburgh April 25-27 and then played in the Capital Classic all-star game April 28 with former Team Takeover teammate BeeJay Anya of Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic, who signed with NC State last November. Freeman, who was back home with his family in Washington, D.C., for the all-star game, called NC State head coach Mark Gottfried late on the night of April 28 to let him know he was ready to join the Wolfpack family. After his flight arrived in Charlotte — from where he made his way back to Mouth of Wilson — he made sure to call the other colleges and then shared his news on Twitter April 29. "I'm speechless after watching things like this [playing at NC State] on TV, and then to actually play for them next year, I don't even know what to say," said Freeman, who is rated as a three-star prospect by "The opportunity is there with C.J. [Leslie] and [Richard] Howell leaving, and there is an open spot. They don't have many bigs." Gottfried and assistant coach Rob Moxley watched Freeman play with Oak Hill Academy and closed hard to get their future power forward. "I have a good relationship with Coach Moxley and Coach Gottfried,," Freeman said. "The fan support down there is crazy. "After the Pittsburgh visit, I just sat down and talked to my AAU coaches and high school coach and family. I was like, 'I just want to make this happen.'" Freeman officially visited NC State the weekend of April 12, and picked the Wolfpack over Pitt, Villanova, Seton Hall, UAB and DePaul. He also unofficially visited Raleigh Feb. 19 for the NC State-Florida State game. "That was my second visit, and I didn't know for real about NC State," Freeman said. "I wanted to give everybody an equal chance. I was still debating prep school, too. "Oak Hill has prepped me for being away from my parents. I know I have to get bigger, stronger and more mature. I'm going to be a freshman playing with grown people now, but I think I can adapt pretty quick." Freeman attended St. John's College in Washington, D.C., before the 17-year-old made the move to Oak Hill Academy. He originally pondered the idea of doing a postgraduate year and moving to the class of 2014, but reconsidered in early April. He plans to major in business management. "People were telling me that I couldn't get any bigger than that with the college offers," Freeman said. "They said I was more mature than I thought. I just said, 'All right, I'll just give up on prep school.' I don't know what could happen next year; maybe I'd lose my scholarships. "My mom is pretty excited about it. If I'm happy, she's happy. She just wants me to earn a degree." Freeman's commitment continues the recent trend of NC State both mining the Team Takeover program and building a successful recruiting relationship with Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill Academy. Freeman is the second Oak Hill product to select the Wolfpack in the last two years, following rising sophomore point guard Tyler Lewis. The pipeline could continue with both programs in the future. NC State star junior commitments Caleb Martin and Cody Martin of Mocksville, N.C., will be making the move to Oak Hill Academy next year. Having both Anya and Freeman from the Team Takeover program builds a good precedent for the future. The Wolfpack is also hoping to land sophomores Franklin Howard and Marcus Derrickson of Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI, who play on Team Takeover 16s and Team Takeover 17s, respectively, this year. Oak Hill Academy head coach Steve Smith is already pondering a lineup of Lewis, the Martin twins and Freeman, on the court for the Wolfpack one day. "I'd really like that, and I would be a proud coach," Smith said. "Hopefully, that will happen one day." Team Takeover head coach Keith Stevens believes Freeman, who will turn 18 this December, has his best ball in front of him. "He's long and physically strong," Stevens said. "He's a lot better than everybody thinks. Freeman, who is listed as a three-star recruit by, selected NC State over Pittsburgh, Villanova, Seton Hall, UAB and DePaul. photo courtesy He'll be a more athletic Richard Howell-kind of player. His body has developed, and he can defend the post and rebound the basketball. "He has crazy upside. A lot of people will look back and say, 'I wish I had recruited him.'" Stevens credits Gottfried and Moxley for keeping Anya and Freeman together. "I think that will make the adjustment easier when you have somebody there that you know," Stevens said. "I think they'll challenge and make each other better. "Eventually, they'll have a nice group of big men to help them recruit in the ACC. Coach Moxley knows what our program can do and what I'm all about. He knows what the kids that come to this program are all about." Smith praised Freeman for his continual progress during his first season at Oak Hill Academy. "He came on through the course of our season and played extremely well the last 1520 games," Smith said. "He averaged probably six points and six rebounds the first part of the year, and probably a double-double at the end. He vastly improved his offensive game. "Freeman can defend, he'll rebound, and he can step out and guard a three, four or five. He'll rebound his position no matter where he is on the floor. Offensively, he's more of a power forward. He is one of those guys that doesn't care about shots and will play with his back to the basket." ■ 28  ■  the wolfpacker 28.Lennard Freeman.indd 28 4/30/13 2:39 PM

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