Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Austin Freeman is underrated

Austin Freeman won't show up on many all-american ballots. He hasn't really been mentioned as a first-team all-Big East performer, let alone conference player of the year.

If you haven't watched Georgetown play this season, you may not even know the name Austin Freeman. One prominent ESPN writer went as far as to call him "Justin Freeman" in a tweet during last night's game. Its not a difficult argument to make that Freeman is the most underrated player in the Big East, and possibly even in the country.

Its easy to see why.

Freeman plays in a Georgetown system that preaches team play, ball movement, and working to find the team's best shot. In Greg Monroe, he has a teammate that is the next great Georgetown big man, an eventual lottery pick, and a virtual certainty to finish on the all-Big East first team. Hell, his back court mate Chris Wright has gotten more press this season, mainly because Georgetown's ability to win coincides with Wright's ability to score in double figures (when he does, the Hoyas have only lost once).

So would it surprise you that Freeman is Georgetown's leading scorer at just over 17 ppg? That he shoots 54% from the floor, 48% from three, and 84% from the line? That he is Georgetown's most dangerous offensive weapon?

But what makes Freeman so dangerous is how unselfish he is and how well he understands the Georgetown offense. It is rare to see Freeman take a forced shot outside of the Hoya's system.

"He's a smart basketball player," Georgetown coach John Thompson told reporters after the game. "He sees, he understands. He's an unselfish player."

"He's one of those guys who can go into an aggressive mode, yet he's not going to make too many mistakes, he's not going to make too many bad decisions."

That's what makes him so dangerous.

And Rick Pitino found out the hard way. Last night, with the Hoyas struggling through a first half that saw them get down by double figures and head into the break down 35-29 at Louisville. In the second half, Freeman took over. He scored the first eight points of the half, and had 18 of the 24 in a 24-3 run by the Hoyas as they opened up a 53-38 lead. All told, Freeman scored 24 of his 29 points in the second half.

And if you go back and watch it, you will see that none of his shots are forced. Nothing he puts up comes outside of Georgetown's offense. He caught fire, but it wasn't the way most scorers take over a game. He doesn't dominate possession of the ball, he doesn't ruin the flow offensively.

He just knocks down shots.

"He got going coming out of halftime - I told him I need you to be aggressive," Thompson said. "He can be aggressive and not force it. He can be aggressive and yet still make the correct pass to his teammate."

Its not the first time Freeman has taken over a game. He had 28 of his 33 points in the second half as Georgetown overcame a 19 point deficit to beat UConn in January.

Jeff Goodman dubbed Freeman the "silent assassin", while Raphielle Johnson said Freeman had "quiet game."

This is a kid that averages 17.5 ppg in the Big East for a top 15 team.

Maybe its time we show him some love.

1 comment:

Troy Machir said...

like I always say: "it's not Austin Freeman, it's Awesome Threeman"