German star Richard Freudenberg commits to St. John's

Four-star wing Richard Freudenberg spurned staying in Germany and playing professional basketball to commit to Chris Mullin and St. John's.

Four-star German wing Richard Freudenberg verbally committed to Chris Mullin and St. John's early Thursday morning, he told Scout.

“In the recruiting period I wanted to pick out one college and choose between staying here in Munich and sign a pro contract or go to college, so I decided for St. John’s,” Freudenberg told Scout. “Obviously the coaching staff is huge. Playing for Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond is amazing.”

St. John’s already has a roster full of international based prospects and that stuck out to Freudenberg, who has lived in Munich, Germany for the past eight years.

“They had a lot of European players committing the year before, which I know,” he said. “I played against Federico Mussini in Europe a few years ago and I saw Yankuba Sima playing in the U19 World Championships and that was a big factor too.”

“When I visited St. John’s, I met all of those guys and I just felt comfortable in the group,” he added. “It felt like, well I don’t want to say like home, but it actually does.”

Freudenberg, a 6-foot-8, possibly 6-9 wing, had a host of college options at the high major level. To go with an official visit to St. John’s, he also took visits a pair of visits to Vanderbilt, as well as trips to Boston College and Miami.

But the decision wasn’t easy and it also included an option to stay in Germany and sign a professional deal.

“I talked to them over the whole last year and for me it wasn’t about making money or signing a big contract,” Freudenberg said. “For me I feel like I’m young and I’m 17 and I just wanted to do something next to basketball. In Germany we say to have a second leg.”

“For me I want to play basketball and when I’m getting to prime age, I want to play pro,” he added. “But it can all turn in a second. You can injure yourself and can’t play basketball anymore. So for me it was about going to a university and to have something other than basketball. That’s why I see college the best."

St. John’s assistant Matt Abdelmassih was the point man on Freudenberg’s recruitment and he made a trip to Germany to meet with him and his family.

“I talked a lot to Matt and he was pretty nice to me and he came over to Germany,” he said. “From there, I met coach Mullin and it was great. We played a best of five series of horse and I actually lost 3-2, but that’s OK. I think I was doing great for that.”

On the court, Freudenberg is known for his shooting. Jonathan Givony, the owner and lead scout for Draft Express, watched him play this past week and also walked away impressed with his athleticism.

“He’s got great size for the position,” Givony told Scout. He’s grown. I think he’s 6-9 now. His body has filled out. He’s on the skinny side. It’s going to fill out and it’s going to take a few years and I think that’s something they can really help him with. Also he’s very athletic. He can really get up and down the floor. He can get up around the rim. He moves well and he’s got a beautiful stroke that is absolutely picture perfect. He can come off screens, gets it off quick and can shoot off the dribble.”

“He competes on defense and he’s going to have to get stronger and more experienced playing against better competition. But I consider him a NBA prospect. I don’t know how quickly it’ll happen for him, but I’ll be watching very closely.”

Freudenberg currently plays on Bayern Muenchen’s second team. He also played for Germany’s U18 team in the FIBA European Championships this past year. He averaged five points and nearly three rebounds through nine games in the event.

Freudenberg said his versatility and shot making ability are among the many attributes he has that can help St. John’s next season.

“This year they play really fast and they shoot a lot,” Freudenberg said about St. John’s. “I think me as a good shooter can bring scoring and we can play with a big lineup. I’m 6-8 or 6-9 and can play from shooting guard to the power forward. I feel like I can play a little bit of everything. With the guys that are there like Mussini and Sima and the guys that committed, I feel like we could fit really well together.”

Freudenberg, who is rated as a four-star prospect on Scout, joins top 100 guard Shamorie Ponds and junior college standout Bashir Ahmed to make up the St. John’s 2016 recruiting class.

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