Class of 2008 Focus: Nick Fruendt

In this report, WeAreDePaul.com talks with Batavia (IL) sophomore forward and class of 2008 prospect Nick Fruendt. We also get Batavia coach Jim Roberts' take on the promising young man. Fruendt talks about his play, his willingness to improve, which colleges he's hearing from and much more on his recruitment.

After leading his Batavia Bulldogs varsity basketball team in scoring as a freshman, it was obvious that Nick Fruendt had a promising future in high school hoops. While averaging 14 points a game, Fruendt took Batavia to the Class AA East Aurora Sectional final in his first season.

As a sophomore that future expanded to include the college game for Fruendt. College coaches began to take notice after Fruendt dominated the Elgin Holiday Tournament and led the Bulldogs to the tourney championship. Nick dropped 31 points in a surprising victory over then undefeated Glenbrook South led by future Northwestern Wildcat Jeff Ryan.

In early February, Nick lit up East Aurora at the Batavia Night of Hoops for a career high 36 points. There he caught the attention of DePaul Blue Demons assistant coach Gary DeCesare. The following Saturday, the elite prospect visited the DePaul vs. Villanova game at Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

When he isn't playing with Batavia, Fruendt can be found out on the AAU circuit with the 16 and Under Illinois Wolves.

One word that is often used to describe the 6-5 forward is "versatile". "I think one of his overall strengths is the fact that he's very versatile," said Batavia Coach Jim Roberts. "He's a kid with great range for someone his size. I think those are things that make him a very dangerous player."

Part of that versatility is the ability to play more than one position. "It depends on how much more he'll grow," Roberts said. "He can play two or three positions, off guard or small forward."

While Fruendt is capable of putting up huge numbers in scoring, it is the little things that he does that earns his coach's praise. "All the great players make others around them better," Roberts observed. "Nick shares that with a lot of great players. The ability to do the things that will never show up on a scorebook. To make the pass, to take the double-team, to see one pass ahead. That sort of thing. That is something that he has the inate ability to do."

Some have gone as far as to compare Fruendt to future Duke Blue Devil and Glenbrook North graduate Jon Scheyer. "It's maybe natural to compare him to Scheyer because he kind of looks like him a little bit," remarked Roberts. "There are some similarities. They both definitely have a great love for the game. Both kids have great range. Both kids are great passers."

Fruendt has also displayed a solid work ethic and willingness to improve. "From a coaching standpoint what makes it good to have an opportunity to coach a young man like that, beyond his skill, is that he wants to get better," Roberts expressed. "Sometimes when kids have success at an early stage of their career, that's not always the case. In this case we're very fortunate that Nick has that eagerness to get better as he gets older."

What then does Fruendt need to improve on with his game? "Like any young player at that age, he's got to get stronger and continue quickness improvement," said Roberts.

Nick would like to get better on the defensive end of the floor. "Just being able to guard guys out on the perimeter," said Fruendt. "Basically that's what my AAU coach has been on me about. I just need to finish stronger and keep doing what I'm doing with my ballhandling and shooting."

Fruendt has started to attract interest from a number of colleges including Arizona State, DePaul, Illinois, Notre Dame and Stanford. "I talked with Illinois," Fruendt said. "I talked with (Arizona State coach) Herb Sendek. I talked with Stanford. I talked with DePaul on the phone."

Nick has already visited the campuses in South Bend and Champaign. "I was at a Notre Dame football game last year. I also went to the Illinois vs. Iowa (basketball) game."

With an excellent grade point average, admission to college won't be much of a problem for Fruendt. Academics is one of several important factors to Fruendt in deciding where he plays his collegiate basketball. "I have a 4.0," Nick stated. "Academics is a pretty important part. I want to go to a place where I can play at a high level and also go to class and learn at a high level. Also, the coach and how he plays, their style of play. I don't want a position given to me, I want to work for it. I want to go to a place where there is a big opportunity. Teams that have been successful I'd like to be part of. It would be great if my friends would be able to come and watch the games, and if not then watch on TV."

Fruendt will rely on the support of his family and coaches in reaching his decision. "Obviously my parents will be helping me. Coach Roberts, because he's been through it before with Corey (Williams) who went to Arizona, and Coach Mullins and Coach Carpenter from the Wolves."

Nick is also a student of basketball history in Illinois. "I gave Taylor Bell's book ("Sweet Charlie, Dike, Cazzie, and Bobby Joe: High School Basketball in Illinois") to Nick when he was a freshman," Roberts said. "He has a great appreciation for the history of the game in the state of Illinois."

Part of that history is that Batavia is known for the trademark retro short sleeves on their jerseys. "I said (to Fruendt) wherever you go to college, you got to make sure they wear sleeves," joked Roberts.

Stay tuned to WeAreDePaul.com for the latest updates on Nick Fruendt and other DePaul prospects.

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