Freeman Continues To Impress

Leon Freeman performance last weekend at the Tom Izzo Spartan Shootout has been a hot topic over the last week in Michigan prep circles. The Belleville talent has been making his name known for well over two years now; and by the looks of things that won't change anytime soon. IMS' Doug Warren spoke with Leon yesterday and gives the latest on one of the top players in the Michigan prep class of 2006.

Leon Freeman's first visit to the Michigan State campus came two years ago at Midnight Madness, he has been in love with the program ever since.

"The team was running up and down the court and dunking and stuff, the crowd was real pumped. Then afterward I went into the lockeroom and met the players and the coaches. It was real exciting."

Since that time, the Spartans have kept a close eye on Freeman's progress both on and off the court. Last weekend, their message to Leon was pretty simple.

"They told me not to worry about basketball, just concentrate on my schoolwork, get to class, work hard and the rest will take care of itself."

As far as basketball goes, Leon knows he needs to improve on things there too.

"I've been working hard on my shot and on my ball handling skills this summer."

Earlier this spring, while playing for the Detroit AAU Powerhouse "The Family," Leon was hampered by a sprained toe and wasn't able to do some of the things that he is now doing once again.

In addition, with talent on The Family's roster like Ramar Smith, Deshawn Sims and Tajuan Porter – Leon had to share that basketball more than he is accustomed to. That, and the injury, made things difficult at times for a kid wants to play full-tilt all the time.

"There were a lot of good people on the team and sometimes it was hard to do some of the things I wanted to do there; but with my high school team I can do a little bit more."

Nevertheless, while it may not always be easy on an AAU team with a loaded roster, Leon developed a friendship with another highly touted shooting guard from the 2006 class, AAU teammate and Detroit King star, Ramar Smith.

"Ramar Smith, that's my boy. . . . He and I are like the same person. We eat the same. We act the same and like a lot of the same stuff."

The friends' respective games are also very much alike. Both Leon and Ramar are as explosive on the basketball court as anyone in the 2006 class. Each kid capable, and willing, to put a team on their back and will them to victory.

When it comes to the Belleville Tigers however, their main one-two punch consists of Leon and his longtime teammate, fellow guard Tommie Clark. Leon and Tommie work very well together on the floor and they have no problem sharing the basketball. Throughout the Spartan Shootout last weekend each guy took turns leading their team from their respective backcourt spots. Both players displaying defensive intensity, rebounding, solid inside and outside scoring, foul shooting and the occasional highlight reel slam dunk.

"We've played with each other since like elementary school," said Leon about his longtime friend. "He knows how I play and I know how he plays. We have fun together."

With Freeman and Clark leading the charge, Belleville looks to go deep into the MHSAA playoffs next March. Last year they lost to their conference rival, Romulus, in the District Final. Romulus kept winning all the way to the Breslin Center before losing in the Class A State Championship Game to Holt.

Leon's recruitment, and where he will ultimately end up, is still to be determined. However the list of schools that he has been in touch with begins with Michigan State, but also includes the likes of Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, Purdue, and Cincinnati.

Freeman's talent is evident from the moment the ball goes into the air. The college that ultimately gets him to don their uniform will have themselves one special player.

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