Roy Williams Watches Freeman

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – What Roy Williams saw on the court at Charlotte (N.C.) Olympic High School on Tuesday night probably looked familiar.

The Trojans, led by junior Allerik Freeman, used a break-neck, up-tempo offense to blow by West Mecklenburg, 90-45.

The Tar Heel coaches remain in evaluation mode with Freeman. They watched him during the evaluation period last July and attended an open gym at Olympic in September. Freeman also took an unofficial visit to UNC in September.

"(Assistant) Coach (C.B.) McGrath was at one of our games last week in Spartanburg," Olympic head coach Ty Baumgardner said. "He told us that Coach Williams would probably be coming to watch Al play."

In addition to Freeman, Olympic boasts several Division-1 level players, including Clemson signee Josh Smith. Baumgardner said that has given Freeman added exposure.

"I think different players probably handle it differently," he said. "Some guys put more undue pressure on themselves and other guys look at it that it's just another guy in the stands. I think all of our guys have gotten used to it and it doesn't affect them."

Freeman, rated the No. 19 overall player in the class of 2013 by, finished the blowout win with 11 points (4-9 FG, 3-5 3pt) four assists and three rebounds.

After sitting out the first quarter, Freeman nailed all three of his second-quarter three-point attempts, including a 20-footer in transition that sent the Olympic crowd into a frenzy. His other basket was a dunk in transition, started by an Olympic steal.

"He can do a lot of different things," Baumgardner said. "Early in the season we had him playing point guard. I think that's one area we're going to concentrate on improving in the off-season. I think he can be a really good combo guard. Right now, if I had to classify him, he's probably a '2' guard, because he can shoot a little bit."

At 6-foot-4, and weighing close to 210 pounds, Freeman already has the look and build of a developed college guard.

"He can rebound and he can pass it," Baumgardner said. "He's got the body and strength to be a good defender. For us, in particular, he can play a lot of different positions. Whenever you have players like that, it just makes your team that much better."

Baumgardner and the Olympic program, like many schools, stress the importance of getting better every day. For Freeman, improving his shooting stroke and becoming a proficient scorer from all levels of the court have been areas of focus since last season.

"We shoot every day in practice," explained Baumgardner. "It's something we work on constantly and even in the off-season. With Al, the better he can get with his shot and the more consistent he can be with his three-point shot, the more dangerous he can be. When his feet are set and he catches and shoots like he did tonight, he's pretty good."

Tuesday's win was Olympic's 42nd consecutive 4A/3A MEGA 7 conference victory. After a 28-2 finish in 2010-11, Baumgardner and the Trojans' sole focus is on winning a state championship. That leaves little time, in-season, for recruiting.

"The thing that Al has done a pretty good job of is not thinking ahead and worrying about college right now," said Baumgardner, who has a team policy that his players don't do recruiting interviews during the season. "His main focus and concern is trying to get better, our season and trying to help this team get better."

When Freeman does begin thinking about where he'll enroll in June 2013, he'll have his pick of some of the best schools in the country. In October, he narrowed down a lengthy list of schools to a top 12: Marquette, Georgetown, Villanova, Kansas, Kansas State, Florida, North Carolina (no offer), Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina State and Syracuse.

If, ultimately, Freeman were to play for the Tar Heels, Baumgardner feels he could be similar to another North Carolinian playing in Chapel Hill.

"Right now, I'd see Al fitting in as a '2' at UNC, kind of in the P.J. Hairston mold," he said. "Although he's not quite as big and strong yet, that'd be probably the simplest comparison I'd see. And that's what most schools are recruiting him as, a '2' guard. That's what we're working on, making him more of a complete guard. If he can run the point sometimes, that just makes him that much more of an attractive player."

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